“You may not be able to read a doctor’s handwriting and prescription, but you’ll notice his bills are neatly typewritten.” — Earl Wilson.
Handwriting is both a modern-day and ancient tool of expressing language, that leaves a lasting trace after communication. National Handwriting Day encourages us to express our thoughts through penmanship.
While technology facilitates fast and efficient ways of communication across the world, there is still so much significance in writing down longhand. Writing with a pen\pencil on paper is an affectionate and patient practice. This method of writing allows the mind and the brain to resynchronize and slow down when processing information. On the other hand, it takes a short while to forget most of the words we type on text or computer or words we transmit through our voices in real-time.
Handwriting plays a crucial role in our lives and our children’s learning. But what does the National Handwriting Day entail, and what is its significance?
What is National Handwriting Day?
National Handwriting Day was established in 1977 by the Writing Manufacturers Association. The day celebrated on 23rd January encourages us to pen down our thoughts on paper as we explore the power and purity of handwriting. Handwriting Day is commemorated on John Hancock’s birthday since he was the first to sign an autograph on the Declaration of Independence. The autograph became very famous that people commonly use his name ‘John Hancock’ to mean ‘signature.’
• Just like our dress style and presentation say more about us, our handwriting expresses our self-image and personality.
• Handwriting is a tool for putting ideas into a paper: It is also a form of art that calls for high accuracy and neatness.
• It is sometimes called “language by hand” since it allows us to physically express our thoughts and ideas.
• We all have unique traits, unique fingerprints, and unique handwriting styles.
Reasons why Handwriting is Important for Learners
1. The Brain loves it!
Students hold more information when they write it down on paper than typing it on a keyboard. They also use their fine motor skills in a broader way when they use pen and paper than when they are typing on the keyboard. Through handwriting, learners also become more alert to what they are writing, and their Comprehension improves.
According to the Norwegian Center for Learning and Behavioral Research, reading handwritten text causes more brain activation than reading typed information. Learners also tend to remember more things when they read.
2. It Improves Fine Motor Skills
Handwriting challenges students to think more about what they are doing. Their thinking level improves because every alphabetical letter requires specific hand-eye coordination. The writing movements keep changing with handwriting, which is more involving and mentally demanding than typing. When your child makes unique handwriting strokes, they improve fine motor skills.
3. It Improves Learning and Memory
A child who takes notes with pen and paper can remember more information later than one who types the notes. On the other hand, handwriting notes aids in more recall and Comprehension, meaning that there is more power on pen and paper than on the keyboard. Research also indicates that students who write their notes are also good at conceptual questions than those that take notes on laptops.
Researchers further state that writing by hand is a physical activity that uses muscles and nerves in a complex manner. The complexity sends more sensory responses to the brain since the brain retains more memories as the feedback continues to get complex. This means that more complex handwriting gives more feedback to the brain than non-complex keyboard tapping.
4. Facilitates Cognitive Development
Handwriting equals brainpower. Printing and typing don’t offer similar benefits to students as cursive writing. However, teaching your child to handwrite is a vital tool for improving their cognitive skills. When your children constantly practice handwriting, they utilize their fine motor skills, improving their grasping and visual processing abilities. The physical use of a pen to scribble different letters and words on paper also enhances cognitive development and function.
5. Improves Confidence and Academic Performance
There is a direct link between good handwriting and good academic performance. Students who handwrite legibly and confidently tend to also perform better in their academics. Good handwriting should therefore be a goal of every student. On the other hand, good handwriting improves a child’s confidence in class and improves their memory, leading to better performance.
6. Handwriting Improves Creativity!
Handwriting can help your child to think out of the box. It prevents them from repeating the same thoughts when scribbling with a paper. Writing by hand allows the brain to make new observations and formulate new conclusions. The mind slows down when handwriting, causing new thoughts to stream from our deep conscious. Children assigned to write essays by hand are more expressive and creative than those that type.
7. It Relieves stress and Depression!
Handwriting slows down thoughts, increases calmness and boosts mindfulness. It improves the activity in the brain parts that increases meditation. The majority of your child’s frustration and anxiety come from unexpressed and chaotic thoughts that keep on looping in their mind. Writing down stressful thoughts and experiences causes more therapeutic benefits than typing them. Children also become more expressive and honest through handwriting their thoughts.
8. Improves Comprehension
Since handwriting is much slower than typing on a screen, students filter information and put it in their own words, which improves understanding. On the other hand, typing leads to more distractions and multitasking, which reduces focused concentration. As a result, students who use laptops in class find it hard to stay on task or concentrate for long. Internet browsing can, for example, shift kids’ concentration as they keep checking for new messages. They also learn to paraphrase and summarize notes and make quick diagrams of complicated concepts.
9. Improves Learner’s Prioritization Skills
It is easy to write pages and notes while typing on a laptop, which is impossible when writing by hand. Students naturally pick up main ideas in class and summarize long sentences into simple words when writings. This is because handwriting takes effort and more time. In addition, lIn addition, learners get to use points, sub-points, arrows, highlights or shorthand when taking notes, skills that highly improve their understanding of learning material.
10. Enhances Privacy.
Unlike typing, where information can easily land in the wrong hands or go ‘viral,’ handwriting is mostly done privately, safeguarding it from unauthorized personnel.
11. Facilitates Critical Thinking.
It is common for people to brainstorm when writing by hand than typing on a keyboard. This is because people think thoroughly about what they are doing and want to achieve since handwriting is slower.
12. Helps to Combat Dyslexia!
Writing by hand helps learners with dyslexia to improve their decoding process. In addition, it improves their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and memory functions. While handwriting is rare in modern education, it is still a powerful therapy for learners with dyslexia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the Founder of the National Handwriting Day?
The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) was incredibly instrumental in creating the National Handwriting day. The educators felt that people were slowly losing the art of handwriting and feared that it would wholly be overtaken by technology. While so many people did not understand or celebrate this day in the past, it is currently more prominent, and more people are participating in the day’s activities.
Why do we celebrate National Handwriting Day?
We celebrate National Handwriting Day to honor the significance of handwriting in our daily lives. We also celebrate the day as an honor to John Hancock, who became famous for his skillful penmanship and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
How can we celebrate National Handwriting Day?
1. Explore and research documents in the world that were handwritten, such as the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and wedding vows, among others.
2. Explore other people’s handwriting and figure out their characters by writing.
3. Begin the study of handwritings known as Graphologists study as a way of learning people’s mental and personal traits.
4. Teach your child or other people how to improve their handwriting.
5. Try different handwriting styles, such as ancient or 3D letters.
At a Glance:
- People who write down notes are articulate and selective in what they write. They are more organized and focused!
- Handwriting keeps the brain sharp! It engages the motor skills, the memory and the larger part of the brain.
- There are fewer distractions when writing by hand than typing on the phone or the computer.
- Handwriting can be therapeutic! Writing down thoughts and feelings can help people calm down and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Writing down goals can help to actualize them! It brings more clarity and accountability and acts as the best reminder.
- Handwriting combines motor skills, visual perception, and touch sensation, reinforcing the natural learning process.