I was at the post office mailing packages to giveaway winners a couple of months when the young girl at the desk paused for an especially long time.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“Well…” she sounded embarrassed. “I can’t read cursive, and I have to put this address into the computer. They just don’t teach cursive anymore… we have computers, you know?”
I stared at the package, knowing I’d printed the words legibly. That’s when I realized I’d written the first letter of each word in scrolling cursive, purely out of habit. I stood there for twenty minutes, helping her read the writing on all thirty packages. Friends, being able to write–and to read writing–is a big deal…..
Today’s informative post is sponsored, and written, by Bonnie Emerson of BestEver Handwriting. You’ll see a sponsored post here or there on Thinking Kids. Not only do sponsored posts help keep Bible Road Trip available, they’re a great way for me to share fabulous information with you that I think you may be interested in. Bonnie Emerson has some pretty impressive credentials, and a great product available for you.
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De-emphasis on and virtual elimination of handwriting instruction is one of the most alarming trends in American schools of today. In the rush to establish technology and its requisite skill of keyboarding, children are being deprived of the instruction and practice in the mastery of handwriting (printing and Cursive), one of the most basic of human skills. As children progress through school, parents and educators in middle school and high school report that the displacement of this developmentally appropriate instruction can directly affect desired grades for daily work and lower test scores—due to illegible handwriting. Additionally, those who advocate teaching early communications skills through keyboarding are overlooking current research indicating that the process of learning handwriting with paper and pencil actually establishes an important foundation for success in all other subject areas—including technology!
Because Handwriting mastery requires 3 to 4 years of instruction, an explanation of its scope and sequence will be helpful. Handwriting begins with instruction of children in Manuscript Printing, transitioning to writing on lines and then Cursive Writing mastery. Manuscript Printing is critically important for learning to recognize and read print in books, while learning Cursive Writing offers children an extremely important enduring personal skill that they will use frequently in daily interactions throughout their lifetime.
Parents and Educators Should Understand Why . . .
…handwriting is such an important part of the foundation for future educational success. Among those reasons are: (1) taking notes in “longhand” imprints that written information in long-term memory for easy retrieval; (2) free-flow thinking necessary for writing toward creative composition is more easily accomplished with paper and pencil; (3) proficient hand-writers can easily record information while maintaining eye contact with speakers during conversations; (4) and use of pencil and paper helps children prepare for tests that usually require handwritten answers. But unfortunately—using technology that requires mastery of an additional set of skills tends to divert attention from the task at hand, thereby temporarily disrupting the learning chain. Moreover, it is important to note that, if technology is the required method for completing all assignments, then technology must be available at all times for all children. Realistically, the expense of such technology frequently prevents this occurrence in many classrooms and private homes as well. These issues with technology are absent when handwritten assignments are required.
Bonnie Emerson is a well-known elementary teacher and vice-principal who served in Modesto City Schools, Modesto, California, for more than 35 years. While she was primarily an early childhood educator, her broad, diversified interests led her into developing expertise and serving on many local and national committees related to Attention Deficit Disorders (ADHD)-an extremely important area related to teaching and learning. She also served as a National Geographic education consultant. In retirement, Bonnie continues to remain active in the education community presenting at teacher and parent workshops.
The BestEver Handwriting Series teaches children the correct formation of Manuscript letters through Cursive writing. Handwriting mastery at all levels is achieved through well-designed practice workbook pages. Belief in the importance of handwriting as a foundational skill was the driving force in the creation of a set of workbooks that would guarantee student success in mastering this personal skill that will last a lifetime.
Image: The Writing Lesson, 1865, Albert Samuel Anker (1831-1910), Public Domain
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.