Archive for March, 2014

20140331-IMG_6637Taking time to put pen to paper can actually increase your learning capability, retention and brain development according to many experts and studies on handwriting conducted over the past few years. While many schools are taking cursive requirements out of their curriculum and the majority of us compose our thoughts and work on computers through keyboards, we can’t let the practice and benefits of handwriting fall to the wayside.

“For children, handwriting is extremely important. Not how well they do it, but that they do it and practice it,” said Karin Harman James, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University. “Typing does not do the same thing.”

William R. Klemm, D.V.M., Ph.D. agrees. In an article he wrote called “Cursive writing makes kids smarter” published on March 14, 2013 in Memory Medic, Klemm states that in the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of the brain become co-activated during learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice.

He also believes there is spill-over benefit for thinking skills used in reading and writing. To write legible cursive, fine motor control is needed over the fingers. Students have to pay attention and think about what and how they are doing it. They have to practice.

There are also benefits to the physical aspects of the actual act of writing. Julie Deardorff wrote an article in the Tribune newspaper that outlined the benefits of gripping and moving a pen or pencil that reach beyond communication. She stated that emerging research shows that handwriting increases brain activity, hones fine motor skills and can predict a child’s academic success in ways that keyboarding can’t.

According to an article last year by reporter Chris Gayomali in The Wall Street Journal, some physicians claim that the act of writing — which engages your motor skills, memory, and more — is good cognitive exercise for baby boomers who want to keep their minds sharp as they age. And if you’re looking to pick up a new skill, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience found that adults had an easier time recognizing new characters — like Chinese, math symbols, or music notes — that were written by hand over characters generated by a computer.

“Handwriting aids memory. If you write yourself a list or a note — then lose it — you’re much more likely to remember what you wrote than if you just tried to memorize it,” said Occupational Therapist Katya Feder, an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa School of Rehabilitation.

According to Feder in the same Tribune article, handwriting proficiency inspires confidence. The more we practice a skill such as handwriting, the stronger the motor pathways become until the skill becomes automatic. Once it’s mastered, children can move on to focus on the subject, rather than worry about how to form letters.

Handwriting engages different brain circuits than keyboarding. The contact, direction and pressure of the pen or pencil send the brain a message. And the repetitive process of handwriting “integrates motor pathways into the brain,” said Feder. When it becomes automatic or learned, “there’s almost a groove in the pathways,” she said. The more children write, the more pathways are laid down.

So now you’ve heard what the experts say…keep writing! And we will keep paving the way for responsible paper production.


Phil Riebel
President, Two Sides North America, Inc.


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Two Sides collaborates with many Allied Organizations to further the understanding of why print and paper can be a versatile and sustainable communications medium.  These relationships greatly help extend the reach of our message.  Here are the Allied Organizations that have joined Two Sides in North America:


Below are a few examples of how some of these relationships have developed and evolved.

The National Paper Trade Association (NPTA) and its members were instrumental in supporting and funding Two Sides in the United States and ensuring a successful launch in January 2012.  Most NPTA member companies are now commercial members of Two Sides in North America.

The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) joined our Sustainability Committee in early 2012 and we began collaborating and sharing information to address misleading environmental claims being used to promote various electronic services such as e-billing over print and paper.  “False marketplace claims are damaging to our industry and now we have two paths with the same objective… to help companies take the right steps to correct unqualified environmental language that can be viewed as deceptive marketing” said Executive Director, Printing-Writing Papers for AF&PA, Mark Pitts.  To date, several companies have removed their claims as a result of efforts of Two Sides and AF&PA.

The Envelope Manufacturers Association (EMA) has been a great supporter of Two Sides since day one.   “We believe that Two Sides offers many advantages as a partner to EMA,” said Maynard Benjamin, Executive Director of EMA.  “They are out there fighting against environmental claims that are not factually correct, they provide our members great data-based information and they engage policy makers and make them take notice.  Two Sides doesn’t need to lobby because they do such a great job educating.”

Affiliations with science-based groups helps Two Sides maintain high credibility in its messaging and address current sustainability topics.  For this reason, we invited Dovetail Partners, Inc. to join our sustainability committee and help guide our efforts.  Dovetail is a trusted source for environmental information and they specialize in providing authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives.   “Much of our messaging overlaps with Two Sides so it just makes sense for us to work together for the same cause,” says Dovetail Executive Director Kathryn Fernholz. “Two Sides is a very unique group because when they advocate for environmental change, they help us influence people’s thinking about sustainability based on fact and not fear.  They have a strong moral obligation to only share scientifically-based information and we trust them to report on what is accurate and current.”

Two Sides is a member of the Forest Legality Alliance, a global network dedicated to promoting the demand of forest products of legal origin, and to working with stakeholders along the supply chain to meet that demand.  We also collaborate with the World Resource Institute (WRI) who have peer-reviewed our Myths and Facts materials.

Nine U.S. colleges are now part of our network and Dr. Gary Scott from State University of New York – Environmental Science and Forestry was elected to our Sustainability Committee to represent the interests of the academic sector.

The following list gives a few more examples of the great support we have received from other allied organizations:

  • NPES, The Association of Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies – Seats on our board and committees and in-kind support related to marketing and visibility at the Graph Expo annual conference.
  • Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA) – Donated ad space in Print Solutions magazine.
  • Printing Industry Association of Southern California – Development of an app to download our Myths and Facts brochure via mobile phone.
  • PrintMediaCentr – Ongoing promotion of Two Sides via social media channels and exposure to their huge network of professionals in the print world.
  • TAPPI – Marketing and communications support.

We believe that alliances like these help us fulfill our mission which is essential to all of us who use print and paper products every day, and the millions who work in the print and paper value chain.  Let us know if you want to join our growing team!

Phil Riebel
President, Two Sides North America, Inc.

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