Technology has become a massive part of our own lives, as well as our children’s lives, but should we really be replacing the teaching of handwriting with the teaching of technology skills, such as keyboarding?
The answer: DEFINITELY NOT!
Despite what you may initially think, I am not against technology. I think technology in the classroom offers a whole host of benefits, from supporting children with their learning and providing easy access to information, through to helping teachers to create engaging lessons where retention of knowledge is enhanced.
However as with everything in life, moderation is key when it comes to the time our children spend using technology.
Why is handwriting still important?
Learning to write by hand helps children to develop so much more than just the ability to put pen to paper.
Research has demonstrated there is a strong connection between the hand and the brain, and it is this connection that benefits children’s development in a variety of ways.
One key developmental milestone that handwriting helps a child to achieve is a greater overall reading ability. This is because of the correlation between letter-naming, letter-writing fluency and successful reading development.
Put simply, as a child learns how to form letters they are also learning how to recognise these letters more fluently, helping to develop their reading ability.
Switching to teaching keyboarding – or other technology-based skills – before a child has developed their handwriting skills can have detrimental effects on their ability to recognise letters, and ultimately their reading ability.
With this in mind, it is vital that adequate time is spent helping children to learn and master the basics of handwriting, including letter formation, before moving them onto any other skills. Teaching handwriting correctly will help to commit letters to the memory, making it much easier for a child to learn how to read fluently.
What is the ‘correct’ teaching of handwriting?
I have taught handwriting to thousands of children, teenagers and adults over the past decade and throughout my time teaching, I have always and will continue to stand by my belief that mastering the basics of handwriting is vital before moving onto the next step.
After all, if the foundations are not strong everything else will crumble – in other words, without mastering the basics, a child will never be able to achieve legible and fluent handwriting.
These basics include the following:
- Fine and Gross Motor Skills
- Pencil Grip
- Letter Formation
- Writing speed and fluency
In Part 2, I will be discussing these in detail and exploring how you can support your child in mastering these basics, so that they can go on to master handwriting that is legible and beautiful, with ease.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this blog, which we will be posting very soon!