Why Handwriting Is Still Important

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

The earliest forms of writing date approximately 5,000 years ago. Once upon a time, children learned how to write in cursive as part of handwriting lessons in school. Those lessons are falling by the wayside as states adopt Common Core standards, which only require manuscript handwriting instruction until the first grade and cursive instruction is not mandated at all.

Opponents of cursive instruction argue it is no longer relevant and classroom instruction is better devoted to other subjects, including digital proficiency.

While it’s true that there are only so many classroom hours in the day, research shows there are still plenty of reasons to teach and practice legible penmanship.

Research shows that teaching handwriting skills benefit cognitive development and motor skills, and can lead to improved writing skills and reading comprehension. In other words, children not only learn to read faster when they learn to write by hand first, but research suggests they are also better at generating ideas and retaining information than children who do not practice handwriting.

A study published in 2006 that followed children in grades two to five showed that printing, cursive writing, and typing on a keyboard are associated with separate brain patterns and lead to different results. When children wrote text by hand, they produced more words faster than they did on a keyboard and expressed more ideas.

Further research suggests the benefits of handwriting continue into adulthood. A 2014 study, The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard, demonstrated the advantage of longhand over laptop note-taking.

While we’re not aware of scientific evidence supporting the warm feeling of receiving a handwritten thank you card or love letter, anecdotal evidence suggests there’s something there.

Reprinted from:  http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/23/living/national-handwriting-day/

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