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Readin’ & Writin’ And Other Stuff

December 18, 2012
Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

How important is penmanship?

It was a huge disappointment to me when I heard that schools will not be teaching cursive writing as part of their curriculum. Don't misunderstand, it will be taught...just not the way us "old" folks learned. Gone are the days of making perfect circles, row after row. But by doing so we learned a flowing motion that is so important in writing longhand; not to mention coordination and motor skills.

I like to read and I like to write. And when I write, I like to make it look nice. Not so with everyone. Some signatures are a scribble, some are a scrawl, while others are simply dashed off and do not resemble any letters known to mankind. Truly, it takes no more effort to write neatly.

Elementary school students are learning the keyboard over cursive. I agree, our young students must keep up with technology. But I fear we will have generations of adults who can only print their names.

Look at the names on the United States Constitution. All of them were legible. The most famous, probably because of his elegant penmanship, is John Hancock.

An article came across the internet about how some states are preserving penmanship, despite technology. The article originated in Los Angeles, CA:?"The pen may not be as mighty as the keyboard these days, but California and a handful of states are not giving up on handwriting entirely.

"Bucking a growing trend of eliminating cursive from elementary school curriculums or making it optional, California is among the states keeping longhand as a third-grade staple," Christina Hoag reported.

Here are some points up for debate (as I understand them) -- Learning cursive is a waste of time because, in our digitized society even signatures are electronic. Printing is adequate; people do not need to know two different scripts. Students can be just as successful by printing. It's more important to learn typing.

Did you ever have your hand writing analyzed at the fair??I remember writing my name on a card, then it was sent through the computer and out popped a list of personality traits based on how you signed your name. "Longhand" does have personality.

And, when I read and write I want to read an entire word -- not omg! There is a place for texting and it doesn't lap over into everything else you write.

Writing longhand is (can be) very beautiful. My parents had wonderful penmanship. We have letters my dad sent to my mother when he was serving in Europe during World War II. Wonderful! So...just for the record...I am totally in favor of teaching cursive.

While we're on a bit of a rant, let's switch to something totally different. Do you know how many homes do not have house numbers?

We were driving around town to identify the homes entered in the Holiday Lighting Contest. It was quite an eye opener that an average of one home per block (and sometimes more) did not have a house number. If the number was there, it was not visible.

How do we identify families and their homes??Oh, I forgot...everything is electronic and apparently there is no need to even have house numbers.

 
 

 

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