In today’s digital age, some parents mistakenly believe handwriting is no longer important. However, many researchers believe cursive writing is important for learning and cognitive development. There is a significant difference in the effect on the brain when writing letters by hand versus typing the same letters on a keyboard.
Dr. William R. Klemm, PhD., a senior professor of Neuroscience, said in an article for Psychology Today, “In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of the brain become co-activated during the learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice.”
Forming letters by hand using a pen or pencil is cognitively different than pushing a letter on a keyboard. There are multiple processes happening concurrently: the memory of the letter, the visual cue of the letter’s shape, and the movement of the hand.
In an age driven by electronic devices, every child needs to learn keyboarding skills, but the benefits of handwriting are clearly important as well. Cursive writing is challenging to learn, but it encourages concentration, hand-eye coordination, and memory, all of which are important to child development.
Cursive writing has similar brain development benefits as learning to play a musical instrument. “Not everybody can afford music lessons, but everybody has access to a pencil and paper,“ said Dr. Klemm.