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Is Handwriting Instruction Relevant in a Digital World?

Is Handwriting Instruction Relevant in a Digital World?

Posted October 11, 2023

With new and old discoveries like AI, voice-to-text, and keyboarding it’s easy to question the benefits of cursive or manuscript instruction. Yet, research shows there are many benefits to mastering the art of handwriting. Enclosed are three important reasons why handwriting should still—and needs to—be taught in schools.

  1. Handwriting Improves Retention

    During the early elementary years, handwriting facilitates letter recognition which improves fluency in reading and spelling. In middle grades, students who are fluent in handwriting tend to produce lengthier papers and more complex sentences. In college, students who took notes by hand are shown to have performed better on conceptual questions than those who took notes on laptops.
  2. Handwriting Improves Focus

    Handwriting is a hand-brain activity that requires no digital technology, allowing the writer to unplug from distractions and focus on the task of forming letters, writing words, and eventually writing for pleasure.
  3. Handwriting Improves Fine Motor Skills

    Handwriting develops the fine motor skills and coordination needed to control precise movement–both of which are linked to cognitive development. Studies also show that undeveloped or “messy” handwritten papers receive lower grades even when the content is the same. Ultimately, improved handwriting is associated with improvements in letter formation and recognition, word reading, spelling, and composition.

At San Antonio Academy, we provide our students simultaneous, multisensory, systematic and cumulative, explicit, handwriting instruction with consistent formation in Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grades using the Spalding Method. Handwriting is linked to reading as students simultaneously learn the letter sound and correct letter formation.

How can you help your child at home?
Ensure your son has a correct pencil grip and paper position, sit upright, practice ten minutes daily using the method taught in the classroom (Spalding), and sound the letter or phonogram as it is practiced. Ask your teacher for practice sheets.

The above information is adapted from the Dysgraphia Expert Lecture Series (2023) from the Scottish Rite for Children.

About the Author
Maree Longoria, M.Ed, LDT, CALT, Ed. Diag. is San Antonio Academy's Reading Intervention/Dyslexia Specialist. She has previously held roles at SAA as the Reading Department Chair and 4th and 5th grade reading teacher. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist, Licensed Dyslexia Therapist, and Licensed Educational Diagnostician. She has served in both general and special education for more than 25 years. Ms. Longoria has taught children identified with dyslexia and those who struggle in language arts to read, write, and spell. She is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the Academic Language Therapy Association and is co-creator of Reading Boot Camp.

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