Handwriting and Literacy

In today’s technology-rich environment, it’s easy to believe that handwriting holds little value in a modern education. Surely, typing on a keyboard has replaced the need for handwriting? Various studies have proven that the opposite is true. For example, a recent Australian study revealed that handwriting fluency can be used to predict students’ quality of reading and writing skills in the future. Handwriting activates specific parts of the brain for memory and encoding new information that typing simply does not.

“A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. We both learn better and remember better.” – Audrey van der Meer

There are several additional benefits to writing by hand:

  • It encourages the development and maintenance of fine motor skills.
  • It can improve your writing skills. A study of beginning writers reported up to a 30% difference in writing achievement attributed to capability in handwriting and spelling.
  • Handwriting skills are closely tied to spelling ability. Spelling skill reflects what we know about words, including the meaning of words. Those who struggle with spelling are often less motivated to write.
  • It makes you a better reader. Recognition of letters leads to better letter-writing fluency, and that leads to greater overall reading development.

These are just some of the studied benefits to practicing handwriting. When teaching handwriting skills, it is important to keep in mind dysgraphia, or challenges with transcription.

This video featuring Dr. Gary Troia is a good introduction to dysgraphia.

Check out the resources below to teach and encourage handwriting in both children and adults.

Resources for Children

Resources for Adults

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