Importance of Learning to Write by Hand
“Handwriting is... an inspiring symbol of the unique power of the human voice.”
- August 23, 2019 article “Why cursive handwriting needs to make a schoolcomeback” by Hetty Roessingh in The Conversation
Creates a foundation for communication in general
Proficiency can lead to increased confidence, expression, and comprehension
Encourages the development of impulse control
Results in a script that is unique to the individual
Handwriting is a basic communication skill that can be expressed any time, any where. All you need is a surface and an instrument to make a mark on that surface. Just as fast food restaurants have not stopped us from the joy of preparing fresh meals and cars have not prevented us from the delightful experience of walking, the use of computers does not replace the benefits of learning and writing by hand.
The practice of penmanship creates a script that is unique to the individual. From notes, directions, grocery lists, greeting cards, and those moments of pure inspiration or passion to placing your signature on documents; it’s a skill everyone uses regardless of frequency. And it's a mark that is uniquely your own.
To be most useful, handwriting must be practiced until the student can easily, quickly, and legibly write what they want to say without focusing on how to construct and connect each letter.
Handwriting remediation specialists draw a correlation between the marked decrease in formal handwriting instruction and the rise in hyperactivity and lack of concentration in school children. The repetitive movement in penmanship class encouraged the development of impulse control and self-discipline–qualities beneficial to a student’s ability to do well in school. Hand and finger movements stimulate nerves that, in effect, exercise the brain and prepare it for learning.
Increased proficiency in handwriting leads to increased confidence. Recent studies have shown that students who are more skilled at handwriting perform better on tests, get better grades. Children who have difficulty forming letters will spend more time processing text before they can put their thoughts on paper. So practice isn’t so much about “making perfect” but about making handwriting automatic so the skill can support more advanced studies that come later.
And as students become more adept and acquire more experience in creating the physical shapes of their language, they also gain confidence in their ability to express themselves through writing. Perhaps our comfort in communicating with others begins at this fundamental level. Feeling more familiar, at ease, and confident in this basic form of communication will help prepare them for the variety of ways they'll need to communicate in the future.
They may later prefer a laptop but they’ll always be able to express a thought with a pen, pencil, crayon, a mud streaked window, or a stick in the sand – and in a style that is uniquely their own. Write On!