8 AUTUMN//WINTER 2018 NEWS NEWS Register at www.stationerymatters.news to receive our biweekly industry e-newsletter Register at www.stationerymatters.news to receive our biweekly industry e-newsletter AUTUMN//WINTER 2018 9 WIA and Write4Life join forces to promote handwriting in education The Writing Instruments Association (WIA) and Write4Life have announced plans to join forces with Stationery Show London to jointly promote handwriting in education. BOSS Federation CEO Philip Lawson talks to Stationery Matters about why it’s so important for children to learn handwriting at school. Given we are now in a so-called ‘digital age’ with smartphones, tablets and laptops in daily regular use, is there any point in teaching children to handwrite as part of the UK education curriculum, or should we be concentrating on the next generations acquiring typing skills instead? And with the advent of voice-activated devices like Alexa and Siri, should we not worry about constructing words visually and move straight to audio communication instead? Studies have shown the amount of short-term cognitive power available to us is limited and if we are struggling to concentrate on the formation of letters in manual handwriting, it limits our ability to produce better quality content in our communication. Oral communication is more effective when we haven’t got what is called the orthographic-motor integration of handwriting. In layman’s terms, that means being able to write without having to stop and think about how we form the letters and words. On the other hand, if you can write without having to think, the quality and output of your written communication increases significantly. Evidence also exists that handwriting is better for the retention of facts in learning. For example: “A comparison of recall and recognition for common words demonstrates that memory is better for words when they have been written down rather than when they are typed.With the recent trend towards electronic note taking, the educational and practical implications of these findings would suggest that performance may be improved by using traditional paper-and-pen notes.” (Smoker, Murphy & Rockwell, 2009) Further studies (Longcamp et al, 2005) have shown that the act of writing helped 3 to 5 year olds remember and recognise letters better than typing them – the implication being that the movement of the arm and fingers helps them to remember and recognise the nature and shape of the letter. Although some parts of the US and some countries like Finland have removed the need to learn cursive writing from their educational curricula, it is felt in some states like Illinois that this skill is essential, and senators there have legislated to retain learning cursive handwriting in schools. Other studies reinforce that once the learned skill of handwriting becomes innate and second nature, the speed of cursive writing being greater than block writing of individual characters helps thought processes, and even in later life the quality and quantity of our output is greater. “Given the evidence for the impact of handwriting skills on writers’ abilities to generate sophisticated text…, it appears critical that children develop smooth and efficient handwriting.” (Medwell & Wray, 2008) Some parts of the brain that are linked to the skills inherent in reading have been found in MRI scans to be stimulated in the process of handwriting – so learning how to write by hand possibly helps in the speed and depth of acquired reading skills. (James & Englehart, 2012). So, if the benefits of learning to handwrite appear to be proven, what are we doing to promote the idea that we should continue to embrace and nurture it in education? Historically campaigning charities like the National Handwriting Association have championed the cause.There exists also a group of many of the leading brands of writing instruments, household names like Pentel, Pilot, Stabilo, Staedtler, Uniball and others, that have re-activated a long-standing group called the WIA, or Writing Instruments Association, under the umbrella of the British Office Supplies and Services Federation (BOSS).And they are campaigning to promote the benefits of handwriting under the brand insignia of Write4Life. Of course, pen and pencil manufacturers naturally have a vested interest in keeping writing going. But despite claims to the contrary, writing in pen and ink (or pencil) remains very popular. Chairman of the WIA and sales director of Pentel, Graham Craik commented:“Demand for writing instruments remains strong in the UK market. Our consumers recognise that handwriting remains a personal choice, and we feel confident that schools and colleges will continue to recognise the benefits of handwriting to learning for years to come.The members of the WIA will support that continued demand with a wide range of appropriate products available to consumers across the UK.” The WIA will reveal more details about plans for the Write4Life initiative closer to the next Stationery Show London, which takes place 30 April & 1 May 2019. www.stationeryshowlondon.co.uk. Philip Lawson is chief executive of the BOSS Federation. If you need any more information about either BOSS, the WIA or the Write4Life initative, please contact Philip Lawson, at philip@bossfederation.co.uk STATIONERY+ Kikki.K founder inspires us to live our dream life Kikki.K founder Kristina Karlsson is on a mission to inspire people to believe in themselves and to live their dreams. In her recently penned debut book, Your Dream Life Starts Here, Karlsson has one goal, to inspire 101 million people around the world to create, write down and start living three dreams of their own. It’s all part of her Dream Life movement, which she hopes will empower people to open their eyes to the possibility of making their dreams happen. Karlsson says it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. She says:“most adults lose their natural childlike ability to dream without limitation, instead progressing through life with aspirations or wishes, limited by false personal beliefs of what is possible for ‘someone like me’.” She continues:“Once taught, dreaming without limitation is so simple, so fundamentally powerful and has been proven through the ages as the common starting point for people who transform the future for themselves, in big ways and small. Something magical happens when you write your dreams down on paper. It’s a life-changing process and it’s been proven to work time and time again.” InYour Dream Life Starts Here, Karlsson encourages readers to stop and dream without limitation, by sharing her own experiences along with others who have lent their support to her vision to create a Dream Life movement. These include Richard Branson and Stella McCartney. Each chapter includes exercises designed to break through conditioned and restrictive thought patterns, teaching readers to tune into their passions and sense of reward. She helps readers to develop clear action plans to take control of their lives. Karlsson is also launching a podcast to accompany the book, which she will host, featuring high-profile guest ‘dreamers.’ She also plans to roll out in-store Dream Workshops.An e-learning platform for kikki-k.com is due to launch early in 2019, building on the book’s concept and taking the Dream Life movement to a global audience. Your Dream Life Starts Here is published 24 September 2018. www.kikki-k.com In our Stationery+ section we shine a light on products that fall outside of the stationery sector.We pick out the gifts, books, games and craft products that stationery retailers are using to complement their offer and boost sales. Get in touch with the editor to share your bestselling non-stationery items.We’ll do our best to include them on future Stationery+ pages. Kawaii Tarot: A 78-Card Deck of Magic and Cute Kawaii Tarot:A 78-Card Deck of Magic and Cute fully taps into the trend for kawaii, the Japanese art style found in comics, toys and fashion (read more about the trend in Asian Revolution on page 18).This tarot kit features 78 full-colour tarot cards and a 96-page guide book in a trendy fold-out kit. Author Diana Lopez is a designer and developer who created this deck and its guidebook to interpret tarot readings after learning to read tarot. Lopez initially found success with an app she designed – also called Kawaii Tarot – which has been downloaded nearly 25,000 times. Kawaii Tarot is published by Sterling Press and is available to order from GMC Distribution. www.thegmcgroup.com Rocking all over the world Devotees of rock art paint a pebble and hide it for someone to find. Pebble painting started in the US and has since travelled to the UK. Social media has galvanised the practice.The UK Love on the Rocks Facebook page, for example, has 86,000 members. The trend is being picked up internationally, too. Since it started two months ago, the French Love on the Rocks Facebook page has gained 3,300 members. Instagram has its own tribe of rock artists, who’ve used the hashtag #rockart 232,000 times. Retailers can ride this trend by providing tools for the job, such as Pilot’s Pintor range of water-based art markers. It’s time to get creative! www.pilotpen.co.uk