Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read

Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read

Handwriting helps people learn reading skills surprisingly faster and significantly better than learning the same material through typing or watching videos, a new study shows.

Though writing by hand is increasingly being eclipsed by the ease of using computers, the new study suggests we shouldn’t be so quick to throw away the pencils and paper.

“…even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there.”

“The question out there for parents and educators is why should our kids spend any time doing handwriting,” says Brenda Rapp, a professor of cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University and senior author of the paper in the journal Psychological Science. “Obviously, you’re going to be a better hand-writer if you practice it. But since people are handwriting less then maybe who cares?

“The real question is: Are there other benefits to handwriting that have to do with reading and spelling and understanding? We find there most definitely are.”

Write it down

Rapp and lead author Robert Wiley, a former Johns Hopkins University PhD student who is now a professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, conducted an experiment in which 42 people were taught the Arabic alphabet, split into three groups of learners: writers, typers, and video watchers.

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

The video group got an on-screen flash of a letter and had to say if it was the same letter they’d just seen. The typers would have to find the letter on the keyboard. The writers had to copy the letter with pen and paper.

At the end, after as many as six sessions, everyone could recognize the letters and made few mistakes when tested. But the writing group reached this level of proficiency faster than the other groups—a few 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, they could all recognize the letters, but could anyone really use them like a pro, by writing with them, using them to spell new words, and using them to read unfamiliar words?

The writing group was better—decisively—in all of those things.

“The main lesson is that even though they were all good at recognizing letters, the writing training was the best at every other measure. And they required less time to get there,” Wiley says.

Handwriting goes beyond penmanship

The writing group ended up with more of the skills needed for expert adult-level reading and spelling. Wiley and Rapp say it’s because handwriting reinforces the visual and aural lessons. The advantage has nothing to do with penmanship—it’s that the simple act of writing by hand provides a perceptual-motor experience that unifies what is being learned about the letters (their shapes, their sounds, and their motor plans), which in turn creates richer knowledge and fuller, true learning, the team says.

“With writing, you’re getting a stronger representation in your mind that lets you scaffold toward these other types of tasks that don’t in any way involve handwriting,” Wiley says.

Although the participants in the study were adults, Wiley and Rapp expect they’d 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, and teaching cursive handwriting is all but extinct.

The findings also suggest that adults trying to learn a language with a different alphabet should supplement what they’re learning through apps or tapes with good old-fashioned paperwork.

Wiley, for one, is making sure the kids in his life are stocked up on writing supplies.

“I have three nieces and a nephew right now and my siblings ask me should we get them crayons and pens? I say yes, let them just play with the letters and start writing them and write them all the time. I bought them all finger paint for Christmas and told them let’s do letters.”

Source: 

The post Writing letters by hand is the best way to learn to read appeared first on Futurity.

 

About The Author

Jill Rosen, Johns Hopkins University

This article originally appeared on Futurity

 


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

full moon over Stonehenge
Horoscope Current Week: September 20 - 26, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
a swimmer in large expanse of water
Joy and Resilience: A Conscious Antidote to Stress
by Nancy Windheart
We know that we're in a great time of transition, of birthing a new way of being, living, and…
five closed doors, one pained yellow, the others white
Where Do We Go From Here?
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Life can be confusing. There are so many things going on, so many choices presented to us. Even a…
Inspiration or Motivation: Which Works Best?
Inspiration or Motivation: Which Comes First?
by Alan Cohen
People who are enthusiastic about a goal find ways to achieve it and they do not need to be goaded…
photo silhouette of mountain climber using a pick to secure himself
Allow The Fear, Transform It, Move Through It, and Understand It
by Lawrence Doochin
Fear feels crappy. There is no way around that. But most of us don't respond to our fear in a…
woman sitting at her desk looking worried
My Prescription for Anxiety and Worry
by Jude Bijou
We’re a society that likes to worry. Worrying is so prevalent, it almost feels socially acceptable.…
curving road in New Zealand
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
Life consists of choices... some are "good" choices, and others not so good. However every choice…
man standing on a dock shining a flashlight into the sky
Blessing for Spiritual Seekers and for People Suffering from Depression
by Pierre Pradervand
There is such a need in the world today of the most tender and immense compassion and deeper, more…
hamburger, french fries, and beer
The High Price of Eating Out -- For Our Health and Environment
by Vatsala Sperling
A city-based lifestyle promotes a phenomenon called “eating out.” People eat out for various…
Can We Ever Be ‘Too Much’?
Can We Ever Be ‘Too Much’?
by Barry Vissell
One morning, all of us in the group revisited our childhoods to more closely examine those things…
Connecting with Truths about What’s Really True for You
Connecting with Truths about What’s Really True for You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
Many times, after hearing a client’s predicament, I ask them, “What’s really true for you about…

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Taking A Step Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
Stepping Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
by John Ptacek
We spend our lives immersed in a flood of thoughts, unaware that another dimension of consciousness…
image of the planet Jupiter on the skyline of a rocky ocean shore
Is Jupiter a Planet of Hope or a Planet of Discontent?
by Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green
In the American dream as it's currently dished up, we try to do two things: make money and lose…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.