Is handwriting overrated?

Today it’s National Handwriting Day and I have started wondering whether handwriting has a future or not in our times where the use of computers and tablets is widely spread in schools.

Is handwriting dead? If not, should we parents be worried?

fountain pen writing letters

Every week, my 10 year old son Diego comes home with a list of words to learn for a weekly spelling test. He is very good at learning the words but his handwriting is really poor along with that of most of his school fellows – I know it from the Christmas cards we receive every year which are the only hand-written letters we actually get.

At his age I used to have a couple of pen pals in Italy and in England, my handwriting was very good and my written language was excellent – I enjoyed writing (I still do) and more importantly I craved receiving hand-written letters addressed to me through the post. I tried to encourage and organise a pen pals group at my son’s school but I did not get much enthusiasm neither from children nor from parents. So I started it on my own with my son but this also failed after a few letters exchanged. Have social media destroyed the power of handwriting?

I think so. At least in England it is still very popular to send Christmas cards, but elsewhere in most parts of Europe handwritten letters are regarded as old school. What a shame! I am a bit old school and nostalgic but I am missing it…

I keep all handwritten letters I still receive from people of a certain generation who don’t use computers, but do wonder what will happen to them if found by some descendant who is so unused to seeing old-fashioned cursive writing that they decide the letters may in fact be in a foreign language. Will they take these ‘artefacts’ to a museum to be interpreted by handwriting experts?

writing

These days children are taught joined-up writing at school, but little effort is expected from them in terms of handwriting, while they focus more on developing computer skills, coding and programming.

As a result, the children write less and less by hand. Even outside of school this skills seems to be less relevant.

But I feel handwriting is still a necessity, an important skill alongside reading, listening and speaking. It is scientifically proven that handwriting impacts on memory and the ability to absorb information.

Another important point about being able to write fluidly and quickly is that it frees up mental energy to concentrate on content. Fast, legible handwriting shows the child is confident and in control.

Learning how to use a fountain pen properly, and how to write in italic script can help children to take more pride in what they do write.

My conclusion is that handwriting is not overrated and we should continue put some emphasis to teach our children before we loose that skill all together in the world.

writing-a-diary-me-time-treats

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