Our Northwest

Handwriting not obsolete, study suggests

Thursday, June 5, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

New studies indicate that legible handwriting is not a relic of the past. In fact, writing by hand helps kids learn more quickly, create ideas, and retain information.
   The New York Times reports that Indiana University research shows that when kids produce variable shapes while writing a given letter of the alphabet, the brain is trained to discern those variations as the same letter.
   Further study from the University of Washington shows that when kids grades 2 through 5 write text by hand, they express more ideas than when using a keyboard.
   And although adults can type more quickly and efficiently than when using longhand, that efficiency appears to shrink our ability to process new information. Psychologists at Princeton and UCLA report that students learn better when they take notes by hand than when using a keyboard.
   Those findings intrigue educators in Washington and Oregon, among the 44 states that have adopted Common Core Standards that promote legible handwriting only in kindergarten and first grade. Another facet of contention: the debate over the need to learn cursive writing.

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