Expectations for Handwriting

  • approved by the School Board in 2012

    Handwriting Guidelines

    The purpose of these guidelines is to make sure that all faculty, staff, administrators, contracted services, and parents are aware of the need to have clear and consistent expectations for handwriting at Alton Central School. These guidelines have been collaboratively developed by the school administration, the school occupational therapist, and the grade-level teachers; in all aspects of handwriting, research on best practice has been followed to help make decision in developing the guidelines below.

    • Alton Central School will provide a comprehensive handwriting program to promote consistency for teachers in grades K-4; students should not get mixed messages about letter construction from one grade to the next.
    • It is expected that all guidelines from the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts will be followed by teachers in conjunction with our handwriting progression.
    • All teachers will emphasize proper positioning and take into consideration the age of the student and his/her stage of fine motor development.
    • Questions about handwriting difficulty for groups or individual students will be directed to our school Occupational Therapist. When necessary, assistive technology should be utilized to help students convey their thoughts in writing.
    • Neatness can and should be considered when work is handed in, with special considerations made for individual students as needed. High quality work in printing and/or cursive affects the final product and the reader’s perception of what is written.
    • Handwriting will be assessed on its own. For example, a student will never be penalized on a spelling test for not forming a letter correctly if the teacher knows the word is spelled correctly.
    • Keyboarding skills will be an expectation beginning in grade 4; this is based on the average age for the small motor development required.
    • It is expected that handwriting should not be taught after grade 4 unless a specific concern is present. In grades 5-8, students will often hand in work that is processed on computer; students at this age will begin to develop their own particular style of writing—sometimes a mix between print and cursive. The important factor is that it is legible so the content can be comprehended.


    • It is the belief of Alton Central School that teaching cursive writing still has benefits for students. For some students, cursive will be their preferred way of writing because it’s faster. In addition, not teaching the students how to write in cursive could have long-term effects on their ability to read cursive, which would affect their ability to comprehend historical documents and primary source information for later research.
    • Cursive writing will be taught beginning in grade 3, with lower case letters in 3rd grade continuing with upper case letters in 4th.