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The Art of Handwriting AND Today’s Students

Today’s students do not need to learn the art of handwriting! Okay? Sorry. I said it and I really believe it. 
Thank goodness, my scribble scrabble days are OVER.
Here’s the back story for my full-blown, "haterade."

My blood pressure was at its peak today when I got involved in a healthy discussion about how today’s students can’t write. Here are a few blurbs from the discussion: Well, they can write, but not "neat enough." Their work is illegible. They text too much. The laptop is the blame, so we have to be firmer with the expectations.


Will we ever accept the fact that today’s students may not even need to know how to write – the way we were taught. Just for a moment, take a look at their world – outside of school. When are they ever "writing?" They’re texting, Aim-ing, Facebook-ing, Twitter-ing, etc. Did I miss anything?

NOTE: I am sure there are some exceptions. And I am also sure if the technology stopped working, then what? And point well taken. 

Now look at their future, 10, even 20 years from now, WHEN will they EVER write? Which makes me wonder if that’s why it’s not being taught as much in schools? But yet there’s an expectation for NEATNESS. hmmm

Even the other day, my pharmacy prescription – which just last month was written in scribble scrabble – was now a legible printout. 

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE when I see beautiful handwriting, and my mother has the best. But she’s also from an earlier generation whereby beautiful handwriting was the expectation.Students developed mastery year after year, not just K-3 grades. 

Back to schools of today…if students aren’t learning to master handwriting as an art – with daily drills – then they should not be penalized when they "can’t write neatly." imho of course.

If you know of any handwriting experts, feel free to set me straight –> nicely, though.


  1. Do we care?? says:

    I agree that kids are not expected to do handwriting in school these days. The question then becomes: Why aren’t they being taught to use the keyboard then?

  2. Amy Bowllan says:

    In some schools they are expected to just “know how to write” when it’s not taught. Make sense?

    I do teach keyboarding. However, I agree that it’s probably not enforced in most schools – although I hate to make generalizations. That’s a tough one to break habits that are already formed from texting.

  3. Sam Grumont says:

    You’re right about the need to practice a skill if it is to be developed. I enjoy handwriting because of the graphic look and pleasure I get from handwriting. I also learnt to touch type and I think if kids are to use keyboards effectively typing should be taught.

    In one primary school I visited the kids excitedly told me that they were really improving their typing skills by using the old Pitman Typing books, because it gets you typing and not doing all the bells and whistles things when you get something right.

    I’ve often found boys in particular improve their writing when they can use keyboards instead of having to handwrite.

  4. Kate Gladstone says:

    I probably qualify as a handwriting expert — or so say the schools (in the USA and Canada) and hospitals (USA only, so far) that hire me to teach legible rapid handwriting to everyone from 5-year-olds to MDs.

    Kate Gladstone —

  5. Amy Bowllan says:

    Sam, I will definitely look into the Pitman Typing books, so thanks for that resource. And I like what you mentioned about “boys.” It’s something more schools should consider.

    Kate, you may have a new client. 😉 Thanks for the link, and only WISH I had your skills. :)

  6. teachjoy says:

    What about students who can’t read handwriting? Current, younger teens, who have not adequately learned to write are unable to communicate with older adults. Notes from grandma? Quick feedback on some assignments? Will we sacrifice a generation of communication?

  7. Amy Bowllan says:

    Thanks a great, point, teachjoy, and one I neglected to mention in this post. My assumption is that students are far more adept at “reading writing,” then writing neatly. imho

  8. As a substitute teacher I find that I cannot read the work students turn in. How am I expected to grade a paper that can’t be read. Most schools have labs, but for everyday work students take notes, answer questions, and take test that are hand written. It takes three times more to grade a paper with poor penmanship. If I am required to grade, then students should be required to write.

  9. Amy Bowllan says:

    I completely understand. However, the question needs to be asked, WHEN IS HANDWRITING/PENMANSHIP TAUGHT? Also, is it then practiced at home? I find there is a blame game as to who is responsible for teaching it.

  10. Margaret says:

    I have ten year old twins in fourth grade that don’t even know how to handwrite their name. Are they going to print their name when they endorse checks or when they buy their first home? My son can’t even read handwriting! Does this mean he is illiterate? Kind of fits the definition? I think it is crazy not to teach children to handwrite.

  11. Amy Bowllan says:

    Good points, Margaret! I do not know who is to blame, either. Schools don’t feel obligated to teach handwriting, and parents are too busy. It’s certainly a puzzle.