”There is a growing field of research that supports the French belief that handwriting is an important skill—not just for its own sake, but because it correlates with other important skills and brain functions, such as language learning, reading development, and working memory”
Susan Vachon. Why Learning to Write by Hand Matters
”There is no need to start the formal teaching of handwriting before Reception, but children at the end of the EYFS should be able to ‘hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases…Delaying teaching joined handwriting gives teachers and children time to focus on other aspects of the writing process, such as composition, spelling and forming letters correctly.”
(2022. Ofsted Research Review Series. English)
Left-handers need to be shown how to angle the paper and write the letters with their hand below the line rather than by hooking their hand over the top of the line. With initial guidance, left-handed children can be taught to handwrite just as legibly as right-handed children.
Late b/d reversal is linked to poor handwriting instruction. Students with this difficulty habitually start writing both letters at the same point on the line, resulting in a failure to distinguish between them. (Tricia Millar). One way to remediate b / d confusion is to show the child how to use their own mouth shape as a cue: ”Make your mouth the shape to say a letter /b/, your lips make a straight line, so you write the letter that starts with a straight line – the b. When you start to say /d/ your lips and tongue make a circle (ish) so that’s the letter that starts with a circle”.
”Children learn letters by writing them, not from looking at them or from letter tiles. They say the sound the letter(s) stands for as they write it (not the letter name)”
(D. McGuinness 2002 RRF newsletter 49)
Examining the transcription-writing link: Effects of handwriting fluency and spelling accuracy on writing performance via planning and translating in middle grades:
The Importance of Handwriting in Education:
”(T)he role of orthographic motor integration and automaticity in handwriting is now seen as of key importance in composing. Evidence from existing studies suggests that handwriting intervention programmes may have a real impact on the composing skills of young writers. In particular, they could positively affect the progress of the many boys who struggle with writing throughout the primary school years.”
Learning to read/recognize letters via handwriting vs via keyboard/tablet
Why the pen is mightier than the keyboard:
Hands help us to see!
Want to improve children’s writing? Don’t neglect their handwriting.
Writing by hand helps with reading, spelling and possibly language development.
“Reading and writing share the same network in terms of brain development, and this research actually adds more information by saying that handwriting by paper and pen has major advantages.”
Handwriting at secondary school: ”It turns out that handwriting casts a halo effect. We tend to assume that people with well-formed, easily legible handwriting are also cleverer. Although handwriting never features in GCSE or A level exam rubrics, the effects of handwriting bias are well established”