How to help Students Practice Handwriting in a High Tech World

In our modern age, technology has manifested itself in nearly everything we do. The practice of handwriting has been no exception. With word processing applications like Microsoft Word on the computer to digitalized keypads on our phones replacing hand-written text, handwriting is quickly becoming a lost art form amongst the new generation.

According to Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, the sequential stokes taken in handwriting instigate activity in areas of the brain used towards thinking, language and storing information. Moreover, tests showed students in grades two, four and six writing essays were able to write faster and express more ideas by hand than using a keyboard. As a result, depriving your students this skill is a step backwards in their intellectual development and road towards academic success in the future. Here are some easy ways of helping your students/children learn handwriting in today’s high tech world:

Smartphone/Tablet Apps: Can’t beat em? join em. The same goes for teaching students handwriting skills in the wake of word processing technology. Smartphone apps take advantage of the gadgets available in today’s day and age to offer kid friendly applications that engage students through interactive learning. Here are a few recommendations:

ABC Print Big Trace HD Free Lite, ABC Cursive Writing HD Free Lite, and Big Numbers Trace HD Free Lite are a combination of cost-free applications that teach students to correctly write out letters and numbers through stroke guidance animation and templates. It provides children with a great visual and audio experience as well as a learning one.

Apps such as ABC Phonics (Free) and Read&Write Letters, Sound and Combination ($1.99) instruct students to trace words of illustrations to enhance spelling and motor skills as well as improve handwriting.

Letter School ($3.99 available for the iphone, ipad and ipod touch) offers a musical introduction and simple games corresponding with each letter learnt.

Websites/internet resources: Don’t own a smartphone? No problem. The internet offers a variety of resources to help students practice legibility, letter size and speed. This includes http://www.first-school.ws/theme/handwriting.htm which offers printable handwriting templates for letters/words and provides other fun activities to practice letter execution.

Books: The traditional method of teaching students handwriting is through instructional workbooks available at your local bookstore. For a list of popular workbook material, check out Amazon.com’s bestsellers in children’s handwriting books here. For older students or adults, “Fix It…Write” by Nan Jay Barchowsky offers extensive practice through a collection of loose leaf sheets to build on legibility and speed (also available on Amazon).

Though mankind may be moving towards a digitalized world, handwriting need not be sacrificed. It is an invaluable tool in the academic and working world which may be enhanced through the use of fun, interactive resources modern technology has to offer. By taking advantage of just the few posted above, you’ll be on your way to ensuring students set-aside word processing technology to embrace this timeless skill.