Why Handwriting is More Important Than Ever

Written by Alice Kniss on March 27th, 2024

In an age of keyboards, touchscreens, and voice-to-text, handwriting is more important than ever. Handwriting gives an avenue for thought not provided by any other form of communication with the writer himself often being the first recipient of that communication. And while carefully crafted emails are an effective means of communication, carefully crafted, handwritten letters, cards, and notes connect us to others at a deeper, more human level and denote intentionality.  

Both cognitive development and habit formation are enhanced by learning and using the skill of writing by hand. Many studies, including one recently released from the Norwegian University of Science show “connectivity between different brain areas increased substantially when writing by hand.” Highlights of learning handwriting include:   

  • Brain connectivity patterns are far more elaborate when writing by hand than when typewriting on a keyboard. 

  • Research indicates, “Widespread brain connectivity is known to be crucial for memory formation and for encoding new information, and therefore is beneficial for learning.” 

  • Forming letters by hand is a complex skill that challenges the young brain. Learning to form letters accurately and well helps develop good learning habits of observation, attention to detail, and diligence. 

  • Students who learn to form letters accurately and well in the younger grades have better composition and literary skills as they progress through school. 

  • As students develop automaticity in handwriting, they are better able to develop ideas and express their thoughts when completing writing assignments. 

  • When students can think and write in syllables without prompting, they move from manuscript to cursive to further brain development, fine motor skills, and comprehension of the alphabet. 

  • While cursive is not the magic bullet for learning differences, its use is widely recommended by therapists and special education professionals. 

  • Students with learning differences, such as dyslexia, readily identify distinctions not easily recognized in print letters and often become better writers with use of the cursive alphabet.   

  • Handwriting is an important element of Providence’s research-based reading program that begins in pre-k. The “see, say, hear, and do” approach builds strong brain synapses leading to more long-term retention of information. 

We believe encouraging neat and legible handwriting gives weight to the importance of the written word and is a tool for teaching truth and beauty. Students are not expected to have perfect handwriting, but each one is encouraged as an image bearer to do his or her absolute best with the ability God has given them.