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The Many Health Perks of Good Handwriting - featured June 20, 2011

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[Source: The Los Angleles Times]

Children are texting, tapping and typing on keyboards more than ever, leaving less time to master that old-fashioned skill known as handwriting.

So will the three "T's" replace a building block of education? It's not likely. The benefits of gripping and moving a pen or pencil reach beyond communication. Emerging research shows that handwriting increases brain activity, hones fine motor skills, and can predict a child's academic success in ways that keyboarding can't.

"For children, handwriting is extremely important. Not how well they do it, but that they do it and practice it," said Karin Harman James, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University. "Typing does not do the same thing."

Here's how handwriting makes its mark:

Handwriting can change how children learn and their brains develop. IU researchers used neuroimaging scans to measure brain activation in preliterate preschool children who were shown letters. One group of children then practiced printing letters; the other children practiced seeing and saying the letters. After four weeks of training, the kids who practiced writing showed brain activation similar to an adult's, said James, the study's lead researcher. The printing practice also improved letter recognition, which is the No. 1 predictor of reading ability at age 5.

Read the Rest of this Article on the Los Angeles Times Website

Tags: Article Handwriting OT Newsletter 24 June 2011