Don’t Forget to Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s on National Handwriting Day!
National Handwriting Day, observed on January 23rd each year, coincides with the birthday of John Hancock – a Founding Father of our nation, the first to sign the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and famously known for his penmanship and signature. For us less well-known writers, it’s still a great opportunity to celebrate the occasion by crafting a letter to a friend or penpal, writing down a cherished family recipe with our kids, or practicing our curliest cursive.
In the digital age, it might feel outdated, but writing by hand is still incredibly important. This physical act improves fine motor skills and cognitive processes in younger learners. It serves as an exercise in creativity for older children writing their own stories or exploring the world of text-based art like calligraphy. With the personality of every writer embedded into each hand-written word, this old school style of communication is as unique as it is personal.
Learn more about the value of handwriting and penmanship, and try out some fun activities and games with the resources below.
The Art & Skill of Writing by Hand
How Important is Handwriting These Days?
Grades PreK-3 The ability to write benefits children in numerous ways throughout life — academically, creatively and emotionally. So where does penmanship fit into the bigger picture?
Why Some Schools Still Insist on Teaching Cursive Writing
Grades 6-12 Starting in the 1970s, and under the recent implementation of the Common Core, a former pillar of elementary education has been largely forgotten. But there’s a feeling that learning cursive still has value, even in the age of typing and texting. Let your students weigh in on the cursive handwriting debate with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resources.
The Art of Handwriting | Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art
Grades 6-12 Every handwritten message brims with the personality of the writer at the moment of interplay between hand, eye, mind, pen, and paper. The letters here, from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, show that an artist might put pen to paper just as he or she would apply a line to a drawing.
Grades PreK-K This quiet, soothing activity is an easy way to calm your child at the end of a school day or after a busy weekend of activities, while also helping your child better identify letters and numbers.
Grades PreK-K Recognizing each letter is one of the first steps of the reading process – but learning letter names outside of alphabetical order can be challenging. This activity gets the brain and the body moving and learning together. Grab some sidewalk chalk and take learning outdoors by making a letter hopscotch.
Grades K-3 In this activity, your child will use the crayon resist painting technique to write secret messages! When you write with a white crayon on white paper, the writing appears invisible… but when you brush over it with watercolor paint, the message shows up!
Grades 1-5 It’s time to write a creature adventure story! Invite your child to choose their creature and a setting, decide on the plot, and then use this printable worksheet from Wild Kratts to begin writing their story.