The Need for Standards

Children need both handwriting and keyboarding instruction to succeed in their schools and later in the world of college and work. But, explicit, evidence-based guidelines for teaching these skills are absent from the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The national discourse around handwriting instruction in particular has been elevated since the release of the CCSS. In response to this concern, researchers and educators gathered in Washington, D.C., for Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit. This Summit further crystallized the need for educators and policy makers to give handwriting and keyboarding serious thought.

The resulting proposed PreK–8 Written-Language Production Standards offer developmentally appropriate, research-based indicators for handwriting and keyboarding—two essential skills for 21st century success.

How the Written-Language Production Standards Were Developed

The PreK-8 Written Language Production Standards are research-based and incorporate

  • basic letter formation and keyboarding indicators included in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.
  • national and local technology standards and policy.
  • state handwriting and keyboarding standards.
  • studies in motor skills development from occupational therapists.
  • data on language (written and oral) and brain activation from academic researchers.

The initial, proposed standards for Kindergarten–Grade 8 were posted for public review and feedback in April and May of 2012. In July of 2014, proposed standards for PreKindergarten were made available for public comment.

The HW21 Community appreciates the thorough and explicit comments that were received from educators, occupational therapists, and other concerned citizens during these periods of public review. After careful consideration and revision, the resulting proposed PreK–8 Written Language Production Standards incorporate much of this feedback and are stronger for it.

The PreK–8 Written-Language Production Standards will continue to be a living document and evolve as forthcoming research about best practices in handwriting and keyboarding instruction is released and as changes in the educational landscape demand.