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Newsletter for April/May 2016
June 17, 2016
2016, April/May

New ideas ~ A good book ~ And, writing appetizers

Handwriting: Possibly the Best Learning Tool

It's the end of the school year, but I couldn’t help writing about new research supporting handwriting notes (as opposed to typing) for improved learning.

According to the article(1), researchers report that students who handwrite notes tend to remember and know the course material better and for a longer period of time than students who type their notes on a computer.

When people handwrite notes they may write fewer words, however, the researchers said students thought about and digested those words and the presented material more thoroughly than students who type notes.

Perhaps I’m dating myself, but when I first started college no one in any of my classes typed notes on a laptop computer. We had to use paper, a pencil or pen, and handwrite notes.

I also handwrote notes in my master’s degree courses. Computers at the time were still a bit pricey. I had one at home, but not one to carry with me…and come to think of it, no one in my class took notes on a laptop back then either.

However, ten years later when I began my PhD, I typed notes for the first few years. Then, I switched to back to handwriting.


Because, I tended to type what the professor said and some student discussion almost as if I was a transcriptionist.

Being a new PhD student, I wanted to make sure I could go back and look up anything from class …

As I grew in my learning, though, I stopped using my laptop and took handwritten notes. At that point, I was in advanced courses that built upon previous concepts. I understood the material better and just didn’t need the crutch of my notes for every little thing.

It was a sign of growth.

When I think about my experiences and personal preferences, I still prefer handwriting to typing notes, especially when writing personal notes.

Handwriting is personal – no one writes like you. Nor will anyone ever. Your handwritten note is the gift you give someone. It’s your heart on paper.

Typing is great. It looks professional. But, when it comes to personalization--and perhaps learning, nothing beats handwriting.

All the best,


(1) Hotz, R. L. (2016, April 5). The power of handwriting. The Wall Street Journal, D1-D2.

Book Recommendation:
Dog Songs

By Mary Oliver

This book bumped into me ... You know, you read something and follow the bread crumbs but you end up finding another little gem. That’s how I found this month’s recommended book. Dog Songs is a collection of heart-touching poetry about dogs. Many of the poems are about the author’s dogs, but some are about dog behavior itself.

To me, it was a touching book. It reminded me of the joys of having dogs in my life. It was also a quick read that took my mind off the busyness and stress of the day.

In many ways, her style was similar to Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust (another favorite book of mine). Oliver is a poet, but she tells a story through her poems in a classic yet liberal narrative poem style that is truly beautiful and unique.

If you love dogs and want a quick, easy read that will bring joy to your day, you’ll like Dog Songs.

Whet Your Writing Appetite
with these . . .

HOT and FRESH Writing Appetizers –
(AKA: Writing Prompts)

Here are three writing appetizers to get you thinking and writing:

1. Which do you enjoy more: handwriting or typewriting? Write about why you prefer one over the other.

2. We’ve all been here . . . you’re taking notes on something that’s supposed to be important but in the midst of the presentation it becomes notes with your neighbor. Write about a time when you were communicating with your neighbor via little notes on paper during a presentation.

3. Write about a special time with a dog. It could be with your dog or a dog belonging to someone else. What happened and why was it special to you?

Note to Subscribers: The writing prompts can be used in the classroom or for creative free writing. Adapt them for your situation. Enjoy and be creative!

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