Handwriting and spelling are necessary skills for young writers to learn, even in a digital age. Success
with spelling in the first year of formal schooling is a key predictor of success with writing throughout
school while handwriting has been shown to activate motor, visual and linguistic areas of the brain and
is linked to success with learning letters, reading, spelling, maths and school generally. Learning to spell
involves learning to coordinate phonology, orthography and morphology and requires explicit teaching.
Handwriting also requires explicit teaching and considerable practice. Being a good speller and having
an efficient handwriting style free a young writer’s working memory to concentrate on text creation.
The workshop will be interactive, hands-on and informed by current research. In the first half of the
workshop, participants will focus on how to use children’s literature to explicitly teach linguistic skills in
spelling. In the second half, participants will explore children’s pencil grasp and posture and the patterns
that support handwriting. Participants will trial processes for teaching basic letter movements, letter
formation, and discuss methods for monitoring progress in handwriting.