Research

Writing

1. Why do children need direct instruction for handwriting?

  • Structured handwriting lessons lead to improved writing performance, academic success, and overall student self-esteem
    (Graham and Harris, 2005; Graham, Harris, and Fink 2000; Berninger et al. 1997; Jones and Christensen 1999).
  • Research has proven that there is a positive correlation between better handwriting skills and increased academic performance in reading and writing. When students spend less time concentrating on the basics of letter formation, “students can better focus on the planning and thought organization that is required for effective composition
    (lbid p. 3).
  • When handwriting becomes automatic in this way, students are able to use higher-order and creative thinking process for idea production rather than text composition.
    (Rosenblaum, S., Weiss, P., and Parush, S. Op cit p. 42).
  • Children who experience difficulty mastering handwriting may avoid writing and decide that they cannot write, leading to arrested writing development
    (Graham, Harris, and Fink 2000).

2. What tools do children need to use when writing?

  • Children consistently do better writing with a pen. They write more and they write faster (Berninger 2009).

3. What are the benefits of direct instruction in handwriting?

  • Studies have shown that fast, legible handwriting is critical to the production of creative and well-written text
    (Graham and Harris 2005).
  • In addition, greater writing speed “lessens the burden on working memory,” enabling children and adults to “create good reader-friendly prose”
    (Peverly 2006).
  • Teaching handwriting has been shown to have greater impact on brain development, especially the areas of the brain related to literacy development
    (Berninger 2012; James 2012).

4. What could happen if my child doesn’t improve his/her handwriting?

  • Difficulties with handwriting negatively impact others’ evaluation of a student’s text; poor handwriting can drop a paper from the 50th percentile in quality to 10th-22nd percentile
    (Graham and Santangelo 2012).
  • While teachers may claim that essays are not graded based on handwriting style, research has revealed otherwise. When presented with the exact same piece of writing, one written neatly and one written poorly, teachers “still give lower grades for ideation and quality of writing if the text is less legible”.
    (Pressler, M. “The Handwriting Is on the Wall.” The Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2006.)

5. How will direct instruction impact my child in school?

  • Numerous studies showed that teaching handwriting has a large, positive effect on the amount of texts students generate
    (Graham and Santangelo 2012).

6. My child is older than first grade. Do they really need instruction with handwriting?

  • Even at the higher grades, students who took notes by hand vs. on a computer were shown have better comprehension of what was being said and had more sustained attention during discussion of texts and concepts
    (Peverly 2012).

7. The Common Core Standards have changed and have taken out cursive as a requirement. Why should my child learn cursive?

8. What are the important function of handwriting?

  • Increase brain activation
  • Impact performance across all academic subjects
  • Provide a foundation for higher-order skills
  • Influence reading, writing, language, and critical thinking
(“Handwriting in the 21st Century? Research Shows Why Handwriting…” Op. cit., p. 2.)

9. Does Handwriting Without Tears meet the standards of Common Core?

10. Why does my child need handwriting instruction in these days of technology?

  • Even at higher grades, students who took notes by hand vs. on a computer were shown to have better comprehension of what was being said and had more sustained attention during discussion of texts and concepts (Peverly 2012).
  • Research shows that handwriting is a foundational skill that can influence student’s reading, writing, language use and critical thinking (Saperstein Associates 2012)
  • Students are still required in grades K-5 to write on paper up to 60% of their time. This compares to 15% spent on various forms of technology (computers, tablets, etc….) (Peverly 2012)