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The Better Letter Primer

The Better Letter Primer is a handwriting program that promotes neat handwriting and prevents letter and number reversals.

Better Letter Primer 4 step diagram

1 - Reinforce Left to Right Writing

steps to handwriting sign


The first step in correct penmanship is to reinforce Left to Right Writing (L2RW).

Students need to learn not only that words are written from left to right; but also that most of the letters are also written left to right.

Of course, there are a few exceptions which is why letter reversals are common. The exceptions will be learned as a group making comprehension and retention easier.

To help students with the L2RW, we have included a simple story line which is corny but effective. Lined Handwriting Paper Download
If you do not have lined paper for your student, you may download this paper for handwriting practice.

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The download page will open in a new window.

2 - Learn the 8 Letter Groups

steps to handwriting sign


We have broken the letters into 8 letter groups which share similar letter formation. Why learn letters in groups?

Instead of trying to memorize 26 different letter formations, students only need to learn 5 types of letter formations in 8 different groups.

Here is an overview of the 8 groups:
  • Letters whose first stroke is straight down: l, t, i
  • Bouncing/Pouncing Letters: Pencil goes down, then up: b, p, h
  • More Bouncing Letters: r, n, m
  • "C Me Back Home": First stroke is a reverse towards home: c, o, d
  • More "C" Letters: a, g, q
  • Special C Letters: s, f, e
  • Slanted Letters: v, y, x, w
  • Ununusual Letters: u, k, j, z
Find more information on using the eight letter groups.

Downloads for the 8 Letter Groups
These free downloads will give you the handwriting worksheets needed for the 8 letter classes. You have a choice of paper size for different ages.

letter formation practice page homeschool curriculum arrow
This link will open a new window with the download page.

3 - Learn the Number Groups

steps to handwriting sign

There are three number groups in the Better Letter Primer.

Like the letters, the numbers are grouped according to the first stroke in order to prevent reversals. There is also a fourth group which is added for students who have learned the number line from 10 to 19.

The numbers use the same story line used for letters. The number groups are as follows:
  • Straight down: 1, 4, 6
  • To the Right: 2, 3, 7
  • To the Left ("C Me Back Home"): 5, 8, 9
  • Teens: It helps to practice the teens to reinforce the "1" first.

The link will take you to another page with more information on the number groups and suggestions for reinforcing "237" and "895" with students. Using the Number Groups

Downloads for the Number Groups

practice writing numbers worksheet homeschool curriculum arrow
You will be taken to the download page.

4 - Practice Handwriting Pages

steps to handwriting sign


The fourth step of the Better Letter Primer is to practice the letter and number groups.

The previous lessons and downloads presented the letters and numbers individually. With these practice pages, the letter groups and number groups will be practiced together.

The number of times a student needs to practice will vary with the different students. As a general guideline, plan on repeating the practice group four times about once a week. You may increase or decrease the number of reviews depending on the needs of the child. Handwriting Practice Downloads
The downloads of handwriting practice pages come in three different sized pages for different grade levels.

handwriting practice page homeschool curriculum arrow
A new window will open to take you to the download page.

More Practice

Obviously, a student will not develop proficient penmanship with just these few handouts. Here is a link to our page regarding handwriting practice and penmanship coaching. Read about Penmanship Coaching for a strategy that reinforces correct handwriting.

Special Consideration for Younger Students

Early childhood learning involves hands-on activities to a greater extent than pen and pencil. Handwriting for Preschoolers provides multi-sensory techniques to teach and reinforce letters.

Kindergarten students often learn letter formation and the phonic sounds together. This page gives information on kindergarten handwriting with the Better Letter Primer.

Difficulty with Pencil Grasp

This page reviews the correct pencil grasp and reviews different therapeutic pencil grips to reinforce the tripod grasp.


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