PRESERVING THE ART OF HANDWRITING
KAREN G. MENDEZ
The advent of technology has gravely affected the art of handwriting or script as we call it. There is now the urgent call to preserve and sustain handwriting amid computers, PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones which makes children being parted from the womb than from the electronic extensions of their identity. It’s not a surprise. Homework, readings, news, chitchat, photos, research, music, videos— from the Web unwinds the spool of their wired lives.
Despite this, it’s not yet time to discard notebooks with paper which punctuate young students’learning more than we expect. Notebooks, with their leaves of paper, are the spaces where we learn how to write. Recent research has psychiatrists and neuroscientists asserting that writing by hand lets children read more quickly and communicate more expressively.
In an article, “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades,” Maria Konnikova of The New York Times reported that a study of children in grades two through five showed that those who composed text by hand produced more words and ideas than those typing on a keyboard.
In brain imaging, those with better handwriting showed greater activation of neural activity in areas associated with reading, writing and memory.
Other studies showed that, over tracing and printing letters, cursive writing has an edge, such as training self-control.
The scientific link between penmanship and communication is even more significant for public school students. While the situation sorely tests the students’endurance, not to mention legibility, the exercise with paper and pencil prepares them for a principle proven in laboratories and classrooms: writing by hand helps a person process a lecture and reframe it in his or her w or ds.
The New York Times article also noted that perfecting the art of penmanship in childhood benefits the adult’s skills in comprehension, encoding, reflection and memory.
Indeed, handwriting and learning helps a child think better, thus the need to preserve it as part of the educational process.
The author is Teacher II at Northville Elementary School