Is there a relationship between handwriting technique and neural development? The Kansas State Board of Education believes that cursive handwriting as a student skill still holds an important place in the instructional practice of every school’s curriculum and can be integrated in multiple content areas. Research supports the role that handwriting instruction plays in the cognitive development of children, and this activity is even more important in an increasingly digital environment.
The Kansas State Board of Education requested Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to develop handwriting standards to include in the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards that will provide guidelines for teaching handwriting skills. KSDE developed these standards with help from the Central Comprehensive Center (C3) at the University of Oklahoma and Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO). C3 and CEELO collaborated with KSDE to build human capacity by increasing knowledge and skills for developing and aligning handwriting standards with current state-level Kindergarten through Grade 12 core academic standards. The Kansas Handwriting Standards Committee provided periodic input at multiple levels and included consultants from Language Arts and Literacy, Special Education, English Language Learner (ELL), and Early Childhood as well as teachers, occupational therapists, and higher education faculty.
The Kansas State Board of Education unanimously approved the Kansas Handwriting Curricular Standards on December 10, 2013. KSDE Language Arts and Literacy Consultant Kris Shaw expressed her appreciation of the committee members for their hard work and expertise in the development of these standards. Ultimately, statewide handwriting instruction will facilitate effective written composition and communication for all students and improve educational practices.