In Sixth Grade my friend, Jerisha, won the award for “Best Penmanship”. It couldn’t be denied: she really did have the best cursive handwriting in the entire Sixth Grade Class. Being the straight A student that I was, however, I got a little jealous. Although, looking back, I couldn’t argue with the fact that my handwriting didn’t even come close to Jerisha’s high standards. Now, after law school my handwriting is even worse. So I can relate when my students’ parents come to me with concerns that their child’s handwriting is not up to par.
As a child of the 80’s, it still baffles me that kids today will never know a time when personal computers and hand-held technology did not exist. The question presented in this day and age is one of vintage handwriting versus modern typing: Which is more important? The fact of the matter is that when you go on to the higher levels of education professors will require that papers be typed, standardized tests have a typing option (which most if not all examinees prefer), and business practices require typing in the form of emails, notices, publications, briefs, and memos. In fact, I’m having a hard time thinking of something in today’s offices that actually need to be handwritten, except for the all-powerful-but-usually-forgotten-post-interview thank-you note. Oh and your signature on every legal document known to man.
I hate to say it but I don’t think handwriting is going to revive itself as means of communication any time soon. Still, our school system is required to teach it in the lower elementary grades. The ISEE [Independent School Entrance Exam] as well as the SSAT [Secondary School Admission Test] have a hand-written essay component too. So for that reason, along with the fact that your child may need to one-day write a thank you note or sign a promissory note, are just a few justifications why they should practice dotting their cursive i‘s and crossing their cursive t‘s
All in all, I wouldn’t worry too much about handwriting. It’s the rarity that poor handwriting is indicative of a greater processing and motor issue, whereby dysgraphia is then a real concern. For most students, however, handwriting is a basic skill that needs a bit of daily practice just like anything else–spending 10 minutes a day on it should do the trick. Happy Handwriting!
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Christine Terry, B.A., J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com