Handwriting helps people learn certain skills surprisingly faster

Handwriting helps people learn certain skills surprisingly faster

While handwriting is increasingly being overshadowed by typing (or even the dictaphone), perhaps we shouldn’t so happily do without this activity.

It is not only about enjoying the pendular movement of our pen or pen when writing, but writing letters by hand seems the best technique to learn to read .

Typewriters VS Handwriters

In a new study , 42 people were taught the Arabic alphabet, divided into three groups of students: writers, typewriters and video watchers.

Everyone learned the letters one at a time by watching videos of how they were written along with the names and sounds they heard . After being introduced to each letter, the three groups would try to learn what they just saw and heard in different ways.

The video group got a flash on the screen of a letter and had to say if it was the same letter they had just viewed. The typewriters would have to find the letter on the keyboard. The writers had to copy the letter with pencil and paper.

In the end, after up to six sessions, everyone was able to recognize the letters and made few mistakes when they were tested. But the writing group reached this level of proficiency faster than the other groups, some of them in just two sessions .

Next, the researchers wanted to determine to what extent, if at all, the groups could generalize this new knowledge. In other words, everyone could recognize the letters, but could someone really use them like a pro, writing with them, using them to spell new words, and using them to read unfamiliar words? Indeed, the group of writers was decisively better at all of those things .

According to the study authors, the advantage has nothing to do with calligraphy. The simple act of writing by hand provides a perceptual-motor experience that unifies what is learned about letters (their shapes, their sounds and their motor plans), which in turn creates richer knowledge and a more complete and true learning .

While the study participants were adults, the study authors hope to see the same results in children. The findings have implications for classrooms, where pencils and notebooks have taken a backseat in recent years to tablets and laptops.