Why handwriting is important
Contrary to the view that handwriting is a trivial skill, handwriting actually is important for a number of reasons.
Because handwriting is a basic tool used in many subjects — taking notes, taking tests, and doing classroom work and homework for almost every content area as well as in language arts classes — poor handwriting can have a pervasive effect on school performance.
Finally, handwriting in the earliest grades is linked to basic reading and spelling achievement; for example, when children learn how to form the letter m, they can also be learning its sound. Attention to the linkages among handwriting, reading, and spelling skills can help to reinforce early achievement across these areas.
Assessment of handwriting skills
Assessment of handwriting should incorporate observations of execution, legibility, and speed of writing.
Execution includes correct and consistent pencil hold, posture, and letter formation. Counterproductive habits in these latter areas are not always obvious from looking only at writing samples and can greatly impede progress in handwriting. For instance, young children may “draw” a letter such as m using separate strokes, starting on the right side of the letter. Forming the letter beginning on the left side, without lifting the pencil from the paper, is much more conducive to building eventual speed of writing.
Legibility involves the readability of letters, as well as spacing within and between words.
Speed is important as children advance beyond the first few grades so that they can use writing efficiently in a variety of tasks.
Instruction in handwriting
Relatively modest investments of instructional time devoted to handwriting — perhaps the equivalent of forty five or sixty minutes daily — may pay off in preventing later writing problems, including difficulties with higher-level composition skills.
The early years of schooling are especially critical for handwriting instruction; once children have formed counterproductive habits in handwriting, such as poor pencil hold or inefficient letter formation, those habits can be difficult to change.
Even for young children, however, handwriting instruction should occur in the context of a broader program of written expression in which children learn many other writing skills and develop motivation to write.
Of course, children also should have access to word-processing programs and assistive technology, with appropriate accommodations as needed for individual students. Ref:Hharsh K Battra