Once my children were in upper elementary school, we let go of copywork assigned by Mom. That said, it is still important to practice handwriting. Writing cards to family and friends is a sneaky way we get handwriting practice in their lives!
I love to use picture books as inspiration. I loved reading the new book Sallie Bee Writes a Thank-You Note by Courtney Sheinmel and Susan Verde, illustrated by Heather Ross (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2022). In this story, Sallie is so excited about her new scarf from her grandma that she wants to send a thank you text to her, which then turns into a thank you note she slips into the mailbox. Her mother was the one to point out that the draft text she had written could just as easily be signed and sent as it would be to type it up into a text. I hope that Sallie’s story will encourage children to give simple “thank yous” to those around them, since Sallie’s story shows how fun it is to receive the notes as well as how simple it is to make the effort to show such kindness.
When it comes to writing thank you notes, I initially required that my children’s handwriting be neat and either in printing or in cursive. I don’t do that anymore, as cursive, which is the first writing we learn, is simply not as popular for my kids to use. That said, I do say that the writing must also use the correct case and a uniform line height. Now that we no longer do regular copywork for school, my children have become more consistent in writing nicely when they choose to write cards or notes to family and friends!
This weekend one child’s friend had a birthday so she chose to write a birthday card. It’s amazing how even writing a simple birthday card can be great handwriting practice.
When my children were younger, I created a template to use with primary-grade lines. Download the blank template instantly by clicking the button below!
As my kids write a card to a family member or friend, my children practice forming letters. They practice putting words together and keeping them uniform. The style of handwriting is now up to them, but the kids wants the note receivers to understand the message so they have added interest in making the writing legible.
I will say that copywork never made sense to my son. He did not see the point of it, and since handwriting itself was so emotionally difficult (dare I say “painful”?), it was all the more frustrating for him. He’s glad that it has gone from our daily curriculum. I’m glad I can still add writing letters to friends and family on the list as handwriting practice for my kids.