How Handwriting Enhances Learning Infographic
Nowadays it’s less about putting pen to paper and more about turning on your laptop. But are we losing out by letting the art of penmanship die? Lots of evidence shows handwriting for kids stimulates the brain and offers benefits typing doesn’t. The How Handwriting Enhances Learning Infographic looks at the benefits and more that come with learning the art of handwriting.
The Numbers Behind Handwriting
- 25-33% of children struggle with handwriting
- 20% of children use ‘text-speak' when writing
- In the UK, for those aged 11: 40% of boys and 25% of girls fail to meet required writing standards
- 33% of adults have difficulty reading their own handwriting
- 1 in 6 adults in Ireland have difficulty reading written text.
- 1992: The year the Irish National Teachers' Organisation launched their annual handwriting competition. Students are judged on style, flair and neatness of their handwriting.
How Handwriting Stimulates the Brain
Lots of evidence shows handwriting stimulates the brain and offers benefits typing doesn‘t;
- More language skilss: Relative to typing, writing by hand sees increased activity in the Broca’s area and the inferior parietal lobule – areas involved with language comprehension. The primary visual area is located at the back of the brain.
- More detail intake: Writing stimulates the reticular activating system (RAS). This system acts as a filter for everything your brain processes and gives priority to important data. When triggered, the RAS signals the cerebral cortex to pay attention to what's being written and absorb the details.
- More skills: Repetitive processes, such as handwriting, strengthen connections between neurons in the brain, making it easier for impulses to travel along pathways. The stronger the pathway, the easier it is to recall the learned skill.
Why Handwriting is Good For You
- Faster essays: Virginia Berninger of the University of Washington found that 2nd, 4th and 6th grade students who handwrote essays completed them faster than those using a computer.
More complex ideas: In the same study, Berninger also discovered that students who handwrote essays had more complex ideas in their writing.
- Sharpened recall: Researchers at Washing University in St Louis discovered that individuals are more likely to recall words when they're written down on paper rather than typed out.
- Stronger understanding: Researchers have found that, while students take more notes when using a laptop, those who write notes by hand have a stronger conceptual understanding of the material.
- Visual identification: Research suggests that learning to write graphically different languages, such as Mandarin, mathematics or music, can aid adults' ability to identify shapes - hence it's a good cognitive exercise.
How to Improve Your Handwriting
- Don’t squeeze the pen. Too much pressure leads to cramped lettering and cramped hands
- Sit up straight but not stiffly. You should be comfortable.
- Put your shoulder into it. This helps for a more fluid and efficient style.
- Practice daily. Train your brain and hands each day
Apps for Handwriting
- Dexteria: Therapeutic hand exercises to develop hand dexterity
- Letter School: An intuitive game that helps users learn letters and numbers
- Ready To Print: An app that teaches pre-writing skills
- Cursive Touch and Write: Games created to teach users how to write in cursive
Evidence points to handwriting being more beneficial than typing. Perhaps it's time to turn off the computer and go back to the basics: pen and paper.