Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

November 15, 2016

Occupational therapist, Katie Berlin relates fresh research about handwriting 


Katie Berlin MS OTR/L, occupational therapist at Child and Family Development- Pineville, reviewed a common sense article titled “5 Brain-Based Reasons To Teach Handwriting In Schools” from Psychology Today.  Believe it or not, this is a debate!

Katie shares that the information is a breath of fresh air to the occupational therapists who have observed some schools opting out of introducing pre-writing, printing and cursive to elementary aged students.  The author, J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D, offers supporting research that highlights the benefits of handwriting, including that it helps kids to learn their letters for reading, be better writers and spellers. His main points include:

  1. Handwriting helps kids develop reading circuitry in their brains.
  2. Handwriting makes better writers and spellers and predicts reading and academic success.
  3. Handwriting makes both children—and adults—smarter! Close those laptops!
  4. Start out with teacher modeling.
  5. Teach handwriting directly and explicitly.

He emphasizes that keyboarding- rather than writing new information- is less effective when it comes to remembering information and ‚Äúsynthesizing‚Äù it, or building the new information into what you already know.  Of course, an occupational therapist will recommend keyboarding for those who are unable to learn manuscript, but this article helps to support the idea that keyboarding should be an accommodation and not the norm in the classroom.

Katie and our other occupational therapy team members offer evaluations and treatment options that determine strength and coordination for pre-writing, printing, cursive and keyboarding.  Handwriting Without Tears¬Æ (HWT) is one popular program.  Read more about our HWT services here.

Read full article here.