Handwriting is such a critical skill and so from time to time I want to introduce various sources of knowledge and information to help you support your child. Today I want to introduce you to Mum on an Island.
“As a teacher, I’ve seen many styles of handwriting. Some I could describe as elegant and beautiful; some rounded; some sharp; some slanted…and some which I wonder if I’ll have to call up MI5 to help me crack its cryptic code.
We often view handwriting as something aesthetic: “how neat it looks.” But it is SO much more than that. I’m writing this piece from an English teacher’s perspective, to offer up an opinion as to why practising handwriting with your children at home will be of benefit!
Firstly, it is clear we are now in a time where children are growing up surrounded by technology. Parents might be left wondering whether handwriting is really much of a deal, when it seems our children are growing up in a world where devices are often predominant and we can type or use touch screen. However, despite many workplaces and our own personal lives regularly reliant on devices, school settings still very much focus on hand written word.
Most examinations are hand written. Testing and assessment, (sadly?) from such a young age, usually relies on handwritten papers and responses. As it stands, our children are commonly and broadly given marks and graded on what they’ve written- so that handwriting needs to be clear to read and legible.
And there’s more than just legibility to consider.
There is evidence to suggest that children who are ‘good’ at handwriting are able to focus their efforts on listening and absorbing information (learning, effectively.) This is because a part of handwriting practise should be about getting up to a natural flow and speed. If a child is fluent at letter formation – and it becomes second nature- they then, of course, don’t need to spend time dwelling on the way of the words and letters.
It’s a bit like learning to ride a bike: once you have learnt to ride the bike, you can start enjoying the views. Multi-tasking, if you like.
One last thought: research also suggests hand written notes helps most of us memorise information much more effectively than typed word. It seems the act of physically forming the letters in writing helps us to remember the learning better. And I guess that’s why teachers regularly say, “Make sure you write this down…” We want things to be remembered.
We want your children to have the best chances in their education. But we do need supportive parents to back us up.
From a teaching perspective, if we can all help children to rehearse handwriting until it is legible, clear and fluent, then their learning and likelihood of remembering information is much stronger.
And why can’t we just leave the handwriting practise to the classroom, some might say? Well, quite frankly, handwriting is a skill: it’s quite a personal thing, much like cycling or swimming…some of us will master it quickly; some of us might take a whole lot longer. Once past the younger years, there just isn’t the time on our curriculums to devote to it, so it is something I’d personally hope parents would want to invest in, for however long their child needs.
There’s a wealth of resources out there- ‘Write my Name’ for one! I wish you the best in supporting your child with this important skill.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to get in touch over at www.mumonanisland.com.
‘Mum on an Island’ is a blog site based from the Isle of Wight, written by a Mummy of two, offering resources and reviews.”