My-wife-the-shrink has always maintained that journaling and other handwritten work sticks with us longer, and accesses more memories and deeper thoughts than working on a keyboard. My own efforts at journaling, which I’ve done for more than fifty years, bear that out. When I’ve tried to keep electronic journals I’ve been more prolific, but they tend to be more superficial and I tire of keeping them. The satisfaction of handwriting in a book, however, continues to charm and inform me.
Now studies of children utilizing brain imaging technology bear out that theory. In addition, it turns out that keyboarding, cursive writing, and printing each activate different portions of the brain, with cursive having the most effect. Given the learning and other cognitive disabilities associated with addiction, particularly in those who begin to use at an early age, this could be applicable to rehabilitation.
This is a fascinating article, and a good argument for keeping cursive in the curriculum despite the supposed advantages of teaching printing only.
Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.
When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas.