In 2019 we send texts and emails to communicate, use our smart phones as personal diaries and rely on our computers to type out our work. As such, we are losing touch with the art of handwriting and spelling. As our children increasingly rely on technology for their education, it becomes ever more important to ensure that they efficiently develop their handwriting and spelling skills. 
Why are spelling and handwriting so important? 
Handwriting, reading and spelling all activate the same regions of the brain. Therefore, the more we practice handwriting; the easier reading will become and the more we practice reading; the easier spelling will become. Good handwriting requires regular training to develop our muscle memory, without which, our muscles weaken, and the task becomes a lot harder! In other words, handwriting can boost our kinaesthetic learning. 
Handwriting also requires careful thought and decision making. When typing, we do not need to think as much. We rely on Spellcheck to correct out mistakes, without necessarily realising we have made them. Therefore, we are unable to learn from our mistakes and improve our skills. When writing by hand, we must consciously decipher the spelling of a word and put pen to paper. Thus, the manual action of handwriting allows us to improve our spelling. 
Increased use of social media means we are now more accustomed to informal writing styles, regularly using emojis and abbreviations to communicate. This is considerably damaging for our vocabulary and spelling abilities. Practising written communication can improve our ability to formally express ourselves in words, clearly and concisely. Since most formal examinations require students to complete a written exam, practicing handwriting can improve our children’s exam technique. 
 
How to help your child: 
Back to basics 
Whether your child is just starting to learn handwriting, has slipped into bad habits further into their education, or never quite got to grips with the skill, the first port of call is to check how they are holding their pencil/ pen. They should be holding their pencil/ pen in a ‘tripod grasp’. If your child is struggling with their grasp, experiment with different sized and shaped pencils. 
 
Confidence 
Sometimes, children may write illegibly to cover up underlying issues, such as being unsure of correct spelling or grammar. Reassure your child that it is okay to make mistakes as it allows us to learn. Encourage them to ask questions if they are unsure. Increasing their confidence in other areas will allow them to be confident in their handwriting. 
 
Modelling 
Ensure that when you are writing in front of your child, you always take your time and check your spelling. When you are correcting their work, always ensure your handwriting is legible and clear. Children will learn that good handwriting and spelling are important, so always model good practice in front of them. 
 
Fine motor skills 
Good handwriting requires a child to have developed their fine motor skills. Encourage children to play puzzles, games and toys that they can do with their hands. Children can develop they fine motor skills and coordination without even realising - whilst having fun! 
At Marvellous Minds, we recognise the importance of good handwriting and spelling. We encourage all our students to regularly practice these skills, no matter what subject they are studying. We achieve this through our screen free learning environment, where we put the emphasis on pen to paper activities, alongside our interactive and engaging teaching methods. 
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