By NicoleAugust 3, 2015
When I remind my students to work on their handwriting audible sighs can be heard throughout the Learning Center. I relate to their feelings of frustration. After all in our society who cares about handwriting. We have emails, text messages, and IMs. Not many people take the time to write an actual letter anymore.
When you are learning to write who wants to have to sit still and perfect their hand? I recall a family vacation when I was around 9 years old. I was working on my 4th grade English and could not be less interested in it. My handwriting was illegible as I rushed through my work.
In the home we were visiting was another guest who used to teach school, Mrs. McKinney. She was 97 years old. Mrs. McKinney was sweet but very firm as she corrected my handwriting. “Nicole, your handwriting is an expression of who you are on the inside. When you write like this you tell others that you are a mess and don’t care about yourself or others. Take the time to write neatly and have respect for those that will read it.”
It took me years to understand what she really meant by that. Now it comes to my mind often – specifically when I am writing the address on an envelope for report cards. Have you ever taken the time to really read a handwritten letter? How about reading between the lines? The reader can tell if you were happy, upset, rushed, even crying. You can understand more about the person by how they write and if they took time writing it
Handwriting is more than just for letter writing. There are many jobs that require handwritten notes and logs – truckers, nurses, restaurant workers, secretaries, and teachers to name a few. It is important to write legibly for those that must read your notes. We all like to joke about a doctor’s handwriting, but it is not funny to try and understand what was written.
Handwriting also goes beyond print. I am referring to cursive writing. The trend in public schools is to eliminate cursive writing all together. This trend disturbs me.
Our historical documents are all written in cursive – beautiful, spidery cursive. How are our students to read these documents for themselves if they don’t know cursive? I know - I hear the myriad of voices telling me that these documents have all been printed in pamphlet or book forms. I contend that it is not the same. How are we to know that these have not been changed if we can’t read the original? But enough of my soapbox!
Encourage your students to perfect their handwriting. Remind them that they may not always have a computer or cell phone handy. Good handwriting is necessary and is certainly not an obsolete skill - yet.