-A research white paper by J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., and Steve Graham, Ed.D., re-posted with permission from Saperstein Associates
Handwriting wires the brain for literacy. Solid familiarity with the visual shapes of individual letters is an absolute prerequisite for learning to read. Writing aids in letter recognition, the most reliable predictor of future reading success.
Learning to write by hand plays a key role in developing literacy, and handwriting skills remain crucial for success throughout school. The mental processes involved in handwriting are connected to other important learning functions, such as storing information in memory, retrieving information, manipulating letters, and linking them to sounds.
A small investment in direct, explicit spelling and handwriting instruction can prevent years of frustration for students, teachers, and parents, and return considerable cost savings by reducing the need for later intervention.
Through this carefully planned, explicit handwriting instruction, students increase reading comprehension and develop legible and fluent handwriting. As students learn to recognize and reproduce letters in words quickly and effortlessly, their minds are free to concentrate on meaning. This allows them to generate, organize, and express ideas more effectively.