Across the Street: Handwriting takes thinking |

Across the Street: Handwriting takes thinking

Did you know that handwriting isn’t taught in some classrooms? In my opinion, some teachers have thought, mistakenly, that students need to learn how to use a computer keyboard rather than teaching them how to write.

More and more classrooms are now adding handwriting back into their Language Arts curriculum.  For students to become better readers, they need to become better at writing, so says the booklet titled Handwriting Research. In it Susan Cahill says that “Handwriting is closely linked to academic achievement, especially composition and literacy skills.” She goes on to say that handwriting instruction is related to improved reading.

Like reading, handwriting is also related to cognitive development, reading acquisition, and overall academic success. And while many teachers aren’t skilled in teaching handwriting, educational materials and resources are offered online. New information, for some, is available that includes proper posture, left-handedness, and other skills needed to lead effective instruction.  Why Writing? (Zaner-Bloser) explains more about the background and process, including resources to help teachers and parents.  Or should I say parents who have recently become teachers?

One suggestion for an assignment for parents who are wondering how they can help their child with writing is to keep a log or journal during their virus driven time at home. They can write down their thoughts, activities, feelings, friendships, and observations. Date each entry and help them, if necessary, develop their ideas and get them down on paper, especially if they are young.  It might not be a bad idea for parents to also keep a diary.

In our digital age, it’s easy to see why handwriting has become optional. But our test scores in reading show that some things are missing in our reading instruction. Could writing be a missing essential skill for literacy development?

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. She can be reached at:

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