Writing by hand also activates parts of the brain involved in memory, impulse control and attention. It “moves information from short-term to long-term storage. Students who take notes by hand have demonstrated better conceptual understanding and memory of the material than students who took notes using a laptop. It is suspected that the same holds true for younger children.”
Dr. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington found that handwriting instruction improves first graders’ composition skills, and handwritten essays were two years ahead of typed essays, developmentally. “It’s a near-universal rule: Kids with better handwriting do better in school…better reading grades, better reading scores on the SAT, better math scores, both on the SAT and as it relates to grades. .. How we interact with things physically has a huge bearing on cognitive development. Fine motor control , memory, and learning are highly connected, and doing things with the hands is critical.”
Of course, keyboarding is an essential skill in the modern world. But handwriting also has a critical impact on learning, and should not be ignored! Here at South Hills, we focus on the physiological components of writing (training the eye to move top to bottom, left to right; strengthening hand muscles for an eventual tripod grasp; encouraging ‘belly writing/drawing/scribbling’ to build core muscles for trunk stability, and a host of other exercises often recommended to us by Occupational Therapists). Only after these skills are firmly established are children ready for writing/tracing with a thin marker. It is a huge day of celebration when a child moves to pencil writing, typically a few months prior to Kindergarten. We take great pride and enjoyment in the children’s writing accomplishments here at South Hills, and hope parents will take this research into account throughout their child’s educational experience! Handwriting is critical!