Home Elementary Education Handwriting Improves Learning: Illinois Legislates to Bring Handwriting Back and Other Stories

Handwriting Improves Learning: Illinois Legislates to Bring Handwriting Back and Other Stories

by Margaret Brown
Handwriting Improves Learning

Today’s Modern Educator regularly shares recent news about topics of importance to educators. In this news roundup, we’ve curated stories about handwriting in education in Illinois, how handwriting improves academic performance in all subjects, from science to math, reading and social studies, and how you can incorporate handwriting into digital devices for better processing and recall of information. Keep reading to find out more.

Handwriting: Is it a Blessing or is Cursive a Curse?

Illinois legislators have passed a new law that will make it mandatory that schools teach cursive before the fifth grade without the aid of additional funding or providing teachers with the flexibility necessary to incorporate the new material into their lessons. Those who oppose the legislation see it as a waste of time and resources. However, Alton School District administrators, feel these concerns are unfounded.
“Handwriting and penmanship really do not cost the district anything additional,” Assistant Superintendent Kristie Baumgartner said. “Our teachers are already trained and skilled in providing instruction in handwriting, and specifically cursive writing at the appropriate grade levels.” Read more about the debate over the legislation here.

Handwriting Improves Academic Performance; Success Requires Balance Of Keyboarding And Handwriting

Six years after the Common Core Curriculum did away with handwriting instruction in American schools it is back in at least 15 states. “Proponents of penmanship say writing words in an unbroken line of swooshing i’s and three-humped m’s is just a faster, easier way of taking notes. Others point out that students should be able to understand documents written in cursive, especially when getting a letter from grandma.” Handwriting is known to improve academic performance in all subjects, from science to math, reading, and social studies, according to a handwriting expert with Learning Without Tears. Other studies have proven that solid handwriting skills affect students’ self-esteem, which can affect their academic performance, create more fluid writers with better critical thinking skills, and create better readers. Read more about why handwriting should be a part of the modern education curriculum here.

Smartphones Killed Handwriting. Let’s Bring It Back.

Studies have repeatedly shown that writing by hand can help you process and remember information far better than typing. A 2014 study found that when students typed notes, they tended to just transcribe whatever the professor said, while those working with pen and paper were mentally summarizing and paraphrasing, which led to better test scores. From iPad Pros to the Microsoft Surface, technology now allows users to sketch and write notes on their devices. A number of Chromebooks offer pen support, too. These won’t necessarily replace the keyboard or touch screen but can come in handy when you want to reach for your pen. Read more about how to integrate traditional writing with modern technology here.

Learn more about best practices for teaching handwriting? Here’s everything you need for K-5 handwriting success.


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