🤷♀️ Why is Handwriting Still Important to Learn?
by Alex Brownsmith
Letter Basics – turns out they aren’t basic at all!
Many of you will remember it fondly, while others cringe at the word.
As a teacher, I do a little of both, but probably not for the same reasons.
Teaching handwriting is something that I thoroughly enjoy. I love watching the children trying to perfect the skill being taught, 27 sets of concentrating eyes staring at the lead as they attempt to write the perfect letter. Many will have tongues out as an involuntary movement of concentration (‘that’s me!’, you say), and the only children’s voice you will hear is a whispered, ‘can I please borrow a rubber?’
🤷♀️ Is Handwriting a Dying Art?
Now many of you say, handwriting is a dying art.
By the time my children are working they won’t need to write anything.
You are probably right. Handwriting is becoming increasingly less important in our professional lives.
Everything is going electronic and the need to put pen to paper appears to be disappearing like the backwards ‘d’ a student rubs out during a lesson.
Handwriting is much more than being able to form letters correctly
But handwriting is much more than being able to form letters correctly.
It is a serious mental workout.
A child learning to write must remember
✅ the formation of 52 letters (upper and lower)
✅ where to start
✅ the direction to go in
✅ how tall to make it
✅ how small to make it
✅ where to finish
✅ The working and long term memory needs to be trained and handwriting is an excellent trainer.
✅ Handwriting teaches children to have pride in what they do.
A handwriting lesson isn’t complete without 27 little people itching to show me their letter ‘o’.
‘Mrs B do you like my work?’
‘Mrs B come look at mine’
‘Mrs B look at this ‘o’’
I love that my students can take their time with something and be so happy with the end result. And unlike a Word document, you can see the eraser marks of the ‘o’ that wasn’t good enough for them. The ‘o’ isn’t perfect like the Word document either, but it’s written proof of the effort they went to.
This brings me to my last point.
Handwriting is the wonderful teacher of patience.
Many of my handwriting lessons have one thing in common – grunts of frustration (from children, not teacher). Children want things here. Right now. In a handwriting lesson, the perfect letter isn’t achieved first go. It’s wobbly, crooked, possibly backwards. This can be frustrating for many students; however, I remind them of the one way to get better at something; practice, and they come to realise that if you are patient, and try hard, you will be able to achieve the desired result and be proud of how far you have come.
...and they come to realise that if you are patient, and try hard, you will be able to achieve the desired result and be proud of how far you have come 😊
Letter Basics (Little Wooden Toybox's own brand) teach and foster the development of handwriting.
However it would be unfair to call them basic, as they encompass many life lessons that can’t be taught through a Word document.
🍎 Ideas to Develop Handwriting Skills
Remember to include as much sensory play as possible – children learn best while using a range of senses including touch, smell, sight, taste and sounds.
During play discuss each other’s ideas and focus on building your child’s vocabulary.
✅ If your child is under 4 years old, focus on recognising, naming and tracing letters in sand or rice, with playdough snakes or with a paint brush on an easel or vertical surface – writing with a pen or pencil is not beneficial as their hands are underdeveloped.
✅ If your child is over 4 years old and is happy to practice writing (has actively shown an interest) - make sure they are using a chubby marker or paintbrush, not an adult pen or pencil
✅ Fill a container with coloured rice and hide numbers 1 to 10 – you can cut these out of cardboard! When your child finds each number, match it to a numbers poster or trace around each number and count to the number shown.
✅ Spell out your child’s name in the sand at the beach and get them to try too – use your finger or a stick