KateGladstone (Kate Gladstone)

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State to decide standards for student handwriting

It's good to see proposed "an adaptive, legible hybrid of print and cursive" by 6th grade.
The fastest, clearest handwriters pen a hybrid. High-speed, high-legibility writers tend to join some letters, not all: using the easiest joins, skipping others, with print-like forms of letters whose cursive and printed forms disagree. (Sources on request.)

Why not seek this _throughout_ elementary school, not just 6th grade? (By then, many children and teachers give up on handwriting. Writing that Is "adaptive [and] legible" must reach them sooner.)

Equally vital: reading cursive. Kids who read print (even 5- or 6-year-olds) can be taught to read cursive—just to read it—in 30-60 minutes. (There's even an iPad app teaching how: "Read Cursive"—http://appstore.com/readcursive .) Let's ensure kids read cursive—with other vital skills, such as writing that's actually typical of highly effective handwriters. "Adaptive, legible handwriting" mustn't wait till 6th grade: teach it from the get-go.

Educated people are quitting cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference run by Zaner-Bloser, a cursive textbook publisher. Only 37% wrote cursive; another 8% printed. The majority—55%—wrote a hybrid: partly like print-writing, partly like cursive. Why not learn from this? Why wait till 6th grade to encourage the most effective handwriting?

Note: the Board's current unanimous recommendation gives a choice of either "cursive or joined italic" as ways to fulfill the handwriting requirement as children get past the separate-letters stage. (See the Board resolution quoted at http://www.ccenterdispatch.com/news/s... ) "Joined italic" is a handwriting with hybrid character: print-like letter design—and freedom to lift the pen where a join would be error-prone.

As an international provider of handwriting instruction/remediation/curricular consultation services, I've taught both: conventional cursive and hybrid-like joined italic. In my experience and observation, joined italic works far better for clarity, speed, and error-resistance throughout school and later life. Dare I hope the Board and/or districts are consulting those USA publishers who offer joined italic methods? Two known to me, with excellent results, are BFHhandwriting.com and handwritingsuccess.com—let's not focus relentlessly on cursive. Why postpone "adaptable, legible" handwriting till 6th grade?

Mandating cursive to preserve handwriting is like mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to preserve the art of tailoring.

[AUTHOR BIO: Kate Gladstone ownsHandwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works and directs the World Handwriting Contest: http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com ]

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December 9, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is it important for students to learn cursive handwriting?

The research on handwriting and fine motor skills actually establishes that these are developed by *all* forms of handwriting, not merely by cursive.

Kate Gladstone

CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works

Director, World Handwriting Contest

http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

December 14, 2012 at 6:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas to adopt standards for cursive writing

Handwriting matters ... But does cursive matter?
Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citations appear below)

When following the rules doesn't work as well as breaking them, it’s time to re-write and upgrade the rules. The discontinuance of cursive offers a great opportunity to teach some better-functioning form of handwriting that is actually closer to what the fastest, clearest handwriters do anyway. (There are indeed textbooks and curricula teaching handwriting this way. Cursive and printing are not the only choices.)

Reading cursive still matters — this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.

(In other words, we could simply teach kids to _read_ old-fashioned handwriting and save the year-and-a-half that are expected to be enough for teaching them to _write_ that way too ... not to mention the actually longer time it takes to teach someone to perform such writing _well_.)

Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don't take my word for this: talk to any attorney.)

CITATIONS:

/1/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY.
1998: on-line at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2...

and

/2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer.
DEVELOPMENT OF HANDWRITING SPEED AND LEGIBILITY IN GRADES 1-9.
1998: on-line at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2...

(NOTE: there are actually handwriting programs that teach this way.
Shouldn't there be more of them?)

Yours for better letters,

Kate Gladstone
Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
and the World Handwriting Contest
http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

December 13, 2012 at 5:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas to adopt standards for cursive writing

You missed b, f, k, r, y, A, E, F, H, I, J, M, N, Q, T, Y and Z among others). You missed the way that every cursive lower-case letter has to change when it follows a letter b, o, v, or w ... And you missed the change of slant (from zero slant in print-writing to 20-soe-odd degrees rightward for cursive writing.)

Your omissions disturb me less than the spectacular blunder of the Board (or of the reporter?) in saying that cursive is also known as "joined italics." The style called "joined italics" is quite a different style (and, in my judgment as a handwriting teacher, a much better one). To see what "joined italics" is like, visit http://www.BFHhandwriting.com or http://www.handwritingsuccess.com or http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com or http://www.italic-handwriting.org ... Saying that "cursive is also known as joined italics" is about as productive (of rational discussion on the subject) as saying that "Canada is also known as the northern USA."

Kate Gladstone
Director, the World Handwriting Contest
CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

December 13, 2012 at 5:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Lost arts — and sciences

Handwriting matters ... But does cursive matter?
Research shows: the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citations appear below)

Even the teachers of handwriting seldom stick to cursive when they are off duty. Earlier this year (January 2012), when the handwriting publisher Zaner-Bloser surveyed teachers at a handwriting conference it sponsored, 55% stated that they write a hybrid of cursive and print styles. Another 8% admitted that their everyday handwriting is printing — only 37% (fewer than two-fifths!) claimed that they themselves write in cursive. (Source: http://www.hw21summit.com/media/zb/hw... )

When even teachers of handwriting won't practice what they preach — when rules work less well than breaking them — it’s time to re-write and upgrade the rules. Discontinuing cursive may allow teaching some better-functioning form of handwriting tBeth's actually closer to what the fastest, clearest writers do anyway. (There are indeed textbooks and curricula teaching this way. Cursive and printing are not the only choices.)

Reading cursive still matters — this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to 5- or 6-year-old who know how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no excuse for writing it.
(In other words, we could simply teach kids to _read_ old-fashioned handwriting and save the year-and-a-half of teaching them to _write_ that way too ... not to mention the actually longer time it takes to teach someone to perform such writing _well_. That move, in itself, would prevent squandering time and effort urgently needed for science and other crucial learning.)
Remember, too: whatever your schoolteachers may have been heard from their schoolteachers, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don't take my word for this: ask any attorney.)

CITATIONS:

/1/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY.
1998: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2...

and

/2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer.
DEVELOPMENT OF HANDWRITING SPEED AND LEGIBILITY IN GRADES 1-9.
1998: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2...

Kate Gladstone
Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
and the World Handwriting Contest
http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

November 19, 2012 at 12:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas surveys districts about cursive handwriting

Handwriting matters ... But does cursive matter?
Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citations appear below.)
When following the rules doesn’t work as well as breaking them, it’s time to re-write and upgrade the rules. The discontinuance of cursive offers a great opportunity to teach some better-functioning form of handwriting that is actually closer to what the fastest, clearest handwriters do anyway. (There are indeed textbooks and curricula teaching handwriting this way. Cursive and printing are not the only choices.)
Reading cursive still matters — this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.
(In other words, we could simply teach kids to _read_ old-fashioned handwriting and save the year-and-a-half that are expected to be enough for teaching them to _write_ that way too ... not to mention the actually longer time it takes to teach someone to perform such writing _well_.)

Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don't take my word for this: talk to any attorney.)

CITATIONS:

/1/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY.
1998: on-line at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2...

and

/2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer.
DEVELOPMENT OF HANDWRITING SPEED AND LEGIBILITY IN GRADES 1-9.
1998: on-line at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2...

(NOTE: there are actually handwriting programs that teach this way.
Shouldn't there be more of them?)

Yours for better letters,

Kate Gladstone
Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
and the World Handwriting Contest
http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/...

November 14, 2012 at 11:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Disappearing ink

Students don't compete in handwriting contests? In the USA and internationally, participation in the children's and teens' divisions of the World Handwriting Contest has grown exponentially every year since the Contest launched in the year 2000.

May 22, 2006 at 6:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )