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Sep 26, 2023

The Importance of Handwriting

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Thank you for participating in our handwriting focus group earlier this year,

We were thrilled to see a strong response from educators, and the information we gathered during the focus group provided us with a deeper understanding of how technology and curriculum changes have impacted the teaching of handwriting.

Your feedback has helped us develop the best tools to support learning to write and help shape the future of handwriting.

Here are some of the key highlights from the survey:

1. The majority of participants teach Key Stage 1 & 2, 82% use additional resources to help support handwriting, but 69% do not follow a structured handwriting program.

  • The additional resources include handwriting line books, handwriting sheets, downloadable practice sheets, and Twinkl worksheets.
  • Among the preferred handwriting programs mentioned, popular choices include Letterjoin, Nelson Handwriting, Penpals for Handwriting, and Read, Write, Inc.
2. In terms of preferences for handwriting materials, 70% favour A4-sized books. Additionally, an overwhelming 82% of participants favoured the handwriting ruling style of red and grey printed lines.

3. When it comes to the colour of handwriting books, the following color preferences were noted:

  • 64% favour purple
  • 59% favour red
  • 56% favour blue
  • 53% favour yellow

4. Nearly half of the respondents have a requirement for SEN (Special Educational Needs) handwriting paper as part of their teaching materials.

5. An overwhelming 90% of educators use social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to seek teaching ideas and find inspiration.

6. Many participants follow educational influencers on social media for ideas and inspiration including; Good Morning Ms. Foster, ICT with Mr. P, Mr. G Teacher, Miss LVT, and Katie's classroom.

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These insights from the focus group provide us with valuable information about the preferences and practices of educators in the realm of handwriting instruction.

There have been many studies and reports on the importance of handwriting, most notably this recent report by The Economist has found that writing on paper can improve everything from recalling a random series of words to imparting a better conceptual grasp of complicated ideas.

The benefits of using a pen or pencil lie in how the motor and sensory memory of putting words on paper reinforces that material.

The article discusses research that has highlighted the benefits of handwriting, such as improving memory retention and conceptual understanding.

Handwriting is particularly advantageous for note-taking, as it forces students to synthesise information in their own words. Studies have shown that handwritten notes lead to better test performance compared to typed notes. Several studies support the benefits of handwriting, leading to policy changes in some regions to include more handwriting instruction in schools, and occasional "tuning up" of handwriting skills may be beneficial for students as they age.

Even in a digital age, the value of handwriting is enduring, the written word remains essential for preserving and sharing knowledge.

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