When children are at the stage of learning how to align their letters, it helps if there are lines on the paper to assist them. In the primary national curriculum for English, correct orientation is stated in the requirements for Year 2.
Securing the correct positioning of letters is a necessary step before joining is taught. This teaching step may be required for older children as part of intervention strategies.
NHA recommends using paper with two lines
The two lines are a baseline and one additional lineto mark the tops of the small letters (a, e, u, i, s, etc.). There are no special lines to mark the height of the ascenders (d, h, b, etc., and capitals) and descenders (y, g, j, etc.). Children need to learn to estimate the size of the ascenders and descenders at approximately twice the size of the small letters.
- The line guides are supplied in three sizes. Teachers can select the size most suitable for the individual child from looking at the natural size of their handwriting. The two most commonly sized for children at this stage of learning have the spacing for the short letters at 4mm or 5 mm. These also match the 15mm exercise book line spacing recommended for Key Stage 1.
- The wider 6mm spacing is useful for children of all ages who need more space.
- Other sizes can be added to the list if teachers will find them useful. Please contact us.
- The sheets are supplied in A4 but can be cut to make A5 pages which are easier for young children to use.
- Each size is supplied in 2 formats:
- both lines across the whole page
- the top line across only half the page. This layout can be useful for children who are ready to make the step to using paper with a base line only. They can write the same words with and without the top line.
The advantages of two lines rather than four
- Children learn to relate the size of the ascenders and descenders to the body of their letters, a relationship that will remain constant when their writing changes in size as they mature.
- Children who rely on additional lines to mark the height of their ascenders and depth of their descenders will need to adjust when they are mature writers (ascenders that touch the line of text above can clutter the writing and impair legibility).
- The size of writing can be matched more easily to the child’s natural writing size.
- Single sheets (or sheets clipped to make booklets) can be used for the period of learning and the children can be encouraged to use normal paper with just a base line as soon as they are able. Children using books of 4-lined ‘handwriting paper’ often use them for longer than they are needed and are forced to write at a larger size than they find comfortable.
The downloads consist of:
- small letters at 6mm, whole page ruling
- small letters at 6mm, half page ruling
- small letters at 5mm, whole page ruling
- small letters at 5mm, half page ruling
- small letters at 4mm, whole page ruling
- small letters at 4mm, half page ruling