Will the power of the pen return?

Published 10:17 pm Friday, September 18, 2015

I have watched with sadness as the art of handwriting seems to go the way of the dodo bird. With everyone typing — whether on a small phone screen or the keyboard of a computer — it seems like handwriting is a lost skill and dying art.

The onset of Common Core and other nation-wide standards has helped make handwriting even more obsolete. “Keyboarding skills” are part of the Common Core requirements, but handwriting is not.

That’s why I am thrilled to see that some states are bringing back the power of the pen. Arkansas and Tennessee have recently added cursive writing instruction to elementary schools, and Florida has added it back to its fourth- and fifth-grade standards. Other states, such as California, Georgia, Kansas and North Carolina, have enacted similar measures.

Obviously I’m a bit biased, because my job often requires me to take written notes, and to take them quickly. Yes, I can record conversations on my Android smartphone, or even take notes with the stylus, but it’s still far more convenient for me to jot them down in my reporter’s notebook.

Even so, I think most would agree that handwriting is a useful skill for anyone. It might be hard to believe, but there are going to be times when a touchscreen or keyboard won’t be immediately available and you’ll still have to write with paper and pen.

Also, in this technology-filled world, a handwritten letter or note makes a bigger statement than ever before. I know that my mom would be happy to receive a text message on Mother’s Day, but the perfect hand-written card or letter will bring a tear to her eye.

I hope that our schools continue to teach handwriting, because communication is such an important skill to learn.

But D’Nealian can go away for good. I wouldn’t wish that torture on any kid.