New Year… New Ideas: Get Those Kids Writing

pens-868398_960_720National Handwriting Day is coming up on January 23, 2016. Did you know that seventy-five percent of American students in grades 4 – 12 are writing below grade level?

Handwriting Makes Us Smarter!

Research has shown that writing by hand benefits cognitive development, motor skills and can lead to improved writing skills and comprehension.[1]  University of Washington Psychologist Virginia Berninger concluded in a study on school-aged children that handwriting, both printing and cursive, and typing on a keyboard activated different brain patterns.  Children who wrote by hand generated more ideas faster than those typing and also exhibited better working memory, which increased overall reading and writing abilities.

Importance of handwriting with children on National Handwriting Day in any of the following ways:

1.     Learn about the important written documents in history. Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.

2.     Read a book. It may not be writing, but it shows appreciation of writing. Some of the most noted authors prefer pen and paper to create their novels including J.K. Rowling, who drafted her famous Harry Potter series on napkins.

3.     Practice 15 minutes of handwriting each day. Experts recommend a minimum of 15 minutes of handwriting each day for students to experience the benefits of the skill.

4.     Start a diary or journal.  Keeping a diary or journal is a great way for children to write daily–sharing their innermost thoughts, dreams and fears on paper. University of Texas at Austin psychologist James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells and reduces stress. Not to mention it makes a great keepsake as they progress through life.

5.     Write a story or make a card.  Encourage children to get their creative juices flowing by writing a story or creating a card for someone. Several celebrated works started out as a mere idea.  Once you write it down, it brings it to life.

Get those kids WRITING!!!!