Cause of Death: Sloppy Doctors By Jeremy Caplan Monday, Jan. 15, 2007,00.html

For your list of reasons to support handwriting instruction in schools...

Handwriting skills are needed by all children attending school. Handwritten work is the primary way children demonstrate learning in our classrooms. A lack of interest in skill instruction has not changed the fact that the kids still have to use it. Trends in language programs, demand more handwriting than ever and at earlier ages (the learn-by-doing concept known as "whole language"). The kindergarten language curriculum at the school my grand kids attend, had the children write a journal as soon as a few weeks into the school year. Maybe that would be a good topic to survey?

Handwriting fluency has been linked to reading skills at entry levels. Objective handwriting fluency data, combined with subjective teacher assessments of reading skills, shows that virtually all students in kindergarten and grade one, who are able to write the alphabet at a rate close to 40 letters per minute, are reading at or above grade level expectations. It also shows that virtually all children who lag behind in reading, are also dysfluent printers.

THE WRITING/READING CONNECTION, Robert V. Rose, MD, March 15, 2004.

The dynamic information stored in the internal model during handwriting training has been shown to play a role in the decoding process.

Babcock, M. K., & Freyd, J. J. (1988) Perception of dynamic information in static handwritten forms. American Journal of Psychology, Spring, Vol 101, pp. 111-130.

The challenge presented by the motor-learning task causes changes to occur in the brain. It remains to be shown scientifically, but countless teachers recognize that those changes result in improved processing of written language. The changes were recorded using PET scan technology.

Shadmir, R. and Holcomb, H. (1997) “Neural Correlates of Motor Memory Consolidation” Science, Vol. 277, 8 Aug. 1997.

There have been many news articles over the years regarding the severe repercussions of poor handwriting in the medical arena. The AMA has put out a couple of reports that were pretty startling. The last I saw was in a Chicago News paper. A client clipped out the small article and mailed it to us.

Other sources have reported how poor handwriting affects business costs, but that was years ago. Customers who received the wrong product could only be satisfied by shipping again, and of course, picking up the return. (report to a national association of publishers?).