Penmanship instruction is making a comeback. For a couple of decades, especially in the 1980s, time spent on handwriting in school was replaced by instruction in computer and keyboard skills. Then with greater emphasis on testing, math and reading pushed penmanship of the curriculum. “Schools couldn’t add more time to the day or add more days to the week, so we began to see less emphasis on formal handwriting instruction,” Dennis Williams, of Zaner-Bloser, one of the best-known publishers of handwriting materials for schools, tells the Associated Press.
Nearly 200,000 people (!) competed in the most recent national handwriting grand championship, with the title going to Arizona seventh-grader Emily Rose Neeb.
USA Today, meanwhile reports spelling is gaining importance again with states increasingly testing students on their writing skills. “Rather than relying on word lists, some school districts are taking a different, more holistic method to spelling instruction. A program called “Spelling for Writers” emphasizes word patterns, roots and meanings rather than relying on word lists, the paper notes.
The 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee begins tomorrow in Washington.