Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades



A very interesting article was featured in the 6/3/14 edition of the New York Times, ScienceTimes section, “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.”

According to some educational policy makers–not very much. Teaching “legible” handwriting is now required in most states only in kindergarten and first grade.  By second grade emphasis shifts to keyboard proficiency.

Not everyone agrees that eliminating handwriting from elementary school curriculum is the right thing to do.

In a study that followed children in grades two through five, Dr. Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at the University of Washington, demonstrated that printing, cursive writing, and typing on a keyboard are all associated with distinct and separate brain functions.

“When children composed by hand,” the article reports, “they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas.”

Not every expert is convinced about the long-term benefits of handwriting. “With handwriting, the very act of putting it down forces you to focus on what’s important,” said Paul Bloom, a Yale psychologist.  “Maybe it helps you to think better.”

What’s your experience? Do you “think better” when you write it down vs. type it on a keyboard?


3 thoughts on “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

  1. Handwriting is becoming a lost art.

    I love receiving handwritten correspondence: it says a lot about the person who took the time to sit, focus and write vs. typing. The pen they choose , the paper or card that they select is personal.

  2. Handwriting over typing. Typing is faster but something about writing it out helps the thought process and memory of the subject matter.

  3. If I need to remember something, I have to write it down. If I type notes, I can’t remember them at all – until I write them out by hand. The only time that typing comes in useful is when I have to type what is being said – I type faster than I legibly write these days, so if I just need volume, then typing is useful. Retention, on the other hand, means I have to physically write it. The information is internalized better when I write.

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