Why handwriting matters
Handwriting is vital in developing a number of human aptitudes, including attention, concentration, memory, organization and methodology. Writing is a precursor for learning; without the essential psychomotor development associated with writing, children will be less able to absorb lesson subjects and material.
First of all, writing helps to develop children's cognitive faculties
During childhood, billions of synaptic connections are formed in the brain and handwriting - like play or handling objects - stimulates cerebral activity and the development of these connections.
Learning to write well is also an essential stage in the psychomotor development of children
Writing helps to co-ordinate muscular movements and promotes dexterity, especially fine motor control - the co-ordination of arms, hands or fingers to make small or intricate movements. Some experts have also linked writing skills with the ability to open a box or tie a shoelace.
When mastered, writing becomes an automatic process; children can concentrate on their work, without worrying about how to form letters.
Helping recognition and remembering
Tests at schools and among adults show that words learnt while handwriting are often spelt better than those learnt on a computer. Cursive handwriting helps the student to remember and visualize characters better. Writing increases the attention given to information, allowing our brains to better evaluate and organize the data received, which more efficiently cements ideas and concepts in the mind, meaning we remember them more easily.
Handwriting and reading: two interdependent skills
Both skills are inseparable, as they are the outcome of the mental process that involves the coding and decoding of information in the brain.
Not learning how to write properly can impact upon a child’s ability to read, creating difficulties in the understanding of the text as a whole, the context of the words and phrases as well as the spelling of the words in the text. Also, problems with writing, or the lack of automatic control, may hold the child back, and affect note-taking skills, which can lead to concentration problems.
Bad habits are hard to lose, so it’s important to learn how to write properly from the very start. Good writing tools can be great source of motivation to help engage children in writing. Getting children involved in writing can encourage correct handwriting skills, such as asking them to write your weekly shopping list, writing a Christmas or birthday wish list or simply by signing drawings with their name.
Text reviewed by David Boisdevesys, BIC Product designer and Ergonomist, and Philippe Kotska, psychomotrician.