New study finds links pre-K handwriting skills with future math grades

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 1:00pm

Teaching 4- and 5-year-olds to write is a priority at Florida's REM Learning Center.

The Children's Trust funded a study that has found that how well the children there learn to write will have a significant impact on their school grades later.

Florida International University researchers analyzed information from 3,000 Miami-Dade public school students.

They looked at how the children did in preschool and again in second grade.

"We found kids who had higher scores in the fine motor writing test in pre-K had better grades and better Stanford Achievement Test scores in second grade both in reading and math," explained FIU assistant professor Laura Dinehart.

Pre-K students with good grades in writing had B averages in second-grade math and reading.

Pre-K students who did poorly in writing had C averages.

Researchers are still looking into why.

"We think it could be attention. Kids that have greater attention skills could also have greater writing skills because they're able to focus and they're able to copy," Dinehart said.

She encourages parents to work on writing with their kids.

"Now I'm realizing I probably should focus a little bit more time on it. I never really sat down with them," said mother of three Maryanne Ullery. "I provide them materials and let them access it as they want."

Drawing helps too, but now the proof is in penmanship and its impact on academic performance.

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