Is Handwriting Now a Lost Art?

Handwriting, a method of writing achieved through the use of the hand and a writing instrument, is a fine motor skill that dates back to prehistoric times and has always been one of the most basic methods of communication.

Once upon a time, writing by hand was a conventional skill but now appears to be virtually being supplanted by keyboards and pointing devices. In modern times, writing by hand seems to be evolving more as a craft that people now cultivate as a means of personal expression instead of developing it for its usefulness.

Is Writing by Hand still Important?

As technology advances, typing on a keyboard or tapping on a touch screen seems to be moving in as the norm in place of handwriting. This trend is raising questions from research professionals, mostly those involved in neurological studies.

There is evidence that the way the human brain is activated is significantly different when the act of handwriting precedes the perception of letters. The regions of the brain involved in reading are activated after writing by hand is exercised, unlike when the same letters are typed or traced. Such findings indicate that handwriting may facilitate reading, especially among young children.

Visual-motor skills have been linked to academic achievement. Studies have found that developing a child’s fine motor skills early can be associated with writing success and improved reading and math proficiency. Studies have also found that writing benefits memory; learners retain information better when encountering new ideas through handwriting rather than by typing.

The act of handwriting helps us pace ourselves and engage fully with our own thought processes. Handwriting conveniently offers the “space” for our thoughts to form fully before setting them down to paper.

Handwriting mastery promotes fluidity and ease. This, in turn, aids learning. The ability to write effortlessly allows the mind to focus more on the topic being studied.

Handwriting Methods Still Relevant Today

Print Handwriting

Print writing, also known as block letters or printscript, is a Gothic style of writing in which the letters are not joined. In English-speaking territories, children are typically taught this first as the foundation of cursive writing.

Cursive Handwriting

Cursive writing, also known as script, is a penmanship style that employs a flowing style to writing, making it faster to accomplish, unlike with writing in block letters. Cursive writing is characteristically looped and connected and written with the infrequent lifting of the pen off the paper. Cursive writing is the simple form of calligraphy (which is more intricate).

Calligraphy

This is the practice of writing by hand typically done with the use of a broad-tipped pen or brush. This writing style has elements of both cursive and print in its spectrum. The “print” element lends calligraphy with the legibility that sacrifices the speed of writing. On the other hand, the “cursive” element in calligraphy is for speed at the price of legibility. Calligraphy is a very expressive, “artsy” form of writing. The term has Greek etymologies, derived from the words “kallos” (beauty) and “graphein” (to write). Written books from the 16th century were typically handwritten using calligraphy.

Shorthand

Also known as stenography (narrow, little, close writing), shorthand is a rapid writing system employing the method of collapsing words into individual strokes and glyphs. It utilizes abbreviations or symbols for letters, words, and phrases. While shorthand is now considered as being even more obsolete than handwriting itself, it is still somehow present in cursive calligraphy as single pen strokes for the short words such as “the,” “and,” and “of.”

Sometimes, shorthand is referred to as tachygraphy (or swift writing) or brachygraphy (or short writing). Because shorthand uses rapid, close, and small strokes, this is the preferred method of recording proceedings of legislative or legal nature as done by court reporters or for taking dictation in business correspondence as done by secretaries or office clerks. Likewise, shorthand has been used for plays, orations, diaries, and sermons over the centuries. Cicero recorded his orations in shorthand and Martin Luther King’s sermons; Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies were all preserved in shorthand, and George Bernard Shaw actually wrote his plays in shorthand.

These days, the term “handwriting” has come to more or less refer to the form of writing that is unique to each individual and not the act of recording information itself. We should all remember that writing by hand has been scientifically beneficial to the human mind, especially while young. Let us not allow this skill to vanish as a mere forgotten art form.

Meta title: The Benefits of Writing by Hand

Meta desc: Is writing by hand a skill that’s already lost in this digital age? Or is it an art that will endure forever? Find out why writing by hand is still important.

Read more: 7 Creative Tips To Write Better Web Content

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