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L is for Literacy !

Literacy is simply defined as “the ability to read and write.” Often people just consider reading when thinking about a child’s literacy, but writing is significant part as well.

Sheffield (1996) declared handwriting as “a neglected cornerstone of literacy.” Horowitz (2018) even said “in studies, kids who practice handwriting do better at reading and spelling.”

Sheffield even said "The special needs of left-handed children and dyslexic children are seldom addressed. Yet, these children need to be taught handwriting meticulously. More attention needs to be focused on how all children can acquire the essential skill of legible serviceable handwriting." Although this was in 1996, over 20 years ago... in today's technological driven world, we couldn't agree more! Add in the increase of Dysgraphia awareness, the global pandemic and online learning, and the decrease of outdoor play, handwriting education as a part of literacy education is critical.

To explain to link of handwriting and reading, it helps to understand the basic neurology. Essentially, the “wiring” in our brains make connections as we learn to read and learn to write. These connections lead to automaticity of both reading and writing. And to build these connections, we need explicit and systematic instruction for both reading and writing. Poorly developed tracing worksheets do not suffice. High quality instruction of pre-writing and writing skills, development of fine and visual motor skills, and guided practice and application throughout the school day will lead to better literacy outcomes.

Next time you hear someone mention the “Literacy” buzzword, be sure to remind them the importance of handwriting as a critical piece to that literacy!



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