Get the reading right and the writing follows

29th July 2011 at 01:00

Your item on teaching handwriting skills (TES Magazine, 15 July) revived my interest, particularly as BBC TV had a few days earlier reported that in several states in the US keyboard skills are being taught before writing.

In teaching reading and writing together it is usually held that they reinforce each other, being integral parts of the same process.

But teaching the two together from the start demands brain potentials which mature at different ages.

Writing is more complex than reading and calls for an inborn capacity for handeye co-ordination as yet not fully available.

Teaching elementary keyboard skills before writing involves more than knowing letters and where the keys are. Pressing a correct sequence of keys is clearly less complicated than shaping letters by hand.

My experience is that reading can be accelerated and that, at a slightly later stage of development, writing skills are more readily learned with the confidence more legibly and fluently to put ideas, feelings and verbal statements into script.

Peter Cox, Retired lecturer in educational psychology and special educational needs, Nottingham University.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today