Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 21–35 | Cite as

Handwriting: A neglected cornerstone of literacy

  • Betty Sheffield
Part I Long-Term Perspectives


This paper discusses the necessity for teaching children to have readable automatic handwriting. As demonstrated by a search of the literature, educational institutions in both the United States and Great Britain display a lack of concern about the importance of handwriting in school curricula. Researchers display a similar lack of concern as evidenced by the scarcity of major research studies on handwriting. They appear to be unaware of the benefits of effective early teaching. Often the choice of what to teach, how to teach, and when to teach is left up to the discretion of individual teachers, who typically have been given inadequate preparation for teaching handwriting. The decision of whether to begin with manuscript or cursive seems based on custom and opinion instead of any solid empirical evidence. The special needs of left-handed children and dyslexic children are seldom addressed. Yet, these children need to be taught handwriting meticulously. More attention needs to be focused on how all children can acquire the essential skill of legible serviceable handwriting.


Dyslexia Dyslexic Child Specific Learning Disability Expressive Writing Letter Form 
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Copyright information

© The Orton Dyslexia Society 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betty Sheffield
    • 1
  1. 1.Learning Disabilities Specialist in Private Practice Fellow of the Orton Gillingham AcademyUK

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