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4 Reasons Why Handwriting is Important for Children

Handwriting is a skill that will NOT be replaced by keyboards. While smartphones, tablets, smartboards and other touch screen devices are incredibly interactive, handwriting practice is essential for children’s learning and development.

Writing Helps Develop Fine Motor Skills

Every time we pick up a pen or pencil to write, we engage small muscles in our hand that are essential for our dexterity. Common children’s activities such as coloring, drawing and even playdough help to strengthen those hand muscles. Without early exposure, children may get quickly fatigued during drawing and writing activities in school and choose not to participate.

Reading and Writing ARE Interconnected

A study in 2008 found that children were better able to read letters if they practiced writing them[1]. A similar study done with brain imaging found that the region in our brains responsible for recognizing letters is extremely active while writing. This means that writing by hand has a direct effect on the development of reading skills![2]

Handwriting Influences School Performance

Even with technology being integrated into classrooms, activities that require pencils, markers and crayons take up a large part of a child’s school day. If a child is focusing too much on holding a pencil and forming letters, they may not focus on the subject of their writing[3]. Unfortunately, decreased legibility of handwritten text can affect a teacher’s perception on that child’s work[4]. With handwriting as the primary method of participation and demonstrating school-based knowledge, it is certainly an important skill.

Ideas are Born From Handwriting

Expressing ourselves on paper is a way to express our minds in very tangible way. Children who can write, draw, color and paint have a medium to express themselves and easily share with others. Writing is not only intrinsically valuable, but allows for sharing, collaboration and the development of social skills. Our ability to write by hand allows us to bring our most powerful ideas into the real world!


[1] Longcamp, Marieke, et al. “Learning through Hand- or Typewriting Influences Visual Recognition of New Graphic Shapes: Behavioral and Functional Imaging Evidence.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 20, no. 5, 2008, pp. 802–815., doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20504.

[2] Kersey, Alyssa J., and Karin H. James. “Brain Activation Patterns Resulting from Learning Letter Forms through Active Self-Production and Passive Observation in Young Children.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 4, 2013, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00567.

[3] Case-Smith, J. (2002). Effectiveness of school-based occupational therapy intervention on handwriting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56, 17–25.

[4] Cahill, S. M. (2009). Where does handwriting fit in? Intervention in School and Clinic, 44, 223–228.

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