“Touchscreens and styluses are taking us back to handwriting. Our love affair with keyboards may not last.”Edouard Gentaz, professor of developmental psychology

From scribbling your name for the first time to completing your first book report, handwriting was a crucial skill you were taught in school. But in today’s digital age, is handwriting still relevant? The answer is a resounding yes! Handwriting is making a comeback in both education and the workplace and for good reason.


In this post, we will explore why handwriting is still an essential skill, the benefits of handwriting, and how it can give you a competitive edge in the classroom and the workplace. We’ll also take a look at some examples of successful individuals who prioritize handwriting in their daily lives and more!



Why Handwriting Is Still an Essential Skill


The importance of handwriting may have been overshadowed by technology in recent years, but it’s still a valuable and necessary skill with many benefits.

In fact, it turns out that psychologists and neuroscientists are now saying that there’s more to handwriting than just scribbling on paper and it can actually help with educational development in more ways than we thought.

Recent research suggests that the relationship between handwriting and overall educational development is significant. Studies show that children who learn to write by hand first not only develop reading skills faster but also retain information better and are better equipped to generate ideas.

Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris, explains that when we write, a distinct neural circuit is activated. Our brains simulate the gesture of handwriting, and there is an inherent recognition of the written word. In a study, researchers from Princeton and UCLA reported that handwriting improves composition and expression, and students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard.



The Benefits of Handwriting


Handwriting remains a fundamental aspect of our language and communication skills. Recent research has revealed that there are numerous benefits to writing. Here are some of them:






Development of Fine Motor Skills


Handwriting has been shown to help with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and motor planning skills, making it a crucial skill for children to develop in their formative years.


This helps improve their ability to control small movements, such as gripping a pencil or pen, and to perform tasks that require hand movements and coordination, such as tying shoelaces or using utensils to eat. So, improving handwriting skills can help with the development of overall fine motor skills.





Boosts Mental and Emotional State


Handwriting has been shown to help with mental well-being and have a calming and therapeutic effect, helping us to decompress and clear our minds.


Writing by hand has been found to activate different areas of the brain and promote relaxation, leading to reduced stress levels, anxiety, and depression, as it provides an outlet for our emotions and can help us process our thoughts and feelings.


The act of writing can also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can have a positive impact on mental health. That’s why it’s always recommended to write down your plans or thoughts.




Effective Memory Recall


Even though handwriting your notes can be a little more time-consuming, it has many benefits. Longhand notes allow for better short- and long-term memory recall because they contain your own words and handwriting. These can serve as effective memory cues by recreating the context and content from the original lecture or meeting.


When you write things out, you create spatial relations between each bit of information you’re recording. Handwriting activates parts of your brain involved in thinking and working memory and allows you to store and manage information. The movement associated with the pen and your hand can help you encode and retain information long-term.


Studies also support the fact that writing by hand helps with memory retention and cognitive skills, as it engages the brain in a way that typing does not.

In a study, researchers at the University of Washington tested the recall of 80 students who took notes with their laptops vs. students who took handwritten notes. The students who took handwritten notes had a better long-term memory of the concepts and a better grasp of them.


Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) studied students’ ability to comprehend information conveyed to them during a lecture by comparing those who took notes on laptops to those who wrote them out by hand.

They discovered that students who took longhand notes were better at answering questions about the lecture than those who typed up the notes over the course of three experiments.





Sharpened Critical Thinking


You’re more exposed to critical thinking when you write by hand than when you type. Handwriting allows you to think more thoroughly about the information you’re recording.


It also encourages you to expand upon your thoughts and form connections between them. This can be further enhanced by using different colored pens as a color-coding system to organize thoughts and form more connections.







Stronger Conceptual Understanding


When you write your notes by hand, you develop a stronger conceptual understanding than by typing. But what is conceptual understanding? Conceptual understanding indicates the level of comprehension and mastery that a writer has of a particular subject or topic.


According to research, when we write by hand, we process information more deeply and actively engage with it. Because we must physically form each letter and word while writing by hand, it requires more cognitive effort than typing.


This illustrates one of the other benefits of handwriting vs. typing. Handwriting forces your brain to mentally engage with the information, improving both literacy and reading comprehension.


On the other hand, typing encourages verbatim notes without giving much thought to the information. This mindless transcription can lead to a lack of meaningful understanding and application of the information, although you may be able to type more words quickly.




How Handwriting Can Give You a Competitive Edge


In today’s competitive education and job market, any edge you can get over your peers is crucial. That’s where handwriting comes in. Handwriting is a skill that can set you apart from others in a sea of digital communication. It can demonstrate your attention to detail, creativity, and thoughtfulness, all qualities that are highly sought after in both the classroom and the workplace.


Writing by hand forces you to slow down and pay closer attention to what you’re writing. This can help you focus and concentrate better, which is especially useful in situations where you need to stay focused for extended periods of time.


Handwritten notes can help you personalize your message, leave a lasting impression, and make it stand out from the majority of typed and printed messages.


Good handwriting is also considered a sign of professionalism and attention to detail in some professions, such as law. Handwriting that is neat and legible can help you communicate more effectively and present a more polished image to others.


Let’s take a look at some examples of successful individuals who prioritize handwriting in their daily lives:


Steve Jobs was well-known for his love of calligraphy and the aesthetically pleasing design of Apple products. His appreciation for beautiful typography and the meticulous attention to detail that he brought to his work was influenced by his handwriting.


J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, famously wrote the first draft of her manuscript by hand. This allowed her to take her time and think through her ideas before committing them to a digital format.


Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has also been known to take notes by hand during meetings. This allows him to stay engaged and present, while also creating a record of the meeting that is personal and unique to him.


Oprah Winfrey has spoken publicly about her love of journaling and the therapeutic benefits she derives from handwriting. Handwriting can help with self-reflection, mindfulness, and emotional release, which could be why Oprah prioritizes it.




The Cascade of Calls for Cursive Curriculum


It’s not just simple handwriting, but also cursive writing that has positive effects. No wonder some states in the US are bringing back cursive writing in schools since more and more studies have shown that handwriting has amazing cognitive benefits.


Last year, both Alabama and Louisiana made it mandatory for public schools to teach cursive, and New York City’s school system even officially encouraged it for third graders. And it’s not just those states – Kentucky, Ohio, and Florida are all looking at requiring cursive as well.


In fact, according to the Education Commission of the States, at least five states have passed legislation requiring cursive in just the last four years. It’s pretty wild to think that something as old-school as handwriting is making a comeback in our tech-obsessed world.


According to one Indiana University study, cursive handwriting forces children to use more of their brains and sharpens aging minds. The benefits of cursive writing even extend potentially to helping you find inner peace: Dr. Marc Seifer, a handwriting expert who wrote The Definitive Book of Handwriting Analysis, reports that handwriting consistently has a calming effect. That may be one part of why people keep journals.





Combining Tradition with Technology


The digital age has not diminished the significance of handwriting but rather expanded its potential. Many devices now include pens and styluses, allowing us to write on our devices in a more natural and intuitive manner.


This has created a new level of flexibility for those who prefer to write by hand, but also want the convenience of digital tools with the personal touch of handwriting so, essentially it’s the best of both worlds!


Digital handwriting tools have made it a lot easier to learn and practice handwriting and that’s where Writey comes in! Writey is a prime example of how to bridge the gap between pen and keyboard. So why settle for one or the other when you can have it all? with features like lined paper and customizable writing tools, and training lessons, you can practice your handwriting on the go and at your convenience, without the need for traditional pen and paper and all the clutter and paper waste that comes with it.


Handwriting has been shown to have many benefits for children and adults alike. It’s an essential skill that should not be overlooked in the digital age. While it may be tempting to rely solely on the keyboard of your device, the next time you reach for your keyboard, consider picking up its pen instead and unlock your mind and body’s higher potential.