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Penmanship Gets A Push In Riverhead Schools

New grammar curriculum adopted.

Back in the old days, penmanship was as much a part of back-to-school as ABCs.

Who doesn't remember the endless hours spent painstakingly working on the Palmer method, with teachers gently demonstrating the perfect cursive?

In today's computer-oriented society, when students load backpacks with laptops and iPods, penmanship often takes a backseat -- and some students think "cursive," is, well, a dirty word.

With an eye toward focusing on the basics at the Riverhead Central School district, a new program was adopted Tuesday at the board of education meeting. Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said the new, district-wide grammar program will focus on improving students' writing.

A committee was formed to help choose the program; Board of Education President Ann Cotten-DeGrasse said 'The Fundamentals of Grammar & Conventions" was an excellent choice and will spotlight cursive handwrighting.

The program will be implemented in grades K through 8 and will commence in the 2012-2013 school year.

"It's interesting to see we've come full circle," said BOE member Amelia Lantz. She added, smiling, "Maybe before my child graduates, I'll be able to read her handwriting."

Do you remember learning cursive handwriting in school? Are you glad teachers will be focusing on handwriting and grammar? Tell us how you feel in the comments section.

Kate Gladstone August 30, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Handwriting matters ... does cursive matter? Research shows: the fastest, most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join some letters, not all: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, using print-like shapes for letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citation: Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY. 2001: on-line at tinyurl.com/BestHandwriters ) When following a rule works less well than breaking it, upgrade the rules: teach handwriting that's closer to what the fastest, clearest writers do anyway. Reading cursive still matters: this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old who knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it. (In other words, let's teach kids to _read_ old-fashioned handwriting and save the months or years of teaching them to write that way too.) By the way: whatever your schoolteachers may have been told by their schoolteachers, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Don't take my word for this: ask any attorney.) Yours for better letters, Kate Gladstone — CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works Director, the World Handwriting Contest Co-Designer, BETTER LETTERS handwriting trainer app for iPhone/iPad http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

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