FIU Study Finds Link Between Good Handwriting And Good Grades

Aug 29, 2014

Art may be another way parents can help their children practice their fine-motor skills, says FIU professor Laura Dinehart.
Credit Jeffrey James Pacres / Flickr

Do you have sloppy penmanship? A Florida International University professor's research finds that kids whose writing is easy to read tend to do better in school.

After examining the handwriting of 3,000 preschool students in Miami-Dade County, an FIU study found good handwriting and good grades are related.

FIU early childhood education professor Laura Dinehart focused her study on students from low-income households.

"We found that kids that had those skills early on, were better at those skills early on, demonstrated better academic performance once they entered second grade," Dinehart says.

Dinehart found that those students with better handwriting performed better on standardized tests and got better grades in reading and math.

Parents And Penmanship

Dinehart says early-childhood education should focus on fine-motor skills, and parents have a role to play as well.

"Parents should be providing kids with opportunities to engage in writing perhaps even in art," she says. "We haven't looked at how much this is related to just being able to draw, for instance, and learning some basics about drawing. So this may enhance parents' desires to put their kids in art, or other fine-motor activities."

She stresses that obtaining this skill can be fun. She says pre-schoolers like to color and they like to see their work on paper. 

"The intent is to think about writing as a critical skill just like we think about reading and just like we think about math, that we want them to have some basic readiness skills before they enter the kindergarten classroom," Dinehart says. 

Dinehart is also looking at how childrens' ability to copy shapes improves their ability to "manage and control their behavior."