11 Benefits of Handwriting for Children

Handwriting is a skill that can't be left untaught - discover the benefits it brings to children's development in today's article!
11 Benefits of Handwriting for Children
Ana Couñago

Written and verified by the psychologist Ana Couñago.

Last update: 02 May, 2023

Today’s children, like those of past generations, must learn the technique of handwriting, as the benefits of handwriting are innumerable when it comes to child development.

We live in the digital age, where almost every day, we use the keyboard of some electronic device to perform an internet search, write a document, fill out a form, etc. In short, to type. Typing has become an essential activity in today’s daily life, but we can’t forget about handwriting.

Keep reading and find out all about the benefits of handwriting!

“Writing is the painting of the voice.”

-François Marie Arouet Voltaire

A young girl leaning handwriting.

11 benefits of handwriting for children

The action of tracing letters on paper involves a multitude of skills and learning that are performed unconsciously and are beneficial to overall development. Below is a list of some of the most important benefits of handwriting.

1. Handwriting favors the acquisition of motor skills

In order to be able to write by hand correctly, it’s important to have a series of motor skills, such as the following:

The acquisition of such skills favors the development of fine psychomotor skills, that is, the ability to carry out small, coordinated, and precise movements.

“The objective of manual development is to achieve a good command of fine movements, prehension, and precision, for this, gross motor skills must have reached the optimal and necessary maturity that allows them to be perfected”.

– Bachelor of Science in Education María Pérez –

2. Improves concentration

Another one of the great benefits of handwriting is that it requires a high level of concentration. So when children pick up a paper and pencil to write, they’re forced to pay close attention to the task, avoiding spelling , writing, and lettering mistakes.

3. Boosts memory capacity

According to a study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology , when children and young people write manually, they show more brain activity than when they write on a keyboard. This type of writing helps them to retain and recall information more easily so that memory capacity is enhanced.

4. Facilitates learning to read

Writing and reading are closely related. So much so that learning and perfecting one of these skills benefits the development of the other.

When writing by hand, children have to think about each of the letters they want to reproduce and how to carry out the corresponding manual gesture. Thus, little by little and in a natural way, children become familiar with the letters of the alphabet, which makes them read them more quickly and efficiently.

5. Favors the comprehension and the development development

Through writing, the connection of ideas and modes of representation increases, i.e., it allows for greater conceptual associations for the explanation of ideas. That’s why children should be exposed to writing and drawing activities at school, as this allows them to establish neuronal oscillation patterns that are beneficial for learning.

6. Development of manual reason

The development of manual reason is basic from the evolutionary point of view and this occurs in children through play, crafts, drawing, and writing. Hence the importance of practicing manual writing.

This reason requires skillful and vitalistic thinking, which sends knowledge not to consciousness and matter but to a kind of reality that’s born and unfolds in the biological activity of the human being. In other words, in the hand that touches, rather than in the eye that sees.

7. Taking notes by hand helps conceptual performance

Students who take notes by hand respond better to questions than students who take digital notes. Writing by hand helps summarize and organize information and ensures better coding.

In other words, the use of paper facilitates, on a neurological level, association, i.e. the what and where of information in the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in encoding and memorization.

8. Stimulates brain circuits

Writing by hand is one of the most complex brain activities, modeling its influence on the development of personality, both cognitive and motor aspects, as we’ve already seen. When writing by hand, three areas are mainly stimulated: The fusiform gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the posterior parietal cortex.

“Like all cognitive activities, the tasks in which handwriting is involved-from writing letters, syllables, and words to productive writing-depend on good brain functioning.”

– Philosopher María Agustina Miranda and others –

9. Helps manage emotions

Handwriting is therapeutic, releases emotions, and relieves stress and anxiety. In fact, drawing and writing have been shown to help reduce anxiety levels in children.

10. It helps children to develop their skills in other activities such as playing, drawing, or coloring

Handwriting is a decisive aspect of fine motor skills and, as such, refers to the coordination of neurological, skeletal, and muscular functions. In fact, it involves the refinement and specificity of the control of gross movements, in terms of aiming, precision, or calculation.

Among the benefits of handwriting is the maturation of hand-eye coordination. This consists of the development of playful and artistic experiences that combine the action of four elements: The body, sight, hearing, and the movement of the body toward a goal.

11. It opens the way to professional success

Many professions are based on the value of knowledge and especially on the ability to organize, systematize, and process information. Handwriting consolidates the basis of these neurological and cognitive operations.

To a large extent, success will be related to the ability to manage learning, memorize, and establish flexible and creative connections, elements that the constant practice of handwriting facilitates, promotes, and enhances.

About the future of handwriting

It’s undeniable that new technologies are revolutionizing teaching. In fact, for years now, one of the key competencies in the educational curriculum has included digital competence, which involves teaching children, from the earliest years of schooling, to interact appropriately with information and communication technologies.

A young boy sitting at a table writing in a notebook.

One of the skills that children must acquire at school is knowing how to use a computer and, therefore, how to write on it with agility. But, to achieve this goal, they must first learn to write by hand and, once they acquire enough practice to trace the letters with ease, they’ll be introduced to the world of typing.

Thus, as Dr. Berninger explains, the aim is “to teach children to be hybrid writers,” so that they can cope with the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s society.

It’s clear that times have changed. Technological advances mean that there’s less and less handwriting, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a skill that has to disappear or be replaced altogether.

Handwriting is a human skill that can’t be lost. To avoid this, it’s important to teach this type of writing to children from early childhood and encourage its use in everyday life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Aimacaña, M., & Soledad, M. (2016). Motricidad fina en el proceso de la pre escritura en niños de 5 a 6 años en 1° de EGB de la Unidad Educativa Eloy Alfaro en la ciudad de Quito, Periodo 2014-2015 (Bachelor’s thesis, Quito: UCE).
  • Altay, N., Kilicarslan-Toruner, E., & Sari, Ç. (2017). The effect of drawing and writing technique on the anxiety level of children undergoing cancer treatment. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 28, 1-6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1462388917300686
  • Alstad, Z., Sanders, E., Abbott, R. D., Barnett, A. L., Henderson, S. E., Connelly, V. y Berninger, V. W. (2015). Modes of alphabet letter production during middle childhood and adolescence: Interrelationships with each other and other writing skills. Journal of writing research6(3), 199.
  • Arévalo Catalán, I. I. (2018). El futuro de la enseñanza de la escritura manual en la era tecnológica.
  • Franco Vargas, A. G., & Torres Mota, S. M. (2022). La motilidad ocular en el desarrollo de la escritura en niños de 5 a 6 años (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad de Guayaquil-Facultad de Filosofía, Letras y Ciencias de la Educación).
  • Hernández, J. D. O., Aguilar, E. J., & García, F. G. (2015). El hipocampo: neurogénesis y aprendizaje. Rev Med UV, 21-28.
  • Klass, P. (27 de junio de 2016). Why handwriting is still essential in the keyboard age. The New York Times. 
  • Klimenko, O. (2008). La creatividad como un desafío para la educación del siglo XXI: um desafío para a educação do século XXI. Educación y educadores, 11(2), 191-210.
  • Miranda, M. A., & Abusamra, V. (2014). Bases Neurales de la escritura: una revisión. In VI Congreso Internacional de Investigación y Práctica Profesional en Psicología XXI Jornadas de Investigación Décimo Encuentro de Investigadores en Psicología del MERCOSUR. Facultad de Psicología-Universidad de Buenos Aires.
  • Ose Askvik, E., Van der Weel, F. R., y Van der Meer, A. L. (2020). The Importance of Cursive Handwriting Over Typewriting for Learning in the Classroom: A High-Density EEG Study of 12-Year-Old Children and Young Adults. Frontiers in Psychology11, 1810.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.