It is no secret that technology has taken over our lives, is there still space for teaching handwriting? With so many gadgets and devices available, it is hard to imagine a world without them. However, there are some things that technology will never be able to replace – like good old-fashioned handwriting. Yes, I am a lover of Maths and love writing about everything Maths, but today we are going to take a tangent down the Literacy line. I am going to give you my five reasons why I still prioritise handwriting in my classroom.
Teaching Handwriting is a Fundamental Life Skill
Let’s face it, we use our hands to write every day. From making a grocery list, jotting down a phone number, signing a credit card receipt, or writing a thank you note – good handwriting is still an essential life skill. When students are practising handwriting, they are being patient and diligent learners. They are developing their fine motor skills and in time, this skill becomes automatic, giving them confidence to share their work with others. Being able to sit and write by hand, improves students memory and concentration skills.
Being Able to Correctly Form Letters Gives Students Confidence
One of the main reasons why I think it is so important to focus on handwriting in the classroom is because it gives students a sense of achievement and confidence. When they are first learning how to write, many students get frustrated because their letters don’t look “perfect”. However, with practise and patience, their confidence increases and they don’t hesitate when writing. The whole writing process becomes automatic as they no longer have to concentrate on that skill. A particular student comes to mind. He didn’t want his classmates seeing his handwriting so he would try and cover his workbook as he was writing. He hated sharing and even to walk up to put his workbook on my correct pile, he would be hugging it, hoping no-one else saw it. A student who is feeling like this, doesn’t create their best writing, do they?!! Their inability to feel confident in their handwriting style is holding them back in all areas of writing!
Practising Handwriting Helps Critical Thinking Skills
When students are learning how to write, they need to think about a lot of things at once – the direction of the letter, starting point, lifting the pencil, letter formation and so on. If we were able to remove one thing away from students having to concentrate on and have one of these skills as an automatic skill, wouldn’t that help them form their thoughts more easily. Handwriting strengthens brain connections, leading to a better academic performance. Idea composition, the ability to analyse and compare and contrast, are all easier. We have all tried putting a student on the ipad, or asking for them to dictate their thoughts to you, so we remove that aspect of having to think about how to write and form those letters. Does it work – well yes, for that individual lesson, but as teachers, we simply don’t have time to help every single student with that task.
Confident Handwriters Can Be Creative Writers
When students feel confident and comfortable with their handwriting, they are able to be creative in their writing. This is when the real magic happens in the classroom. When children can express themselves through writing, it opens up a whole new world for them. If we want our students to be engaged and enthusiastic about writing, then we need to give them the solid foundation of handwriting. My Mr 7 has recently started making books and writing stories at home – oh it fills my teacher heart with joy!
Handwriting Helps Students Learn How to Read
One of the best things about teaching handwriting is that it also helps students with their reading – hard to make the connection sometimes isn’t it? When children are first learning how to read, they need to be able to recognise letters and know their individual sounds. A great way to help them with this is by practising letter formation when they are writing. This then transfers over into their reading with an increased understanding of word structure. Students are then able to increase their understanding of vocabulary and spelling patterns. Transferring this knowledge to their reading is a win win for everyone!
So there you have it, my top five reasons why I think teaching handwriting is still important in this digital age. A skill that is never going out of style, it is here to stay!
I am making teaching handwriting easy with this great FREE resource of 10 pages of alphabet practise sheets that you can print and laminate for students to use over and over with erasable markers. Perfect for literacy groups, early finishes or an entry task at the start of the day. Using the links below, download the right handwriting style for your class.
Print Font – FREE
Victorian Modern Cursive – FREE
NSW Foundation Font – FREE
Queensland Beginner Font – FREE
Also included in this resource is a FREE sample of my Alphabet Handwriting pages! Enjoy!
Read more to find out my Top 5 Tips for Teaching Handwriting.