Research News

Step away from the keyboard – handwriting still important; Vanderbilt expert available to comment for National Handwriting Day, Jan. 23

Handwriting might be a lost art to many, but it plays a critical role in how we learn and express ourselves, Vanderbilt handwriting expert Steve Graham says. Jan. 23 is National Handwriting Day.

“Handwriting is one of the basic building blocks of good writing and plays a critical role in learning,” Graham, Currey Ingram Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, said. “Young children who have difficulty mastering this skill often avoid writing and do not develop as writers. They also may have trouble taking notes and following along in class.”

Graham suggests that a return to consistent handwriting instruction would support overall learning across subjects.

“Teachers need to continue to teach their students how to properly form and join letters,” Graham said. “We found that this sort of instruction takes place for 10 minutes or less a day in most schools, down from two hours a week in the 1950s.”

Graham can discuss effective writing practices for students, particularly those who struggle with writing, how writing is taught, and the effects of handwriting and spelling instruction on the writing performance of struggling students. He can also offer guidance for parents on how to support handwriting at home.

Graham is an author of numerous books and over 135 papers on handwriting, writing instruction and learning disabilities.

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS