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posted by n1 on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-but-illegible-scribbles dept.

The NY Times asks does handwriting matter? The Common Core standards stop teaching handwriting after the first grade, preferring a proficiency in typing after that.

However, studies are showing that children learn faster, are able to retain more information, and generate new ideas when they first learn to write by hand. The process of thinking about how to form a letter and putting it on the page stimulates more areas of the brain. This come from the inherent messiness in free-form writing, which can be a valuable learning tool.

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  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:59PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:59PM (#51376)

    In another study, Dr. James is comparing children who physically form letters with those who only watch others doing it. Her observations suggest that it is only the actual effort that engages the brain's motor pathways and delivers the learning benefits of handwriting.

    I suppose creating art or playing a musical instrument is similar. However, it seems that handwriting is one of the few activities that nearly *all* children participate in, which involves simultaneous:

    • hand-eye,
    • content retrieval and 'description', and
    • multiple fine-motor-muscle

    engagement. I think it involves a many parts of the brain from:

    • seeing a mark on a piece of paper and using the nerve feedback from 3D pressure-position-sensing of a pencil point (visual, tactile processing)
    • to perceiving how one wishes to alter/extend that mark to create a letter/word, (expression of language)
    • to controlling the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers (gross->fine motor engagement)
    • to then control how to manipulate the pencil to extend the mark as desired (behavior with fine-grained intent)
    • in a way that gives the child a way to concretely and durably indicate their intent to the world around them (communication)

    in a way that few activities do that are accessible to all children, especially during the early years of brain development.

    I'll also randomly throw in a plug for Levar Burton's Kickstarter [] which has some statistics on illiteracy in America. Doesn't have to do with handwriting, but if you can handwrite a full page of text, it would probably go a long way towards keeping you literate in the future.

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