Why Handwriting is More Beneficial than Typing Alone

If you think having your children trade in their paper and pencils for their computer keyboard, think again. Handwriting is a skill that is just as important as it was generations ago, and if children are not learning this valuable skill, they are missing out on the essential developmental process. It requires more brain power to write with one hand than it does typing out letters on a keyword with two hands.

There are three brain processes involved that makes writing more complicated. These processes include:

  • Visual. Your child’s ability to actually see the written word in front of them on paper.
  • Motor. Your child’s ability to use their fine motor skills to turn letters into words using a pencil and paper.
  • Cognitive. Your child’s ability to remember the shapes of each letter which uses different types of brain feedback.

According to University of Stavanger Reading Centre’s Associate professor, Anne Mangen, reading and writing involves numerous senses. As your child writes by hand, her brain gets feedback from the motor actions they are making, combined with the sensation of touching a piece of paper and pencil. Feedback like this is substantially different than the type they get from simply touching and typing on their keyboard.

Although it is not argued that technology use in the classroom does produce outstanding results, t it is far better to stick with pencil and paper for note-taking. In fact, based on a study published in Psychological Science, students process information more deeply when they take longhand notes, rather than using a laptop and typing out their notes. Researchers state in this study called “The Pen Is Mightier than the Keyboard,” that students produce more raw notes when they use pencil and paper.

When answering conceptual questions regarding the material, students do worse when they use laptops instead of taking longhand notes. When using laptops, the students tend to write exactly what they hear instead of actually processing the information. This ends up in a type of ‘shallower’ learning experience, the researchers say.

Pencil and paper handwriting offers benefits to brain development much like the benefits you get when you learn how to play a musical instrument. Now, not everyone has the budget for musical lessons, however, they do have easy access to paper and pencil.

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