10-second review: “Forming letters is key to learning, memory, ideas.”
Title: “How Handwriting Trains the Brain.” G Bounds. Wall Street Journal (October 5, 2010), Internet.
Quote: “Wendy Bounds discusses the fading art of handwriting, pointing out that new research shows it can benefit children’s motor skills and their ability to compose ideas and achieve goals throughout life.”
Quote: “Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.”
Quote: “Some physicians say handwriting could be a good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age.”
Quote: “Other research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Beringer, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key.”
Quote: “And one recent study…demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.”
Quote: “In high schools, where laptops are increasingly used, handwriting still matters. In the essay section of SAT college-entrance exams, scorers unable to read a student’s writing can assign that portion an ‘illegible’ score of 0.
Quote: “Even legible handwriting that’s messy can have its own ramifications, says Steve Graham, professor of education at Vanderbilt University. He cites several studies indicating that good handwriting can take a generic classroom test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad penmanship could tank it to the 16th. ‘There is a reader effect that is insidious,’ Dr. Graham says. ‘People judge the quality of your ideas based on your handwriting.’ ”
Comment: I learned long ago that when I do not know what I am going to say, I write by hand on legal-sized yellow paper. I wrote my entire 535-page book by hand and then transferred it to the word processor. Revision and editing are much easier using the word processor.
When I need to think and write, it is better by hand. Of course, I use printing by hand because my cursive writing in practically illegible. The only composing I do using the keyboard is with memos and other pieces of writing that do not require much thought. RayS.