Checking the mail is something I dread daily. There are always bills to pay, as well as plenty of junk mail that I will never open or look at. Then there are the days (ok, maybe weeks) that I will have forgotten about the mail entirely. Life is busy. And with two kids, a dog and a husband- those little tasks often fall by the wayside. There is nothing quite like getting the mail after you have neglected it for a while. Like hitting the lottery, mail of all sizes pour out of the mailbox. Eagerly you paw through your riches in search for anything you might want. The “Holy Grail” would usually be white with real handwriting on the front and sealed with a stamp. This illusive piece of mail is rarely seen anymore. The almighty letter.
There are many reasons handwritten letters are falling by the wayside. With technology today we are in constant contact. So writing a letter to someone would be redundant and pointless. Chances are you will have already spoken to them and covered what would have been in the letter in the first place. Time is another factor. We are busier than ever, and don’t have time to sit down and write a correspondence. Then there is handwriting in general. What was once taught daily, now is taught seasonally. The length of time spent on penmanship has greatly decreased as well from a “distinct daily lesson” in the 1970’s to a couple minutes a week for a couple months.
When I was in grade school, our district was a teaching district. They would try all sorts of new ideas out on us to see the benefits of different curriculum. One of these was cursive italics. When other third graders were learning the fluid strokes of cursive, we learned an awkward mix of print and cursive that was not taught very long is schools.
What does that mean for me?
- I missed out on learning how to write cursive. This is one of those life skills you don’t need often, but when you do you are SO grateful you have it.
- My handwriting will forever be awful.
This week I came across an article on Psychology Today titled “Why Writing By Hand Could Change Your Life.” written by Temma Ehrenfeld. It states that, “Writing by hand is easier than using a keyboard—and more fruitful. In one study, (link is external) second-graders wrote more words, faster, by pen than by keyboard; fourth- and sixth-graders were more likely to write complete sentences with a pen. Other research (link is external) found that kids produce more ideas when writing by hand and that hand-written essays are more coherent and thoughtful—as well as grammatical.” It also says, “While the art of handwriting is dying out, and may require additional effort to learn initially, that extra attention could benefit both children and adults in terms of literacy, retention, and articulation. “
So here is my writing challenge. Lets dust off those pens and paper, and send a letter to someone you love. Pass a note rather than send a text. Keep a journal. Because according to co-author Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, the finger movements used when writing activate parts of the brain that help us think.”
Why are we writing about handwriting when we have an app for the computer that requires typing instead of writing? A great way to support student learning on Bloomz is to take articles such as this and highlight the article in posts. Take a picture of a student writing a paper, or learning the art of letter writing. Then reference current research on all of the amazing things their children are gaining from the work that they are doing daily in class. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to gain the trust and respect of parents, and will set you up for success come conference time. The research is out there on the benefits of school curriculum. Find it, use it, and don’t be afraid to highlight it. It makes a huge difference.