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  1. Excellent article, Debbi; Chuck, your article is "no longer available." :'(

    As someone who remembers penmanship practice in the '60s, I'm feeling VERY old. HOWEVER, I was rather shocked to read that the school can't find young teachers with adequate language skills.


  2. We had penmanship practice in school, grade 1977ish. I wish I could find the book; it had a lot of exercises my son could use.

    I find my kids' teachers are good about hand muscle development (or at least provide lots of opportunities for it), but have no resources (other than an over-worked occupational therapist they don't know exists) if a kid does have a problem. My son's grade 3 teacher was quite happy when I gave her a copy of the series his OT uses. It's got a lot of advice about things to do before even giving them pencils, and what to look for while they use them.

  3. All I remember here was learning how to read cursive and write the basic letter forms in 3rd grade, then that was it on penmanship for the rest of my public school career. The average penmanship I see now is just beyond terrible. I have noticed, however, that Gregg people tend to be more conscientious about their penmanship… no mystery why, either 🙂

  4. Nifty:

    Unfortunately, that seems to be the norm with today's younger generation. It's believed that the advent of computers made cursive unnecessary.

    Informal polls taken at work have shown me that people in their 20s (and, presumably, younger) have very poor cursive. You know something funny? Some have to "think" out the outlines before they write. This reminds me of the struggles Gregg students have. (If you have to "think" out the Gregg outlines, you're in big trouble.)

    All this is utterly bewildering to us oldsters, for whom cursive handwriting is as automatic as blinking our eyes….

  5. It's amazing how many people say my son doesn't need to learn to write clearly. And they all back down when I list all the times he'll not have a keyboard available. (Except for one tester, who said to give up on it then recommended the occupational therapist, who has worked miracles.)

    There is at least one cursive program out there that wants students to get to the automatic writing stage; Mary Benbow's Loops and Groups. After learning each letter (I described teaching shoulder / wrist / pen sequence elsewhere), you write it with your eyes closed. Very interesting exercise,…

    The musculature developed while typing isn't the same as for penmanship, which adds to the problem with young adults today.

    It seems in relaxing the overly-restrictive rules for all sorts of things, they've thrown the baby out with the bathwater, and now they're playing catch-up. English teachers with poor grammar. Grade school teachers who don't know the most efficient ways to hold a pen. Cashiers who can't make change. Engineers who can't estimate.

  6. About penmanship… I always have troubles reading doctors' prescriptions Do doctors in your countries write horrible as well? Even,  I cannot read medicine names, sometimes; but pharmaceutical people can. I recently visited a nutritionist and she wrote a full low calories diet for me, but there are some words I can't read so I have to figure out what she tried to prescribe. Shorthand would be useful for doctors… Further, I'll take notes in shorthand when I go to the doctor again.

  7. Highly educated people tend to have messier handwriting. They've had to take notes at high speed in school, and their writing deteriorates.

    Pharmacists know the medications and what they're used for, and the standard dosages, so they can _usually_ guess right, but the statistics about fatalities due to poor handwriting are scary. There is an occupational therapist in the States who runs a program for doctors, after one doctor came to her after realized how dangerous his handwriting was. People reading doctors' handwriting really do have to speak up, otherwise the doctors won't realize there's a problem.

    There is a medical shorthand. Some of it is Latin, or abbreviations of Latin words. "bid" means twice a day. Younger doctors tend to use it less often.

    If you cannot read the nutritionist's writing, you should tell her. She needs to know, otherwise she will continue.

  8. Not in the least! (I suspect you're joking when you say I implied it.)

    When looking at handwriting from many people, the fast scrawls and indistinctly formed letters, m's that are mere jiggles in the line, ing's that are a long line with a fish-hook at the end, are more likely to be from folks who have written fast and a lot, with only themselves as intended readers.

    Some of the nicest handwriting I've seen is from a group I was training at work, who barely had grade 8. They wrote exactly as they were taught in school. It was neither smooth nor fast, but they paid attention to each and every stroke, and it was very easy for anyone to read.

  9. My first grade teacher — who is still alive, and has over 35 years of experience — told me once that in terms of penmanship, my class had the best cursive longhand penmanship, as compared to all of her first grade classes.  When I was in first grade, she experimented teaching script to the first graders in the second semester of school; apparently, the experiment was a success!  But, due to regulations from above, she could not teach cursive to her first graders anymore afterwards .  Incidentally, we had both good basic manuscript and cursive longhand penmanship.  So early introduction to cursive writing, especially to eager-learning first graders, may be a good strategy.

  10. My son's OT started the summer between grade 2 and 3. She skipped printing with him and went right to cursive. One of the Kindergarten teachers, when teaching in a private school, skipped manuscript and went right to unjoined italic, and says she got great results. Makes sense, the whole reason cursive and italic were invented were they were easier for the hand.

    Looking at Kate's site, it's so very good to know that this year isn't the only chance he'll have to learn neat handwriting.

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