Is Handwriting Still Important?
I remember sharpening my pencil for handwriting practice. Do you?
I wrote line after line of letters and words in my handwriting notebook. Meanwhile, the classroom computer sat in a corner. It was almost forgotten as we completed our work.
Times have changed. Many classrooms have Smart boards, iPads, and rows of computers.
We have e-mail, social media, and texting.
Who needs handwriting anymore?
Why handwriting instruction still matters
It may be a digital age, but handwriting still deserves a place in today’s classrooms.
Here are six reasons why.
1. Children in early elementary school complete most of their work and assignments with pencil and paper.
2. With practice, children’s handwriting becomes automatic. This frees them to compose thoughtful sentences and stories without being bogged down by the mechanics of letter formation.
3. Did you know that writing actually improves spelling and reading? We want our children to write as much as possible… and when handwriting is effortless, they’ll be inspired to do even more of it.
4. Adults have opportunities to use handwriting, too. We may need to fill out emergency hospital forms or bank paperwork. We write grocery lists, gift tags, and thank you notes.
5. Do you use a stylus with your computer? Sometimes, writing with a pen or pencil is more efficient than typing.
6. It’s important that we have legible handwriting that communicates clearly. Whether we’re writing a note to an aging grandparent or communicating with an employer, a handwritten note shows that we care. It says that we’ve taken the time and effort to make a personal connection.
Yes, handwriting is still important. So how do we teach it well?
Tips for teaching handwriting
1. Start with fine motor activities. Young preschoolers need opportunities to strengthen their fingers and hands: whether that’s squishing play dough, threading beads, or stacking blocks. As he’s ready, give your child opportunities to create letters without pencil and paper.
Make an A with alphabet stickers, a B with buttons, or a C with carrot slices. We love to build on printable block letters.
2. When children are ready to form letters on paper, start with simple, unlined pages. I designed my Letters of All Sizes handwriting pages to be a first step for older preschoolers. Children start with the large letters and work their way down to the tiniest – as they’re ready for them.
3. Limit handwriting instruction to 10-15 minutes per day. This will leave plenty of time for thoughtful and creative writing.
5. Teach similarly formed letters together. I like to start with straight lined capital letters, move to slanted letters, and finish with curved. Here’s the order I use with my own children: E, F, H, I, L, T, V, W, X, K, M, N, Y, A, Z, C, O, G, Q, B, D, J, P, U, R, S.
6. Give your child a variety of writing tools. We like to write with our fingers or chopsticks in sand, cornmeal, or millet (pictured). Eventually we move to thin markers, crayons, and traditional pencils.
Handwriting practice is important – and with a little creativity, it can be fun too! Check out our sample pack of handwriting pages. You’ll find four levels which will help you take handwriting instruction at the proper pace.
Get your sample pack HERE.
For best results, download the file to your computer and open from there to print. You can access complete sets for free at The Measured Mom.
Anna taught for eight years and earned her MEd before becoming a stay-at-home-mom. She’s raising five children (7, 6, 4, 3, 1) while sharing teaching resources and free printables on her blog, The Measured Mom. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.