Teaching Ideas for National Handwriting Day


The 23rd of January is National Handwriting Day and its purpose is to celebrate the art of handwriting in all its forms. First launched in 1977, it has gradually grown in popularity and it is the perfect opportunity for teachers to get children putting pen to paper instead of emailing or texting.

National Handwriting Day holds added significance because of the changes to the National Curriculum in UK schools made in September 2014. The Curriculum now incorporates more handwriting lessons for those aged between five and seven. The reason for this is that the growing use of technology among children and other digital natives is a threat to literacy. This may be the era of the tweet, the hashtag and emoticon but there are great advantages in knowing the way to express your thoughts on paper as well. 

It is hoped that the revamped Curriculum will give a fresh impetus to what some thought to be a neglected and dying art, that of penmanship. People have come to realise that there is a lot more to handwriting than putting pen to paper; it is an important step in learning to read and encourages an organised approach to communication.

As one of the most renowned teaching agencies in the UK, Tradewind recognises that there are lots of approaches that teachers can take to involve children in Handwriting Day activities. Preparation is key to success here– you will certainly need more pens and pencils than for the usual school day. Try to include different coloured inks and writing implements such as fountain pens, marker pens, chalk and crayons to allow the class to get creative. Vary the colour and sizes of the paper available and give some thought to letting the pupils use the blackboard as well. Plan your lesson or day around the theme of handwriting. How about using some of the following ideas:

  • How about a handwriting contest?
  • Show examples of typography and ask your pupils to write their names in a similar style.
  • Give them tips about seating and posture and the correct way to hold a pen or pencil.
  • Ask students to write a poem about handwriting.
  • Set homework that will involve completing a written task such as keeping a handwritten journal of activities for the week.

Devoting time to enhancing handwriting skills in the classroom is something that will help children develop this important aspect of self-expression. Handwriting has the expressive power that a line of type just does not convey.  These skills are still needed and necessary in adult life, not least in the workplace and will play an important part in helping find jobs upon leaving school.