In a world of computers, keyboards, tablets and smartphones there is still a daily need to write by hand with a pen or pencil and that includes children.
* ‘Writing can be a driver for improving reading skills’ The Carnegie Corporation, April 2010
‘Writing to Read, Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading’ a report from The Carnegie Corporation of New York by Steve Graham and Michael Hebert of Vanderbilt University, U.S.A
‘The Brain-Based Benefits of Writing for Math and Science Learning.’ by Judy Willis M.D. Neurologist, Teacher. Edutopia July 2011.
In schools all over the country, in the Digital Age, children still have to write things down, to take notes in class or answer questions in exams which means every child must be able to write well. Take secondary school pupil Adam, he was struggling to read his own handwriting and so was his maths teacher. How can teachers or examiners mark a child’s work if they cannot read it? How can a child correct work they can’t read? How can Adam achieve his maths potential if his teacher can’t make out that a ‘9’ is indeed a ‘9’?
By the age of seven a child’s handwriting must be legible if they are to succeed at school in general; illegible handwriting prevents them and their teachers from reading their work and they will be losing valuable ground in exams where examiners are also unable to read their papers. Children who struggle with handwriting also struggle to keep up and are unable to complete all the work required of them in their lessons and exams. They fall behind.
School children who can write well are able to access the entire education curriculum more efficiently than those who cannot*. Here’s why: handwriting is a movement skill which, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. When handwriting becomes an automatic process it frees pupils to focus on the content of the writing and not the act.
Whilst computers are barred from the exam room, children need to be able to write fluently and quickly if they are to pass those exams AND achieve their potential in life.