We are in the age of technology where typing, swiping and tapping activities supersede writing. Yet, penmanship is still very much a critical part of literacy.
Penmanship - the Visual of Literacy
By writing, learners are able to connect visual representation to literacy. Writing letters to form words allows a learner to connect a visual to each word beyond the comprehension of its pictorial form. Functional brain imaging studies indicate the visual recognition of letters and the physical motion of producing letters both activate the same region of the brain (James & Engelhardt, 2012; Li & James, 2016).
The Benefit of Penmanship - Spatial Orientation
Learning the letters of the alphabet requires knowledge of their features including their shape (e.g., the lines and curves that form the letter) and spatial orientation (e.g., knowing when a letter is written upside down or backward; Terepocki, Kruk, & Willows, 2002).
Beyond (Just) Penmanship
Penmanship provides its learner with a platform to develop spatial orientation - the ability to differentiate left to right, front to back, and more importantly estimate distance, height and space.