Key Research

The Effects of Handwriting Experience on Literacy Learning

Key Takeaways:

  • Given the rise of type on screens (both in reading and writing) and lack of handwriting (script), questions about the time and resources that should be spent on teaching handwriting have arisen
  • Results clearly show that handwriting compared with nonmotor practice (e.g. keyboard) produces faster learning and greater generalization to untrained tasks (such as character recognition and meaning) than previously reported
  • Only handwriting practice leads to learning of both motor (how to make) and amodal (seeing the whole despite obstruction) symbolic letter representations
  • Behavioral benefits of handwriting may arise not only from incidental factors (e.g., greater attention or more time on task for handwriting vs. nonmotor conditions) but also more fundamental ones—in particular, benefits arising from feedback from the visual output of the motor acts 
  • Benefits of handwriting extend to other skills, such as letter recognition, categorization, and retention

Topics: Cognitive Development , Handwriting

Year: 2021

Participants:  42 adult participants with no previous knowledge of Arabic learned 20 letters of that alphabet; each assigned to one of three learning conditions: typing, visual, or writing