Tuesday, December 30, 2003

This looks write 

Joanne Jacobs has a story today on the value of cursive writing. It turns out we're not teaching penmanship (go ahead, I dare you, "penhumanship"!) but how to use symbols.
New brain research shows the value of handwriting, said Charles Trafford, chief executive of Peterson Directed Handwriting, a Pennsylvania-based company that sells handwriting curriculum and that once ran the annual cursive contest.

"They're realizing it's not penmanship that handwriting is teaching, it's symbolic language," Trafford said.
My fifth-grader has to use cursive for assignments and tests; she still asks me for help how to write capital letters in cursive because she sees me do it. The college freshman son does not write cursive and thinks he's forgotten. I remember as a grad student that my advisor would write by use of a pad of paper and a pen, setting up his chair near the ocean or his pool and filling a pad or two. He never typed, hiring someone instead. His penmanship took some getting used to, but it was so much fun to see the crossouts and observe how his mind was working. I think he had me read those manuscripts as part of my education, and I think it helped. The "track changes" function in Word is a poor substitute.

The discussion on Jacobs site, btw, has also taught me about D'Nealian handwriting.