Handwriting, particularly script or cursive, has been dropped as a class in many schools. Even typing has been dropped as a course in some schools. The modern sentiment of the age is stacked against children learning to write and communicate correctly.
Implications in Later Years
This has implications in the business world. One cannot assume that every communication will be by text, email or the printed page. If the boss leaves a written communication and the employee can’t read it, that is a huge problem. When it comes to the medical field regarding a doctor’s prescription, it is critical that colleagues be able to read and decipher the message. Then again, what if the electronic world goes down for a season? What will happen to those who are co-dependent on texting? To those who were brought up in the age of writing, this may seem farfetched, but I challenge you to get into the schools as either a volunteer or substitute teacher and see what is happening.
Children Fall Behind
When it comes to the formative school years, the foundation that is laid in the early grades has a vast influence on what happens in the upper grades, and in life itself. Lessons that are missed or misunderstood compound into the student’s inability to keep up with the class. Note taking and test taking is integrally involved with handwriting abilities. Schools no longer provide textbooks to children. If they are to have any notes at all, they must be able to write them. They must be able to write quickly and fluently. If energy and struggle is dissipated on task of writing, there is less time and energy to focus on comprehension.
While computers have their place in the schools, i.e., the children can work with reading programs and some math programs, these are are primarily push-button programs. These are not necessarily typing programs. They are more like “up arrow, down arrow, right arrow, left arrow, enter” types of programs. That means that while the programs may help the children read, it will not help them learn to write.
Handwriting Worksheets Bridge the Gap
There is currently a gap between the amount of practice children need to learn to write
correctly, and the amount of time spent on this in the schools. One school teacher told
me she was allowed one sheet of paper per student per day for writing practice!
That leaves parents, grandparents, and caretakers with an educational gap. They are the ones left with the practical problem of helping the children in their care learn to write. Teachers tell parents repeatedly to read to children at home and to work with them at home at night. This is a great idea in theory but with the busy-ness and chaos that can exist at home, especially in a home where both parents may work during the day, simple homework solutions need to be readily available.
Practice Makes Perfect
Handwriting skills are very much developed by practice. Forming the characters over and over correctly helps the child develop the fine motor skills and coordination necessary to write correctly. Many schools have dropped handwriting, particularly script or cursive practice, as a required class. The time existed when a grade was given not only for the composition of the work, but also for the handwriting. That time has ended.
Grades are no longer being given for handwriting. As there is no obligation on the part of the students to write correctly, many do not.
Provide Kids Worksheets
Today the discussion is regarding how to help children improve their handwriting. The fact is, there is simply not enough time and attention given to this in the schools. Therefore, if parents, grandparents, or caregivers want children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to develop good handwriting, they need to provide handwriting practice worksheets.
These types of sheets come in different point sizes. “Point” is how the size of the letters are measured. Usually, children begin by tracing letters in a larger point size. Directional arrows are important in the beginning as the children need to know the correct order in which to form a letter. As they master this, they graduate to tracing letters in a lower point size. Eventually they are able to form the letters on their own.
Practice Handwriting at Home
Handwriting pages are something that the student can practice at home. If a student is to succeed in school, the student needs to be doing homework at night. Even if there is no “official” homework, a wise parent or caregiver will have the student read for at least 20 minutes a night and work out other ongoing practice, such as handwriting, practicing spelling words or math facts. The more children practice all of their subjects, the faster and better they will become, and the less likely they will fall behind.