Brain Activation, Handwriting and Learning to Read
Did you know some research indicates that brain activation when identifying letters is influenced by previous handwriting of letters? Researchers at Indiana University have published several research articles on visual perceptual skills in children. One article that was published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education examined 15 preliterate, right handed children (ages 4.2-5 years old).During functional MRI scanning, each child was shown a letter or shape on an index card and asked to draw, trace or type the item without it being named by the experimenter.
The following results were recorded:
after self-generated printing experience, letter perception in the young child recruits components of the reading systems in the brain more than other forms of sensori-motor practice (tracing or typing).
The researchers concluded that “handwriting is important for the early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading. Handwriting therefore may facilitate reading acquisition in young children”
Reference: James KH, Engelhardt L. The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in preliterate children. Trends in Neuroscience and Education (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tine.2012.08.001.
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