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How Handwriting can Improve Your Kid's IQ | Families

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How Handwriting can Improve Your Kid's IQ
Families, Schools
How Handwriting can Improve Your Kid's IQ

??B 4 u rd any further grab ur kid’s cell & hide it. (LOL). You may not have to resort to such dire tactics but an October 6, 2010 article in The Week titled,” How Writing by Hand Makes Kids Smarter” indicated that handwriting can improve your child’s IQ.

The article notes a study by University of Wisconsin psychologist Virginia Berninger, who found that writing activated sequential finger movements, which engaged short-term memory, thought and language sectors of the brain.

On a superficial level, those with excellent penmanship were also deemed smarter than those with illegible handwriting, according to Steve Graham, a professor of education at Vanderbilt University. He also noted that neatly written essays on standardized tests like the SAT merited higher scores as well.

On the flipside, technology has made it all too easy to become lax in constructing a sentence and even spelling a simple word. Many cellphones and computers now do the work for us.

Take heart. There are ways to refresh and hone the art of handwriting. Even better, it can actually be fun for kids. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Say thank you. The thank you note never goes out of style. In fact, according to a CareerBuilder “How to get in the Front Door” survey, 15% of managers said they would not hire someone who had failed to send a thank you note. Although 32% would still consider a candidate who did not send a thank you note, they indicated that they would think less of him or her. Get the kids into the habit now, so it becomes automatic. Provide personalized stationery to make the task more pleasant. Even youngsters new to handwriting can practice with preprinted cards that allow them to personalize the note by writing in the blanks.

Stock up on fun writing utensils. Multi-colored pencils, scented markers and glitter pens add fun to the task of handwriting and also encourage creativity. Give them whimsical stickers to decorate their notes.

Document the family history.
Have them interview an older relative and write about it. Not only will it enhance handwriting skills but foster a closer relationship between your child and his/her relatives. Provide kids with notebooks or scrapbooks to record grandma or grandpa’s recollection of the Great Depression, raising children or historical events. Encourage kids to include photographs and other mementos.

Get a pen pal. Sure we’ve got Skype to communicate with those far away. However, we all still get a little flutter in our hearts when we find an actual letter in the mailbox. Nudge kids to explore other customs through a pen pal. They’ll improve their penmanship, make a friend and learn about another culture.

Send a postcard! Who doesn’t love to share their travel stories? What better way to get kids to write than by providing them with postcards from your latest trip? Have them jot down their favorite memory or attraction and mail it to a friend or relative. Another benefit: Limited space on the postcard will prompt them to choose their words carefully.

Bear your soul in a journal or diary. Like a tried-and-true friend, the journal or diary acts as a non-judgmental sounding board, allowing them to work through a problem, divulge their deepest desires or chronicle their day-to-day life. It helps reinforce handwriting skills and is a great reflective tool. Treat your child to a really beautiful journal or diary. A diary is a staple for many girls growing up. Encourage a boy to detail his observations about a trip or a special hobby in his journal.

Fly in the face of convention. Take an unconventional approach to the traditional practice sheets. Use sand, pudding or mud instead. Improving handwriting can be a hoot when chocolate pudding or colorful sand is your medium. Don smocks. Slap down some butcher paper and let the kids go crazy.

Even though this article is focused on helping children improve their handwriting skills, adults can benefit too. Who knows? You might end up having just as much fun as them.



Heidi Kallett is the CEO & President of The Dandelion Patch, a 15 year old fine stationery store with locations in Vienna and Reston, Virginia. Heidi is often recognized for her energy, dedication and leadership and she strongly believes that the true definition of success also includes playing a meaningful role in the community in which she lives.  To that end, Heidi is a community role model and has served/serves on many non-profit Boards. A transplanted Texan, Heidi has a degree in marketing from Texas Tech University. She and her husband, Joel, have two children. www.thedandelionpatch.com

Families, Schools