Handwriting and Reading Together
While reading is a visual experience of language, handwriting is the kinesthetic element. Learning how to form the shapes of the letters helps students to recognize them more readily for reading. Seeing, hearing, saying, and simultaneously writing the phonograms reinforces and deepens their learning. We strongly recommend teaching children to write the letters at the same time that they learn to read them.
However, it is important to note that children do not need to master handwriting while learning to read. It is normal for handwriting mastery to lag far behind progress in reading, especially in very young children.
Students develop the muscle memory of forming each letter while making a connection between the kinesthetic activity and that letter's sound(s). It is very beneficial for children to learn the phonograms, but they do not have to master the written letters while first learning to read. Handwriting mastery often takes much longer to develop.
It is also not important that young children be able to write the letters using fine-motor movements. The transition to pencil and paper can come later when fine-motor skills are more developed. Children can practice writing the letters in sand, with markers, in paint, or on the sky, using their whole arm.
For more about starting with large motor, see Starting Handwriting with Large Motor Movements.
To learn more, check out The Relationship Between Reading and Handwriting on the Logic of English Blog.