© 2009 Handwriting Without Tears
Why Is Handwriting Important?
Handwriting is an essential skill or both children and adults (Feder & Majnemer, 2007). Even in the age o technology,handwriting remains the primary tool o communication and knowledge assessment or students in the classroom. Inaddition, greater writing speed “lessens the burden on working memory,” enabling children and adults to “creategood reader-riendly prose” (Peverly, 2006). Children spend a majority o their days using handwriting skills. Inaddition, the demands or handwriting increase with age.The demands or handwriting in the classroom do not always matchchildren’s developmental skills. According to a study published in1992 (McHale & Cermak), 85 percent o all ne motor time insecond-, ourth- and sixth-grade classrooms was spent on paperand pencil activities. A more recent study (Marr, Cermak, Cohn& Henderson, 2003) ound that children in kindergarten arenow spending 42 percent o their ne motor time on paper andpencil activities during the school day. These studies advocate the value o children learning handwriting skills. Theaddition o handwritten components to many state standardized assessments and o a handwritten essay to theCollege Board SAT in 2005 urther emphasize the importance o handwriting. Furthermore, good handwriting isimportant long ater graduation. In
Script and Scribble
(2009), Kitty Burns Florey writes, “…judging handwrittenapplications or writing positions, I ound mysel drawn to those with legible handwriting and prejudiced againstscrawlers; in every case, the better handwriters turned out to be better writers as well.” She also notes: “Like it ornot, even in our machine-driven world, people still judge you by your handwriting.”Studies have estimated that between 10 to 30 percent o elementary school children struggle with handwriting(Karlsdottir & Stephansson, 2002, as cited in Feder & Majnemer, 2007). Research literature extensively documentsthe consequences o poor handwriting on academic perormance. Graham, Harris and Fink (2000) suggest thatchildren who experience diculty mastering this skill [handwriting] may avoid writing and decide that they cannotwrite, leading to arrested writing development. Other experts claim that illegible handwriting has secondary eectson school achievement and sel-esteem (Engel-Yeger, Nagakur - Yanuv & Rosenblum, 2009; Malloy-Miller, Polatajko& Anstett, 1995).
Children in kindergarten arenow spending 42 percent o their fne motor time on paper and pencil activities during theschool day.