Now, we know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry - we’re not talking about doing away with school exercise books. Quite the opposite! Instead, we’re talking about why exercise books shouldn’t be kept exclusively in the classroom, which happens all too often in schools across the UK.
Sometimes teachers are understandably cautious about letting their class take exercise books home in case they get lost or damaged. And let’s be honest, those worries aren’t entirely unfounded - it’s true that some books might not find their way back in one piece. But preventing students from taking their exercise books home arguably stops them from properly fulfilling their primary educational purpose, especially if you’ve invested in getting personalised exercise books for your class.
So, let’s unpack it a bit, shall we?
Put simply - school exercise books reinforce learning
Children learn new things from their teachers every day. But in order for that teaching to have maximum impact, children need to be able to reinforce it at home. School exercise books can provide concrete elements of the topics covered in class, allowing students to review the notes they’ve made, and crucially, examine their own mistakes. It provides an invaluable stepping stone for them to understand how and why their errors occurred, and what they need to bear in mind to prevent them from happening in future.
If students are unable to reinforce their learning at home, it has a significant impact on their ability to retain what they’ve covered in class. Essentially, it helps them to transfer their new knowledge from working memory into long-term memory, a concept we discussed in a recent post on top tips to setting the best primary school homework. (And as we covered there, the best homework exercises are typically short, and not too frequent.)
Exercise books help students with their handwriting
Today, most of the UK population writes vastly more on a keyboard than they do on traditional pen and paper. The difference is perhaps a little less stark for schoolchildren, but even so it’s hard to deny the growing prevalence of keyboards and touchpads in the world of education - especially in recent times of more intensive distance learning.
Despite these advances though, handwriting is far from a dying skill, and there’s ample evidence to show that the overwhelming majority of us still think it’s important. According to a YouGov research poll from 2016 for example, 92% of adults think that writing by hand is still important, and 97% think that it’s important for children to be taught to write. It remains a useful skill throughout adulthood, vital for taking quick notes whether you’re in a business meeting, or jotting down an address, or taking down payment details.
What’s more, studies have consistently found that there are direct links between developing good handwriting skills at an early age, and experiencing later success in academic achievements in both literacy and numeracy. Crucially, handwriting (especially cursive handwriting) requires more complex motor and cognitive skills than typing on a keyboard, and does a better job of activating the visual perception of individual letters. All that makes it much more mentally stimulating and rewarding for children.
Illegible handwriting, on the other hand, can hinder them throughout their academic career and sometimes later in life too. But to be honest, it’s not something most children will have to overly worry about as long as they’re given the chance to practice and improve. School exercise books provide just that - so don’t be tempted to keep them permanently in the classroom!
Of course, if any of them ever do go missing or turn up damaged, that’s exactly where we can help here at EPSL. We provide a huge range of school exercise books, teaching planners, and supplementary reading material, so that you and your class have everything you need to stay organised, motivated, and productive. With more than 40 years of experience behind us, we’re top of the class when it comes to producing resources and learning solutions for schools, so you can count on us to provide answers in as much or as little detail as you need. Feel free to give us a call on 01254 686 500!