Let’s face it, technology is everywhere - it surrounds us in every setting. Electronic devices have features such as touch screens, typing, and talk-to-text, which have overshadowed traditional pencil and paper writing. The skill of handwriting is essential for the brain because it helps it achieve its full potential.[i] Both halves of the brain work together when writing – the right side manages the visualizations and creative, while the left side handles the analytical and logical aspects.
Handwriting In the Classroom
Technology has blurred the line between formal and informal writing in classrooms. Teachers are noticing informal language in writing assignments, along with the inability to think critically and form cohesive thoughts about complex topics.[ii] The thinking process of writing helps develop critical thinking skills through the process of gathering the information, organizing it to make sense, and in turn capturing the full picture on paper.
This process also sharpens focus to make sure messages are clear.
Why is it important to teach handwriting in school? It has a positive impact on a child’s fine-motor skills.[iii] The action of forming letters requires the brain to focus on the shape, while using their hand and finger muscle to hold the pencil to the paper. Learning letters by typing on a keyboad does not give that same benefit. Writing uses more brain-power than typing. The hand-eye coordination that comes from writing is associated with academic achievement.[iv]
Here are some ways to incorporate writing into your life:
- Write down your grocery list
- Write out a to-do list
- Make personalized cards
Taking the time out of your day, or your child’s day, to put technology aside and write can improve cognitive memory.
[i] M Cecil Smith, The Benefits of Handwriting, Northern Illinois University, The Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy
[ii] Kristen Purcell, Judy Buchanan, and Linda Friedrich, The Impact of Digital Tool on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools, Pew Research Center, 2013
[iii] Alaina, 5 Reasons Why Handwriting is Important in Today’s Digital World, Bullocks Buzz
[iv] Alaina, 5 Reasons Why Handwriting is Important in Today’s Digital World, Bullocks Buzz