Some children with dyslexia have difficulty with fine motor skills, which can lead to difficulties with handwriting.
There is some evidence that joined handwriting can help with spelling, but sometimes this is really difficult for children and it might be more appropriate to aim for neat, legible handwriting.
To improve handwriting, you can also work on fine-motor skills, which practise the fine control needed for handwriting.
Gather a selection of pictures which begin with the letters you are practising. Put the pictures into a bag, and pick out one at a time. Write the letter it starts with onto your 'pictogram.'
At the end, you can count how many of each letter you picked and see which letter 'won!'
Fine motor skills can be built by threading beads or cheerios onto string or pipe cleaners. By varying the size of the beads and the flexibility of the string, you can achieve many levels of difficulty.
One way to increase the difficulty of this task is to give specific patterns you would like to be threaded. Try to keep a quick-fire pace so the child gets used to working their fine-motor skills while listening and thinking, as they have to do when writing.
You can also use letter beads and ask children to thread words.
Select magnetic letters for the letters you want to practise.
You can either quickly draw, get the child to quickly draw, or have ready made monsters or aliens. Explain that the child has to use the letters given to create the monster's name, and then copy it in neat handwriting.
If you explain that it is a name in the way dog or cat is, rather than 'Billy,' you will get around children insisting upon a capital letter, which you may not be practising!
For children who are really struggling with formation, you can get them to:
paint over letters
chalk letters on a board and then rub out using a wet cotton bud
Find secret letters written in UV pen and go over them in pen or pencil
I have a 'writing caddy' (pictured) which is packed full of different writing materials. It's amazing how much more enthusiastic children are about writing if they can use an erasable fine-liner!
Triangle or pyramid words are a way of building up a word letter by letter. For example:
This is great for both handwriting and spelling practice.
Okay - this isn't handwriting.
Handwriting is a valuable skill and should still be taught, but most children with dyslexia will benefit hugely from learning to touch type.
Try the free 'bbc dance mat typing' or Nessy Typing, which is a paid subscription.