Part 2: Learning letter formation

Joined up writing

In Jolly Phonics the children are encouraged to use joined handwriting early on. It is recommended because not only do the children develop greater fluency in their writing, but it encourages better spelling. The children feel how the letters go together by writing the word in one continuous movement, which reminds them to put the letters in the correct order.

For this reason Jolly Phonics uses the Sassoon Infant typeface. Many of the letters (such as ‘m, h, a’) have a joining tail at the end (an ‘exit’ stroke) to make it easier to transfer into joined-up writing. By first learning to form letters with the joining tails, children more naturally progress to joined-up writing.

If print letter formation is first taught (without the joining tails) a much greater change is needed by the children when they come to learning joined-up writing.

The ideal time for introducing joined letters is when the digraphs are being taught. The children are shown how letters join together and are reminded that sometimes two letters are needed to make one sound. Once again, if the children form and join the letters in the air with their hand they find it much easier when it comes to putting it down on paper.