Monday, January 23, 2012

Should we still teach handwriting?

I have been thinking recently about if it is worth taking the time to teach handwriting. Let me be honest.  For the past four years, I have not taught any handwriting in 4th or 5th grade. There was no time. If the students are coming in reading 2 or 3 grades behind, and have poor math skills, I don't have the time to teach them to write.

This year, though, I have taking a different tact. I still don't teach much handwriting in school, but I've been sending home handwriting practice for homework. Over the course of the year, most of my students can now write cursive as well as manuscript. They like being able to write in cursive.

That is not the biggest benefit. Why do I now thinking teaching writing makes sense? They spend less time focusing on how to write the letters, and more time actually writing during our lessons. 

Learn to decode = now you can focus on comprehension

Learn math facts = now you can think about the problem and spend more time on higher level skills

Learn to form letters fluently = spend time on your story, not laboriously writing the words

Online classes I offer for teachers through

FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: From Stress to Success
SAVE TIME: Time Management for Your Teaching & Your Life


  1. I love the comparisons one can make between decoding, learning math facts, and handwriting. Thanks for putting that together for me.

  2. I found your blog on the Education Weekly site. You make a good point. I am struggling with seeing the value in teaching handwriting and am looking for opinions on either side. I also blogged about this at and the comments I got were very useful if you'd like to check them out.

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