One thing that turns the work of learning into play, is fun
The elements of proper handwriting are some of the first things a school-age child learns in a classroom setting. Even if they have been wielding a pencil, or crayon, for a couple of years, elementary teachers stress to their students the importance of proper technique for holding a pencil, letter formation, and writing posture. So what's the big deal? Why is it so important to consciously pay attention to where someone's fingers are on their writing utensils and how do items like pencil grips help develop a good handwriting technique? Let's answer those questions and more, starting with the benefits of mastering handwriting early on in life.
How Children Benefit from Proper Handwriting Technique
Fine Motor Skills, Dexterity, and Muscle Memory
One of the major benefits of writing by hand is that it improves a child's fine motor skills and the dexterity in their fingers, hands, and even arms. It can be amazing to watch a baby go from just being able to grip a rattle, to becoming a toddler who can work to fit plastic block shapes into their matching holes. Once they reach the age when they begin to write they have already come so far in their development of fine motor skills. It is important to continue practicing those skills because they play a role in everyday actions such as eating with utensils, brushing their own teeth, and dressing.
Dexterity can specifically relate to the skill or ease of using the hands when it comes to physical activities. Learning the proper handwriting techniques can greatly increase the rate at which dexterity is acquired because it makes the task of writing easier and lessens muscle fatigue.
Muscle memory allows the body to complete familiar activities with little to no conscious effort. The practice of handwriting can help a child retain muscle memory through repetition. It is also worth mentioning that learning proper handwriting plays a roll in the improvement of hand-eye-coordination, which is essential for fluid reading.
Better Mind Memory
When it comes to mind memory (different from muscle memory), it's best to get ahead of the game as much as possible and at a young age. Goodness knows as we grow older, our memory retention can decline. Writing by hand has been known to help preserve more information in the brain for longer periods of time versus typing out notes on a screen. While clicking away on a keyboard can be faster, putting a writing utensil to a notebook activates more areas of the brain that are used for reading and writing. In other words, handwriting gets the mind firing and thinking on all cylinders, and optimizes its function for critical thinking.
Improves Critical Thinking
Speaking of critical thinking, have you ever been in a situation in which you need to visualize something in detail, say, your monthly budget? Instead of sitting down at a computer, you pull out a pen and paper and begin to jot down the numbers and dates so that you can track them to find the solution you are looking for. That is a perfect example of how the mind works better to constructively think about a problem through the act of writing it down versus using technology to figure it out.
Additionally, the early habit of holding a pencil properly becomes a compounding effect on the ability to subconsciously focus on a physical act rather than allowing the mind to be distracted by all that the electronic world has to offer. For example, it is easy to be doing something that you consider productive on your iPhone when suddenly you find yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed instead. Sound familiar? Writing by hand doesn't allow those distractions to divert your attention. Instead, your mind can remain in an attentive and focused state.
Writing by hand prevents the reliance on modern-day applications such as spell check and auto-text for correct spelling and grammar. It forces the mind to work without the use of an aid, a similar concept to doing math without a calculator. Another example of this is learning a second language. If you took a class or classes in high school or college to learn a second language, but then stopped using it when those classes were finished, the knowledge you acquired can quickly be lost. The same goes for the skill of spelling. If it is being practiced through regular handwriting the information stays fresh, as opposed to typing in on a screen and letting the computer do the work for you.
Handwriting and Creativity
The handwriting connection to creativity often gets overlooked as we think about the importance of incorporating proper writing techniques over typing in the educational system. However, its influence on the creative mind and level at which the brain operates when writing certainly has a correlation to the imagination. If you think about it, handwriting could be considered an original form of art, since each person is unique to them. It can even be used as a type of identification through forensic science. It is that specific to the individual.
When writing by hand more parts of the brain are triggered than when transferring words onto a computer screen. Because it is a slower process than typing, it gives the brain more time to connect creatively with the words that are being written. The development of concepts and communication can, therefore, be more concise and well thought out. Ideas have longer to formulate and the writer is able to associate on a deeper level to what they are conveying.
The act of handwriting is also a calming activity. For instance, the habit of keeping a journal and regularly writing entries in it is a popular coping method. It is known to relieve stress and reduce anxiety. In essence, consistent handwriting can be considered a form of meditation. In fact, according to Forbes (2016) the same type of chemicals that are released during meditation are also released while writing by hand. Because it tends to clear the mind, it allows the individual to uninhibitedly focus on the creative process. This is likely why many writers still find it an easier and more natural way to construct an article or book chapter.
The Stepping Stone
Just as learning how to heat up a cup of water in the microwave can be the first step in acquiring more advanced cooking skills, writing by hand is the stepping stone, or gateway, to other avenues and methods of creativity. Some examples of these are expressive writing, drawing, sketching, painting, or music. Understanding the components of good handwriting and feeling secure in the skills required to write legibly and fluently can open doors to a world of imaginative and productive activities. So will practicing handwriting turn your kid into the next Picasso or Mozart? Maybe. Anything is possible. However, and more immediately, they will earn each of the benefits listed above and have a clear path to a creative mind that can lead them anywhere they want to go.
Proper Handwriting Mechanics with Pencil Grips
There are plenty of ways to teach the craft of writing. Certain aids are available to help with the process of learning the fundamentals. There are specialty writing utensils, writing exercises, workbooks, and applications that enhance instruction. However, the basic and most effective strategies are good ergonomics, proper body posture, and the use of pencil grips to assure proper placement of the fingers and hand.
What Does a Pencil Grip Do?
A specialized grip gives support to the hand and assures that a child's fingers are in the correct alignment on the pencil. A good way to think of it is by comparing it to the training wheels of a bike. The pencil grip is placed onto a preferred writing utensil and used just long enough to allow a child to learn their own writing technique. Once they have built their confidence in their abilities and the motion becomes more natural, the training wheels come off. Or, in the case of handwriting, the pencil grip comes off. When the correct hold is learned through the use of such aid, proper handwriting is like riding a bike. Every time a pencil is picked up its easy to remember how to use it.
The Brand Firesara Pencil Grips
Firesara takes pride in offering quality pencil grips to aid in the process of learning how to write by holding a pencil the correct way. Comfort is one notch in the key to creativity, which is why Firesara uses safe and flexible silicone for each design. It makes handwriting painless and reduces fatigue. When using Firesara pencil grips the child (or adult) can focus on the flow of writing rather than worrying about whether or not their mechanics are correct. With the non-slip surface, their fingers stay firmly in place allowing them to execute each line or stroke without having to readjust.
One thing that turns the work of learning into play, is fun. Which is why pencil grips from Firesara appeal to kids with their bright colors and entertaining characters, such as an elephant, or a puppy. Both through the development of proper handwriting skills and the shapes of their products, Firesara is encouraging creativity and provides a small stepping stone to bring its customers to it.