Why Writing By Hand Is More Beneficial Than Typing

As more and more devices come out (think: laptops, iPhones, iPads, Surface Pros, etc.) it’s become much easier for us to spend our time type things out vs. writing them down by hand.

Sure, typing out your thoughts may be quicker than writing them and it might not give you a hand cramp, but there are also some proven benefits to the old-fashioned pen and paper.

1. It Can Improve Your Spelling Abilities

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Using a pen and paper means no auto-correct! In this study, first graders were given words to spell out: some by writing them down, and some by typing them. Those who wrote down the words consistently gave a better spelling performance than those who typed them on a computer.

2. It Can Improve Your Memory


This 2014 study conducted by Princeton University compared two note-taking techniques common in a college classroom: writing them via pen and paper, and typing them via laptop.

The results showed that those typing their notes performed worse on conceptual memory questions than those who wrote them by hand.

Another interesting point discovered in the study: Students who used a laptop were able to produce a higher amount of text in their notes, but still did not retain the information as easily as those who wrote by hand.

This is because their notes were transcribed more verbatim to the lecture vs. students who wrote by hand who would paraphrased the notes in their own words, allowing for more retention.

3. It Can Improve Brain Development

This 2012 study focused on children who have not yet learned to read by having some handwrite letters of the alphabet, and having other type or trace those same letters.

Researchers found that those who who hand-wrote the letters had neurons activated in the brain associated with reading; while those who typed or traced the letters did not.

The researchers suggest that having pre-literate children hand-write the letters over typing them is a pivotal technique for letter processing and therefore allows for successful reading.

4. It Can Allow For Faster, More Effective Writing

A 2009 study on 200+ second, fourth and sixth grade children with writing disabilities compared their writing performances while typing vs. writing with a pen.

Typing saw better results when the children were asked to write the alphabet; but writing with a pen allowed for better results in writing both complete sentences and essays.

“Children consistently did better writing with a pen when they wrote essays. They wrote more and they wrote faster,” said Virginia Berninger, head of the study, in a University of Washington press release.

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