homeschool / internet / K-5 Tech training / problem solving / second grade / teaching / writing

Is Handwriting Like Camera Film–So Last Generation

Studies show one in three children struggle with handwriting. I’d guess more, seeing it first hand as a teacher. Sound bad? Consider another study shows that one in five parents say they last penned a letter more than a year ago.

Let’s look at the facts. Students handwrite badly, and don’t use it much when they grow up (think about yourself. How often do you write a long hand letter?). Really, why is handwriting important in this day of keyboards, PDAs, smart phones, spellcheck, word processing? I start students on MS Word in second grade, about the same time their teacher is beginning cursive. Teach kids the rudiments and turn them over to the tech teacher for keyboarding.

I searched for reasons why I was wrong. Here’s what I found:

  • 1 in 10 Americans are endangered by the poor handwriting of physicians.
  • citizens miss out on $95,000,000 in tax refunds because the taxman can’t read their handwriting
  • Poor handwriting costs businesses $200,000,000 in time and money that result in confused and inefficient employees, phone calls made to wrong numbers, and letters delivered to incorrect addresses.

Read on:

Schools: Less cursive, more keyboarding

BROWNSBURG, Ind., Aug. 28 (UPI) —

Officials in an Indiana school district said cursive writing lessons will be scaled down this year in favor of computer keyboarding.


The Brownsburg school district sent a letter to parents this week informing them third-graders will spend less time working on cursive writing than in previous years to make more time for teaching typing skills, the Indianapolis Star reported Friday.

“It is clear to us that cursive is becoming more obsolete,” said Donna Petraits, the district’s director of communications. “We are hearing equal amounts of praise and criticism on this decision, which we fully expected.”

Officials said students will still be given instruction on reading and writing in cursive, but they will no longer practice the repetitive drills previously used by teachers in the district.

“Cursive is almost like an art form, so we encourage parents to work on it at home with their child if they feel they need more than we will offer at school,” Petraits said.


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10 thoughts on “Is Handwriting Like Camera Film–So Last Generation

  1. Pingback: Handwriting vs. Computers: Winner Takes All « Ask a Tech Teacher

  2. Sorry but I have to say that you have, as with most teachers, no idea what you are saying on this subject.
    The images you show to form letters is a god example, who on earth would spend time trying to learn this and practice it in the future? The answer is no one!
    Hand writing for most people is poor not because of computers but because teachers were poor teachers, nothing else. People do not learn poor writing by themselves as in people are not poor learners unless they are unfortunate to spend time with a poor teacher.
    When will teachers stand up and say they are responsible for the performance of their students? In any industrial setting, they would be fired for not performing and achieving the task for which they are paid!

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  4. Signing one’s own name is still used to verify identity and approve documents, even something as simple as a credit card receipt. If your name is illegible, it’s easier to fake that scribble for someone who has stolen your identity.

    Should you lose electricity or tech devices lose their power, writing a note is the backup.

    It seems getting rid of script teaching altogether could lead to Babel-like situation. (As in the Bible, not the movie.) Add to that people’s habit of writing in text speak, being careless about grammar and spelling. We’ll be an idiocracy in no time.

    • I’m a teacher so I know my colleagues still gamely teach correct handwriting, including cursive, but students use it less and less as they get older. Technology takes over with digital transmission of homework, reports, everything. Their signature, though, will remain unique, even if not fully-formed. It’ll still be like a fingerprint no matter how much they use technology. My fear is that we rely too much on machines that won’t always work. Those electro-magnetic pulses that will knock out all electrical devices worry me. Someday, they’ll become easy enough that they’ll start happening.

      I like your word–idiocracy. I might borrow it.

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