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Focus on the Field

National Standards for Written Language Production for

In January, educators and researchers gathered at Handwriting in the 21st Century? An Educational Summit with the primary purpose of determining whether—and how—handwriting should be taught in today's classroom. An overwhelming majority of attendees who participated in a Summit survey indicated that both handwriting and keyboarding instruction should be an integral part of a comprehensive education.

In response to these striking survey results, the HW 21 Summit Team developed a set of developmentally appropriate, research-based national standards for written language production. The standards were formed based on

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

Meant to be a living work, the standards will continue to evolve as The HW 21 Summit Team incorporates feedback and forthcoming research about best practices in handwriting and keyboarding instruction. Zaner-Bloser encourages you to weigh in on how these standards can be improved (by e-mailing the HW 21 Summit Team at, so that educators can most effectively provide the handwriting and keyboarding instruction that will prepare our students for 21st century success.

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