Do the Write Thing!

by Andra Bell

It may seem that writing by hand is merely a simple physical movement, however it has been shown to be directly related to improving many skills in reading, writing, and thinking:
• Letter recognition
• Reading comprehension
• Decoding
• Spelling
• Oral language
• Attention

What is the advantage for our youngest learners? Handwriting is more than a motor skill; it is also a cognitive skill that engages the language systems in our brain. “…handwriting in the earliest grades is linked to basic reading and spelling achievement; for example, when children learn how to form the letter m, they can also be learning its sound. Attention to the linkages among handwriting, reading, and spelling skills can help to reinforce early achievement across these areas (Spear-Swerling, 2006).

Handwriting is a critical foundational skill. When letter formation is automatic and fluent, the brain has more energy to spend on advanced aspects of writing: content, elaboration of details and organization. “Students’ sentence-writing skills, the amount they write, and the quality of their writing all improve along with their handwriting” (Graham, 2010).

What about adult learners? Writing by hand has been found to benefit older students. Results of a study reported in Psychological Science looked at taking notes on a laptop vs. note-taking with pen and paper. Findings suggested students who took notes by hand performed much better on conceptual questions as well as retention of information a week later. For additional information on the study, please see link below.

Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?

For a collection of resources on writing,

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