Is Teaching Printing Still Important?

Increasingly more students are arriving in our classrooms never having the opportunity to hold a pencil, coloring and cutting with scissors and fine-motor skills are lagging.  I have certainly noticed a significant decline since I started teaching 38 years ago. This blog post is meant to address some of these concerns.  How often do you hear, “children do not need to know how to print because they will just learn to type.”  Research has been done in this area and supports the importance of still learning to print


In conclusion, the importance of learning to print should not be overlooked even in this digital age.  I believe even more research is going to become available showing the same outcomes. 

Better Letter Recognition Retention

“When writing by hand, the movement involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain which helps us recognize letters.  This implies a connection between reading and writing, and suggests that the sensorimotor system plays a role in the process of visual recognition during reading.”


Anne Mangen Univeristy of Stavanger, Norway

The above statement supports the idea that students do not internalize the connection to the letter and sound until they are able to print that letter. This has also been my experience. For this reason, each day I have a short dictation period where my students print on their erasable whiteboards.  I will dictate words and they must print the initial letter that represents that word.  By the end of the year, most students can print the entire word (usually CVC words). This is part of my word work and phonics instruction and is a very important one.

Literacy Centre Activities That Promote Printing

Spin and Print

The game displayed above was one of my student’s favorite Literacy Center games. I place the picture circle graph in a paper plate so the top would not roll off.  The students must twist the spinner (great for fine-motor) and print the letter represented by the picture the spinner lands on.  

Draw and Print

The students would draw a picture card and print the letter represented. You can access alphabet picture cards in the link below.

CVC Word Printing

In the link below you will have access to 45 CVC Printing Sheets.

Roll, Count, Move and Print

This is a great game to assist in letter learning and printing and also incorporates math. Students roll a die and move their game player accordingly. They must print the letter that represents the sound of the picture they landed on.

Proper Pencil Grasp

You may also find it interesting how students begin their fine-motor skills in relation to printing and the different pencil grasps related to this.  

Fabulous Freebies - Printing Books and Picture Cards

In the links below you will find different formats of printing books.  This will vary depending on the teaching style you teach and your preference of a format.

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