Literacy is the ability to read and write. A writing surface is crucial to both literacy development and an effective, basic education experience. One of our primary goals is the facilitation of writing automaticity – a foundation for a meaningful school career.
Every successful intervention needs a focal point. That one thing that forms the foundation from which other benefits flow. Ours is to assist literacy development in an often-overlooked requirement. We understand that primary school makes or breaks a school career. Its why we start there.
From The Tutudesk Campaign Research Study:
“Failure to achieve handwriting as a competency during school age years often has far-reaching negative effects on both academic success and self-esteem”. Feder, 2007
Starting with handwriting, it is clear that the ability to write is a fundamental indicator of an individual’s ability to achieve. This is true both at school, where 31-60% of the time is spent writing, and in adult life, where functional literacy is a key factor that will be tested by potential employers.
Our research shows that a flat, stable, writing surface is a basic requirement for learning this fundamental skill. Building on this, once a child knows how to write they can switch more of their focus towards the content of their writing rather than the mechanical act of writing.
This is referred to as automaticity of writing. If a child fails to develop automaticity, not only will the quality of their work be worse, but they are also likely to be slower, fall behind on their academic work and have low self-esteem and behavioural issues as a consequence.
The development of writing ability is considered a necessary ingredient in a child’s success at school. Feder (2007) says that children spend an average of 31-60% of their school day performing writing as well as other fine motor tasks and therefore difficulties in this area can detrimentally affect a child’s academic achievement.
In addition to this, Feder (2007) states that illegible handwriting can cause barriers for the accomplishment of other higher order skills such as spelling and story composition.
Kirsch & Guthrie, (1977, p489) stated that literacy is: "the ability to read, write, and compute on or above the minimal level of competence needed for meeting the requirements of adult level.”
It is paramount for survival in our society today, making reading and writing skills the cornerstones of a successful education. Feder (2007, p 312) argues that “Failure to achieve handwriting as a competency during school age years often has far-reaching negative effects on both academic success and self-esteem”.
From our research study and experience it is evident that the Tutudesk, as a flat, stable writing surface, has a significant positive effect on handwriting, which will facilitate the building of the learner’s literacy, confidence and self-esteem.
“A lack of automaticity in writing can seriously affect young children’s ability to express ideas in text” - Berninger & Swanson; Graham; De La Paz & Graham, as cited in Medwell, et al., p39
Also, writing is a key component of the functional literacy of a learner and will be a significant factor in the individual’s ability to hold meaningful employment in the future.
Our research also highlighted that the provision of a writing surface is particularly important during the early years of primary school and this is reflected in the Tutudesk distribution to date, with approximately 80% of all Tutudesks having been distributed to primary schools.