Brain Science and Handwriting
The Areas of the Brain involved in Handwriting
Learning handwriting is glorious for the brain, it helps us become better readers by forging new connections and strengthening ones that already exist. That sounds great, but how does it happen? What is going on in the brain when we grasp a pencil in our chubby little fingers and start turning shaky squiggles into letters?
Much of the action takes place in the CEREBRAL CORTEX. It’s the chunky, wrinkly outer part of the brain that we see in Frankenstein films, and when we use the words “gray matter” that’s the part of the brain we’re talking about. It’s made up of billions of brain cells, called NEURONS, communicating with one another that allow us to do everything that we want to do by processing all the information our senses receive, deciding what to do with that information and acting on it. They make connections called NEURAL NETWORKS.
Why is the Cerebral Cortex so wrinkly?
The cortex is made up of bulging folds (gyri) and deep valleys (sulci), it’s scrunched up like this to make the most efficient use of space and fit in lots of neural networks. Think of it like a piece of paper with a lot of text on it. The paper is large and takes up a lot of space. If you fold it into a teeny tiny square it takes up less space, but it still contains the same amount of information.
The cerebral cortex is split into regions called LOBES. Each lobe has different jobs to do but they work together, along with the CEREBELLUM and the BRAIN STEM, to make handwriting possible.
Introducing Your Lobes and their Writing Buddies
That’s a lot of brain parts, and it can be difficult to get them to work together properly. Our young writers and readers make a lot of mistakes – but as time goes by they get used to cooperating, and communicating with each other faster and more efficiently until one day it feels effortless.