Time has an article this week on “Mourning the Death of Handwriting.” It’s an interesting read…
People born after 1980 tend to have a distinctive style of handwriting: a little bit sloppy, a little bit childish and almost never in cursive. The knee-jerk explanation is that computers are responsible for our increasingly illegible scrawl, but Steve Graham, a special-education and literacy professor at Vanderbilt University, says that’s not the case. The simple fact is that kids haven’t learned to write neatly because no one has forced them to. “Writing is just not part of the national agenda anymore,” he says.
I have attrocious handwriting. I learned to print in kindergarten, first and second grade in North Carolina. And then we moved to Illinois for third grade. One small problem, though. In Illinois, students learned cursive in the second grade and required all third graders to write everything in cursive. So I was instantly behind.
My teacher basically forced me to learn cursive within a couple of weeks. The resulting script was never natural, always appearing forced. Eventually, I dropped the cursive for a somewhat illegible print-cursive hybrid. Other than a severe dislike of writing thank you notes and cards, I’ve never really run into a problem.
Despite the overhyped headline, I do not think handwriting will go away. People will write on paper for decades (and centuries) to come. But I think the art of handwriting is out of fashion, in the schools and with children. Formal handwriting is simply not a priority at this point in time for either.
As for me, I will always wish my handwriting was a little better.