In honor of National Handwriting Day, I thought I would dedicate a post to an issue that occupational therapists frequently dedicate much of their time to – handwriting.
Handwriting is a complex process of managing written language by coordinating the eyes, arms, hands, pencil grip, letter formation, and body posture. The development of a child’s handwriting can provide clues to developmental problems that could hinder a child’s learning because teachers depend on written work to measure how well a child is learning.
Some would say in this age of technology and a time where computers are frequently available why is handwriting still important?
Did you know?
- Even in the age of technology, handwriting remains that primary tool of communication and knowledge assessment for students in the classroom.
- In our society, handwriting is both a means of communication and a necessary life skill, as in writing a letter or telephone message, completing an application form, or writing a check.
- Kindergarten students spend 42% of their time on paper and pencil activities (Marr, Cermak, Cohn& Henderson, 2003)
- A study by Vanderbilt University Professor Steve Graham finds that a majority of primary school teachers believe that students with fluid hand writing produced written assignments that were superior in quality and quantity and resulted in higher grades.
- Children with poor handwriting skills will also have difficulty in other academic areas. Illegible handwriting can create a barrier to accomplishing other higher-order skills such as spelling and story composition. (Graham & Harris, 2005).
- Experts claim that illegible handwriting has secondary effects on school achievement and self-esteem (Engel-Yeger, Nagakur – Yanuv & Rosenblum, 2009)
- Studies at the University of Washington have found that handwriting stimulates cognitive regions in the brain and that second, fourth, and sixth graders expressed themselves more quickly in handwriting and had more ideas than children who used a keyboard.
- Studies have shown that adults taught a new, invented alphabet by copying the letters by hand remember it better than those who learn it on a keyboard—and that areas in their brains that oversee language comprehension, motor-related processes and gestures associated with speech show more activity.
- Schoolchildren who write essays in cursive produce longer work, perform faster and express more ideas than those composing on keyboards.
- A 2009 study stating that, due to technology overuse, one-third of children entering school are developmentally delayed.
The last thing children need is to spend more time in front of screens. Learning handwriting improves motor skill development and strength.
Learn more about our variety of program options for handwriting HERE.