12 December 2008 12:12 PM

National Handwriting Day – Mail Your Letters!

by Dr. Rick

Even though we live in a keyboard age, it’s important for kids to learn good handwriting skills.


  • Writing and reading go together.  Writing skills reinforce reading skills.  Reading skills reinforce writing skills.
  • Handwriting reinforces phonics skills.  Kids can see that the letters they write represent the sounds of words.
  • Writing allows kids to experiment with language, with words, with sounds, and with creativity.  It develops critical thinking skills.
  • It also develops motor skills.  Practicing handwriting is as important as practicing any new skill, whether it’s academic, athletic, artistic, or social.  The more practice we get, the better we are at the skill.  Take it slowly and allow for mistakes.
  • This practice helps children to develop the fine motor skills and muscular development they need for handwriting.  Teach them about letter formation and the proper way to hold a pencil.  (I’m still amazed at the number of adults I see daily who hold pencil and pen awkwardly and inefficiently.)
  • Support and encouragement are essential ingredients in children’s learning handwriting.  Be good role models.

Of course, the best way to encourage kids to pick up pencil or pen is to give them high interest, highly motivating writing challenges.


I’ve just read about such a challenge.  I learned that National Handwriting Day is January 23, 2009, and the excellent organization Handwriting Without Tears (http://www.hwtears.com/) is sponsoring a really neat exercise.  It’s called “Mail to the Chief,” and invites children across the country to submit handwritten letters of advice to President Barak Obama.  All elementary school children are eligible.  It’s free, and school classes are invited.  You can even download free activity sheets and double-line stationery for the children to use. 


Mail your letters to Handwriting Without Tears by December 15, 2008.  All handwritten letters will be hand-delivered to the White House on National Handwriting Day, January 23, 2009.


Kids will love this opportunity to be a part of a national exercise, and who knows, they might even get a nice response from the White House. 


Do you think it’ll be hand written?


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