The Lost Art of Handwriting


My daughter is brilliant, charming, athletic, scrumptiously cute… but not perfect.

Despite all of her wonderful qualities (which surely she inherited from her mother… ahem!), she has some issues.

It’s not her choice in music that I am referring to; rather, it’s her penmanship.

My second grader’s handwriting leaves a lot to be desired.

I’d flat out say it stinks, but she’s seven, so time is on her side. What’s more, I don’t want to deal with her wrath if there ever comes a day that she actually reads this post.

Anyway, back to her pathetic penmanship.

I could blame technology.

After all, these days, most kids are more familiar with a keyboard than a pencil. When they are not tapping away on a tablet or laptop, they’re texting on smartphones.

Problem is my kid doesn’t own a smartphone. Neither do I.

Ditto for the iPad or laptop.

We’re old school around here. And by old school I mean poor.

We don’t have any fancy schmancy expensive electronic devices that allow us to download apps called “abc PocketPhonics,” which supposedly instruct young children to draw letters with their finger or a stylus, and reward correct movements with digitized images of cheering pencils.

However, we do have plenty of paper and pencils… mechanical ones at that.

Okay, so I guess we’re not old, old school.

Still, my kid complains about her wrist hurting when mean mommy forces her to hand write thank you cards to her legions of generous benefactors.

You’d think with all that practice my child’s handwriting would be as neat as Felix Unger’s sock drawer.

Ironically, the more she writes the more her penmanship suffers.

How can that be?

According to researchers interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, handwriting is still an essential learning tool. Experts maintain that writing by hand “helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.”

Now, is that something you can really get from a $1.99 app?

I’ll never know because I plan to continue “forcing” my kid to hand write notes to ensure the fine art of penmanship doesn’t fade with her generation.

How does your child’s handwriting stack up?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.