Friday, January 23, 2009

Today is National Handwriting Day and Neatness Counts

Get out your pens boys and girls. It's time for penmanship. Oh, how I loved this class in the fourth grade! It was such a rite of passage to leave the childish printing behind and learn CURSIVE.

I looked through my flat files and found this page from Lena Carroll's 1873 lesson book.

This is a screen capture from an online website that teaches children cursive. When you mouseover each letter, it shows you how to write it. See 2nd link at end of this post.

This is a penmanship exercise from the late 19th century that I found online and copied.

You can download and print these cursive flash cards ~ see the last link below.

Today really is National Handwriting Day. I hope you will take the time to read the full article from The Boston Globe (first link below). It really made my hair stand on end when I read that there are 20 and 30 year olds that can't read cursive! How can this be? I can understand when 5 year olds say they can't read script but not young adults. What has happened?

I read an article recently about a young girl who sent 35,000 text messages in one month. We e-mail, we text, we Twitter - what will become of handwriting? Parents should insist that their children are taught these basic skills. It would be a real handicap later in life to be illerate in cursive and incapable of executing a handwritten letter or thank you note in your best penmanship.

I still have the fountain pen that I got as a high school graduation present and I have some bottles of real ink too. In my desk I have quite an assortment of antique writing instruments acquired over the years from relatives or purchased at estate sales. Sadly, I don't use them as much as I used to but I could if I wanted!

Try to write something beautiful today in your best hand to celebrate this special day and help keep handwriting alive.

Feel free to comment if you have any strong feelings on this subject. Thanks, Rosemary

Is the writing on the wall for penmanship? - The Boston Globe

Online cursive handwriting lessons for kids

Download cursive pictorial flash cards for kids

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Gal Friday said...

I still remember Miss Lord, my 60-ish second grade teacher and the beginning of learning "cursive" writing--the letters on the chalkboard. I always got an "A" in penmanship.
As you noted, it is sad that handwriting is dying and not taught as much--even I don't write that way and haven't for a long time. My handwriting evolved into part script and part print. *sigh*
Looking at the 1873 lesson reminds me exactly of the way we were taught to write..
Every once in a while at work, I will marvel at someone's handwriting on a check and the checkwriter(usually of a certain age, too) usually tells me it is years of Catholic School behind it.

Tracy said...

Oh Rosemary, don't get me started on handwritiing and spelling and grammar... In my "real job", I process all of the intake paperwork for a small group of doctors -- you know, the forms that patients fill out themselves. I cannot tell you how many times a day I have to squint and stare as I try decifer their street name or phone number or some other piece of vital information that the patient literally scribbled onto the form. Didn't they understand that someone would have to read what they wrote? And then there's "txting" and emailing... Of course I've taken my share of shortcuts when dashing off a quick "e-note". But I learned, as you did, how to write and spell and construct a sentence long before the world went wireless. So if your eight-year-old has a cell phone and a computer at the same time she's learning writing skills (which they really don't teach much in schools anymore anyway), which method do you think she'll prefer? The one that involves thought and skill or the quick, easy, spell-it-like-you-say-it way of texting? ("proly" instead of "probably" kills me every time I see it) Can't blame the kids though. It's a disservice we adults have done to them.
Sorry for going on so, but I warned you! And I do love the elements of your post. I'll go back and study them when I have more time. Oh, and I will definitely write someone a note today (with an actual pen and paper!).

Happy Friday!

Tracy said...

Oh no. This is what I get for getting on my high horse about spelling and such. "Decifer"? No, of course not. "Decipher". Phonic spelling crept right in and I didn't even notice! It's happening everywhere!!

GardenDesigner said...

Great Story! Everyone always tells me I have Great handwriting...I dont like it that much myself but I thought as an Idea maybe, on my new blog I would do A post once in a while just by writing it on pretty paper, or in a journal, and take a picture of it ... then post! I just started blogging this week!... Handwriting just seems so personal! I love looking at old postcards and ephemera with ols script...My son just tods me I can do the same thing with a wacum tablet pen...we will see....

I have been reading your post;s for awhile and enjoy them very Much!
Thanks for sharing!
Have a great weekend !

Millie said...

My Mum was a school teacher, so mine is pretty good. But the star of our family is MOTH, his handwriting is just stunning. Our 5boys run from 3 very good to 1 OK to 1 atrocious. Great reminder to us all Rosemary to make an effort in keeping the skill alive & kicking.
Millie ^_^

susanlambert said...

I love cursive writing. It's an art. A written note with the Palmer Method of writing, which you posted, is like a work of art, when done well. Unfortunately it is becoming a lost art. It was a source of pride to write beautifully but now writing with pen and pencil is used by schools as communication without concern about beauty.Students are taught to use a keyboard as early as first grade. I work in a middle school and find many students who can't write in cursive! Printing is what they read and write in every shape and form. When you think of it, it makes sense. Cursive was taught to help people write faster and we really don't need that type of speed anymore since most writing is typed and so much faster. Reading and writing typed letters 'is' printing. I miss the beauty and always taught it when I taught classes that needed it, but do see how someday it will just be an old style of writing that was discarded. :-(