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Beyond QWERTY: Why Teaching Handwriting to Kids is essential

In a day and age where smartphones and tablets have replaced pens, it is still essential for parents to teach handwriting to their kids. While handwriting plays a crucial role in literacy, it is a key skill which will help your child later in his/her life.
 
How handwriting helps a child in developing cognitive skills:
 
Handwriting requires practice. Once your child begins writing, he/she develops motor skills (holding the pencil/pen), memory to retain their flow of thoughts and learns to concentrate. It generally begins with scribbling and drawing and then moves onto forming letters and words. Thus, it is important for parents to encourage kids to scribble, draw or write whenever they show an interest by providing them necessary resources.
 
Reading and spelling achievement:
 
Handwriting eventually helps your kid develop a faster reading habit and learn spellings easily. For example: When children learn how to form the letter m, they can also be learning its sound. Attention to the linkages among handwriting, reading and spelling skills can help to reinforce early achievement in these areas.
 
The Science behind handwriting:
 

According to researchers, the myth that handwriting is just a motor skill is just plain wrong. We use motor parts of our brain, motor planning, motor control, but what’s very critical is a region of our brain where the visual and language come together, the fusiform gyrus, where visual stimuli actually become letters and written words. You have to see letters in “the mind’s eye” in order to produce them on the page, she said. Brain imaging shows that the activation of this region is different in children who are having trouble with handwriting.
 
What you can do as a parent?
 
Provide your child with chunky/colourful crayons, chalk and a blackboard or a slate. Encourage your child to draw things that interest him/her. For instance: If she likes the trees, you could draw one and ask her to add leaves as dots on it. This will trigger their interest and help them concentrate. (Avoid giving sharp-tip pencil/pen/markers)

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