I wage mortal combat each day with my 7-year-old over his handwriting. He doesn’t see the point of learning to have beautiful handwriting (or in his case properly formed letters that look like what they are supposed to be). He says to me , I won’t be hand writing things in the future. I will be typing them! (I said to him one time: what about love letters? No girl wants love letters typed. He said I won’t be writing any!)
I insist that he practices his handwriting daily and make up activities for him to do. He gets so angry, and it is literally is a constant fight. One day he got into trouble at school and his teacher was going to have him sit out and I said listen make him write about it. That way it’s punishment for him, and he gets to practice his handwriting. I’ve noticed other kids doing that now too.
A friend posted this article on Facebook, and now I have some scientific evidence to back up my reasons for making him practice his handwriting.
“ With the ubiquity of keyboards large and small, neither children nor adults need to write much of anything by hand. That’s a big problem, says Gwendolyn Bounds in The Wall Street Journal. Study after study suggests that handwriting is important for brain development and cognition — helping kids hone fine motor skills and learn to express and generate ideas. Yet the time devoted to teaching penmanship in most grade schools has shrunk to just one hour a week. Is it time to break out the legal pad? Here’s a look at how the brain and penmanship interact:”
“Writing by hand can get ideas out faster
University of Wisconsin psychologist Virginia Berninger tested students in grades 2, 4, and 6, and found that they not only wrote faster by hand than by keyboard — but also generated more ideas when composing essays in longhand. In other research, Berninger shows that the sequential finger movements required to write by hand activate brain regions involved with thought, language, and short-term memory.”
“Writing increases neural activity
A recent Indiana University study had one group of children practice printing letters by hand while a second group just looked at examples of A’s, B’s, and C’s. Then, both groups of kids entered a functional MRI (disguised as a “spaceship”) that scanned their brains as the researchers showed them letters. The neural activity in the first group was far more advanced and “adult-like,” researchers found.”
Need more reasons to convince your kids it’s worthwhile to practice their handwriting?
According to the article people with better handwriting are perceived as smarter!
“Several studies have shown that the same mediocre essay will score much higher if written with good penmanship and much lower if written out in poor handwriting, says Vanderbilt University education professor Steve Graham. ‘There is a reader effect that is insidious,’ he says. ‘People judge the quality of your ideas based on your handwriting.’ And the consequences are real: On standardized tests with handwritten sections, like the SAT, an essay deemed illegible gets a big zero.’ ”
I went through a similar situation with my oldest daughter. She didn’t fight me about writing but her handwriting was horrible when she was younger. Between second and third grade her handwriting improved dramatically and now her cursive is just beautiful.
I think I didn’t encourage enough writing (drawing, using markers, using scissors) with my older two when they were little as both of them have had bad handwriting. I think I focused more on reading to them and them learning their letters than I did on fine motor skills. We knew better by the time Lilina was born and I think her fine motor skills are much better than theirs were at this age.
I am encouraged that Walsh can improve his handwriting because already his spelling tests are coming back with better handwriting grades. And now I have more evidence when he argues.
What do you think: How is your kid’s handwriting? Is there not enough emphasis put on teaching good handwriting at school? What about at home? Did you see a correlation between the activities you did with them as preschoolers and what they were good at when they entered school? (IE My kids could read at 4 and have amazing vocabularies but did lack on fine motor skills.) What do you think of this evidence that writing is related to better thinking?