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Yeah, apparently Jan. 23, National Handwriting Day, was last week. However, as someone whose scholarly specialty wouldn’t exist without manuscripts, I figure EVERY day is handwriting day.

Also, as bad as some of my students’ handwriting is (sorry), I still have them write at least one essay exam or “in-class essay”–how else to assess their “raw” skills? Editing is just too easy with word-processing.

Kitty Burns Florey has written a book tracing the history & importance of writing:

By the end of my journey into the world of penmanship–from the Phoenicians to the Bic, from monks in their scriptoria to Bill Gates at the keyboard–I’d found plenty of evidence that handwriting is a skill that should be kept alive.

Educators I talked to claim that kids master reading more easily when they write a word as they learn it: the writing process keeps their attention focused as they match symbol to sound.

She notes that handwriting is also important for taking notes. I’ll certainly back that up–students who take notes in class or who take notes as they read are much more likely to retain the material and have their own ideas about it.