Does good handwriting matter in a digital age?

Some people who write columns in newspapers appear, on occasion, to take the point of view that beautiful handwriting is less important than mastery of the keyboard.

Education officials in some states in the USA have announced that skills crucial to 21st century success include keyboard skills but not handwriting. In Indiana for example, pupils from the age of eight sit standardised tests online. Proficient typing will help them to pass exams; handwriting has nothing to do with the matter.

Meanwhile one of the English exam boards has just conducted a test in which the students read the exam questions on tablets such as the iPad, but then have to answer the questions using pen and paper.

So where does the balance lie?

Interestingly, research undertaken by Dr Karen James from Indiana University has shown that ‘children who had been taught to write developed brain patterns similar to those found in reading adults. That doesn’t happen with keyboarding…’.

Indeed, many teachers observe that there is a link between cursive script and effective spelling. To generate cursive handwriting, the pen arm and torso work together, creating a sense of space and direction connected with a particular word. By contrast, tapping on a keyboard often involves only a gentle up-and-down movement of the fingers.

Handwriting is also an expression of personality. It is idiosyncratic, it is human, it is the hallmark of an individual. However, if you don’t put your name on a piece of typed work, the chances of identifying who it belongs to are reduced. Only if the writer’s style of writing is highly individual will the source of the writing be recognised.

To help develop a good clear style, ‘Handwriting Made Simple’ is a fully cursive handwriting programme in which all letters join. It contains twenty-nine sessions for Upper Key Stage 1 and the same for Lower Key Stage 2.

Detailed notes for teachers are also included.

This resource is available as a paper book, an e-book or a download.

Free sample pages are available on our website.

If you would like to know more please call 01772 863158 or email us at

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By post: Topical Resources, P.O. Box329, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5LT

Topical Resources
P.O. Box329

Tel: 01772 863158