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Dev Neuropsychol. 2006;29(1):197-216.

The importance of handwriting speed in adult writing.

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  • 1Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


Handwriting speed is important to the quantity and quality of children's essays. This article reviews research on adult essay writing and lecture note taking that extends this finding to adult writers. For both children and adults, research suggests that greater transcription speed increases automaticity of word production, which in turn lessens the burden on working memory (WM) and enables writers to use the limited capacity of WM for the metacognitive processes needed to create good reader-friendly prose. These findings suggest that models of writing, which emphasize the metacognitive components of writing primarily, should be expanded to include transcription (handwriting automaticity and spelling). The article also evaluates the implications of fluent handwriting to WM, given that even the most fluent handwriting can consume some WM resources and recent research and theory has highlighted the importance of WM to quality writing. Finally, the implications of handwriting and WM to assessment and instruction are discussed.

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