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Learning the letter formation

It is very important that a child holds their pencil in the correct way.

The pencil should be held in the “tripod” grip between the thumb and the first two fingers. The grip is the same for both left and right handed children. If a child´s hold starts incorrectly, it is very difficult to correct later on.

A child needs to form each letter the correct way. The letter c is introduced in the early stages as this forms the basic shape of some other letters, such as d. Particular problems to look for are:

  • the o (the pencil stroke must be anti-clockwise, not clockwise)
  • d (the pencil starts in the middle, not the top)
  • m and n (there must be an initial downstroke, or the letter m looks like the McDonald´s arches)

The Jolly Phonics DVD and Finger Phonics books show the correct formation of each letter. A good guide is to remember that no letters start on the line.

In time a child will need to learn joined-up (cursive) writing. It helps the fluency of writing and improves spelling. When words are written in one movement it is easier to remember the spelling correctly. Jolly Phonics uses the Sassoon Infant typeface which is designed for children learning to read and write. Many of the letters (such as d and n) have a joining tail at the end (an ´exit´ stroke) to make it easier to transfer into joined-up writing. (You should check your school´s policy as some schools do not teach joined-up writing to young children).

For more information on Jolly Phonics products visit our Products section.