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Is Handwriting History?

Because of the genesis of handwriting, we know ancient history and can read God’s Word. We use handwritten communication daily, even for insignificant items such as a scribbling a grocery list. However, today’s culture barely uses a pencil and paper now; individuals use instant text messaging, electronic mail, and telephones. While electronic messaging has its place and advantages, should it completely replace writing by hand? Students of Indiana’s public schools will no longer have requirements for cursive writing but instead learn how to type proficiently. Will teenagers today even have skill enough to pen their own signature? I believe we should still use and value handwriting and cursive because it develops fine motor skills, retains memory better, and conveys a personal touch.

Children develop their fine motor abilities by practicing penmanship. Writing in cursive allows them to gradually improve their eye-hand coordination (Geiger 2011). Cursive script affords us the opportunity to naturally train these outstanding motor skills by taking advantage of a child’s inability to fully control his fingers. Learning cursive improves a child’s fluency, ensuring a “secure neural network” (Sortino 2011). In other words, cursive builds the brain. Typing, on the other hand, involves just selecting letters by pressing identical-looking keys (Pinola 2011).

Additionally, writing by hand produces better memory. When people type, they simply select identical keys, unlike handwriting where they write out each individual letter. Researchers at the University of Stavanger, Norway, found that children or students who write by hand learn better than those who type. Indianexpress.com tells the investigators’ conclusion, “The process of putting pen to paper and reading from a book seems to imprint knowledge in the brain in a better way than using a keyboard and computer screen” Since children retain a better memory and learn more by handwriting, certainly teachers should continue teaching this efficient mode of writing.

Also, handwriting characterizes and distinguishes a person. Intriguingly, no two persons have the same handwriting; they have their own personal touch. We can identify a person’s writing by his handwriting, not their typing. Even though an entire state might use the same curriculum, each individual student will have its own unique handwriting. Although most people type business letters, they still sign their signature by hand. While the typed name clarifies, the handwritten signature verifies, personalizes, and authenticates the letter. Furthermore, people’s handwriting can bring artistic elegance, flair, and beauty. Personally, I appreciate a letter penned by hand with the writer’s own touches much greater than an electronic mail.

In conclusion, the act of writing develops fine motor skills, promotes better memory retention, and reveals a personal touch (Pinola 2011). Handwriting and strong cursive skill enables speed and legibility, so children can communicate with ease, as they undertake tests, acquire notes in class, and complete their homework within a given period of time. Unfortunately, 40 out of 50 states in the United States have adopted the Common Core curriculum, placing cursive writing in the wayside in the classroom of public schools. Instead of learning cursive, the students devote their time to learning how to type. With modern technology so advanced, of course we need typing skills; however, I think we should not eliminate cursive penmanship practice, but revive it. Not only with penmanship practice do students learn how to write more efficiently and learn how sign their signature, but then they can read documents such as the Declaration of Independence. Hopefully children will have the ability to handwrite their thank-you notes to people to express appreciation rather than informally texting them. We should continue to teach and value handwriting and cursive skills rather than make it history.




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