Monday, January 24, 2011

A Three-Year-Old's Handwriting on the Wall

I spent much of last weekend, painting the walls in my house.  As any good home seller would do, I was trying to “spruce” up the look of the house while we were trying to sell it.  It was during this painting process that I realized my son has some pretty good penmanship for a three-year-old.  I saw numerous examples of it strewn across our walls in inconspicuous places.  Since this writing was done without my knowledge (and I assume his mothers’), I can’t be sure he meant to make any of the letters that he made but they were pretty well formed.  That made me think about how much he’ll truly be “writing” when he gets to school.  I rarely write any more unless it is a grocery list or a to-do list.  My son is very adept at navigating a mouse and most computer sites so I’m not sure how much writing he’ll ever need to do.   
Statistics say we send 294 billion e-mails and nearly five billion test messages every day.  I quickly embraced e-mail when it became common use but I fought the use of texting.  As a former language arts teacher, I couldn’t bring myself to intentionally misspell a word just to make it more convenient.  Eventually I succumbed to the pressure of my friends and family and started texting, but I cringe every time I receive a message with an incorrect spelling.  And I have, on occasion, saved time by taking the shortcuts.  But I’m not sure that’s a world I want my son growing up in. 
It appears that writing instruction is still going on in the classrooms I visit and with the teachers I speak to.  Will there still be an emphasis for writing instruction in two years, five years?  I hope so.  I have a feeling my most treasured possession will be a construction paper card from school with a handwritten, “I Love My Daddy” on it.
If you want to read more about whether penmanship is a lost art, you can link to this article by CBS News entitled, “Is Penmanship Being Written Off?” here