Handwriting & the brain’s ‘reading circuit’ – a vital link!

Does handwriting, typing or tracing letters form a better memory for learning them?

Let’s see what this research article has to say on the effects of handwriting on functional brain development in pre-literate children……

“In an age of increasing technology, the possibility that typing on a keyboard will replace handwriting raises questions about the future usefulness of handwriting skills. Here we present evidence that brain activation during letter perception is influenced in different, important ways by previous handwriting of letters versus previous typing or tracing of those same letters.”

In conclusion…

“Overall, the results of this study support the hypothesis that after self-generated printing experience, letter perception in the young child recruits components of the reading systems in the brain more than other forms of sensori-motor practice.” (like typing or tracing).

James KH, Engelhardt L. The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children. Trends Neurosci Educ. 2012 Dec;1(1):32-42

Read full article

Take homes…

Handwriting is an essential tool in the development of early literacy skills in children. It can help solidify important foundations for letter knowledge, required for competent and proficient reading and spelling abilities.

SO please encourage your emergent readers, writers and spellers to write, write, write and make it fun by allowing them to develop correctly formed letters with a variety of writing tools – pencil and paper, chalk, whiteboard, mega-sketch etc.

Of course, developing touch typing skills is essential too but not at the expense of the undeniable benefits for their working memory and learning capacity when producing handwritten text in the early years at school.

It truly has an impact for life on their overall literacy development, confidence and wellbeing.

Learn more about handwriting…

Check out my short online course ‘Handwriting Automaticity Matters.’

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