Why Handwriting Skills Are Still So Important!
Most of us have been writing for so long that we take the skill of handwriting for granted. However, despite the emergence of technology, learning to write and practicing handwriting is still a critical skill for our kids today. Research has shown that handwriting creates brain connections that children cannot gain via typing or other technology, and handwriting builds a foundation for school success. Study after study has shown a strong correlation between a child’s handwriting skills and their academic performance in areas such as reading, writing, critical thinking and language use. As we continue to introduce more and more technology into our homes and classrooms, we believe we cannot lose site of the importance of handwriting skills.
At Therapeutic Playground in Modesto, we work with kids of all ages on learning handwriting (both printing and cursive) and on improving their handwriting skills including such things as spacing, neatness, proper letter formation and more. We recognize that handwriting involves a variety of skills including:
- Fine motor skills, as kids must learn to properly hold a pencil or pen
- Executive functioning skills, as kids must develop focus and attention and memory
That’s why we incorporate fine motor skill exercises, gross motor skill exercises on our sensory gym and even Balance-Auditory-Vision-Exercises (BAVX) into our efforts to improve a child’s handwriting skills. This all happens before we ever sit down with a pencil and paper.
When it comes to teaching handwriting and cursive skills we utilize the Handwriting Without Tears program, a program that draws from years of innovation and research and has helped millions of students all over the world. We love how this program offers age appropriate, multisensory tools and strategies, and most importantly is fun for kids.
Are you wondering if your child needs help with their handwriting skills? Here is something to keep in mind about where you child should be developmentally in terms of handwriting:
- Kindergarten: learning to print letters and build good habits
- First Grade: reviewing and refining printing skills
- Second Grade: mastering printing
- Third Grade: learning cursive and building good habits
- Fourth Grade: mastering cursive
Looking at that this, if you noticed that your child is behind or has begun to struggle with their handwriting, now is the time to do something to help them catch back up. Since every child is unique at Therapeutic Playground we always start with an individual assessment. We look to see what might be causing any handwriting issues and then we work to find an approach that connects individually with the child. For some children focusing on fine motor skills can make a huge difference in their handwriting. Much of this work doesn’t even involve a pencil, instead we use fun games and activates to strengthen the muscles in their hands.
Children who master handwriting will see benefits in their academic performance across the board. The sooner kids master their handwriting skills, and later their cursive skills, the more likely they are to succeed in school, and write with speed and ease in all subjects. If your kid is like mine and resists sitting down to simply practice writing their letters don’t worry. You can use fun, engaging instructional methods to help your child master handwriting.
Think about how often you use handwriting? Probably every single day. What could be more important than making sure that handwriting becomes an automatic and comfortable skill for your child.