How Important is Handwriting?

We always hear of children being praised for ‘good handwriting’. Although I’ve heard it more in India than here.

I’ve even heard people praising schools for developing children’s handwriting, sending children for handwriting and calligraphy classes. Our apartment’s email group has emails every few days about someone advertising hand writing lessons, there were even handwriting lessons during the summer hols.

I can’t help wonder why this focus on ‘beautiful handwriting’. While I’m all for clear legible writing, I’m not completely sure if it is necessary to send children to classes for it?

The other day Daughter got into the mode of writing beautifully. Now her normal writing is perfectly fine. You can easily read what she writes. Is it beautiful? I have no idea. I’m it sure I care either, as far as she can communicate effectively. As far as I’m concerned, what she writes is far more important. So as I was saying, she got into the mode of ‘I’m going to write beautifully’. She was so caught up on ‘writing beautifully’, that she ended up with a piece that was substandard, for her. She did not read/review what she wrote, and also made grammatical mistakes that she never does, just because, her whole focus was on making the writing look beautiful.

That to me, is a bigger crime than handwriting that doesn’t look ‘beautiful’. And anyway, does it matter at all? Have you at any point in life felt that you are getting a raw deal because your handwriting isn’t up to the mark? I haven’t. I haven’t even written much since my college days. I don’t know… I just don’t like this craziness about it.

While I can’t get the whole world to change, I just hope I can help daughter focus on what is truly important. That substance more than appearance is what will matter through life. Be that in your writing or anything else.

Edited to add: I published the post earlier, by mistake. It wasn’t complete, and realised only later that it had got published, and you guys have also commented on it. So sorry. My darn phone!

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29 thoughts on “How Important is Handwriting?

  1. Ah well, I guess its not really THAT important, but as long as someone is legible its fine! Earlier days when there was only typewriter, I think it did matter, because it spoke about your professionalism and stuff but now a days with all documents submitted on the computer, I dont think it really matters!

    • Exactly! So isn’t it time to focus of what really matters? I mean I would rather my child is able to speak in public with confidence, for instance.

  2. Handwriting classes… really?
    My son’s handwriting is horrible because he is always in a hurry to finish it off, The teacher keeps telling me, I keep nodding obediently πŸ˜€

    • πŸ™‚ Yes, there are classes for it! I was shocked when I found out too:) Here thankfully, they are rather relaxed about things like handwriting. All that is important is that the child writes clearly. They teach cursive writing to the children who are able to pick it up because they say that you can write faster if you write in cursive. Sometimes, apparently, children have top many ideas in their heads which get transfered faster on to paper if they used joined up writing. Interesting, no?

  3. I hv been on recieveing end of bad handwriting for a good part of my school life! Today while its not great but its definetely legible!

    Now if Poohi wants to get into “good handwriting” mode well why not? She definetely knows there is no pressure so why not if she enjoys it?

      • Ha ha! Even I thot it was too abrupt a ending.

        V interesting what u said – That substance more than apperance is what will matter through life. Be that in your writing or anything else.

        Maybe its a good lesson for her to learn that its stuff inside that matters n maybe to learn that while she pays attention to details, she cant ignore the bigger picture

        Nice post Smitha!

        • Yes, that is so important, isn’t it? And the details that matter. Sometimes we obsess about details which do not really matter to the whole picture, don’t we?

    • The problem with her focus of good handwriting is that she completely forgets about what she is supposed to write. For instance, if she is writing a story, her story is undoubtedly better when her focus is on that, rather than on keeping her writing beautiful.

  4. Good topic! yeah i suppose it doesn’t really matter in the long term, especially in this day and age when you only use your pen when you have to put down your initials somewhere. And it is definitely more important for it to be to be legible than beautiful–beautiful isn’t always legible and vice-versa! There was this friend in college whose handwriting looked beautiful from a distance but was difficult to read through because you couldn’t tell o from a, y from g and so on.

    • Exactly my point! Sometimes daughter does that. She’s got the idea that making her writing small, makes it pretty, but it also makes it almost impossible to read! I would rather work on clear, legible writing.

  5. Hmmm agree with you totally. Though I am a sucker for a good handwriting but a bad writing wouldn’t make me change opnion of a person….

    Of course!

    Like you said What matters at the end of the day is that you are able to express what you want to….period!
    Yes, that is what I want daughter to understand.

  6. Well said, Smitha! That’s one of the things I like about son’s school (now daughter’s too πŸ™‚ ). They don’t want beautiful, they just want it to be neat and legible. And after a certain point, does it really matter?

    • oh yes! We had discussed something on these lines , hadn’t we? ‘ they just want it to be neat and legible’ – And that is enough, isn’t it?

  7. Good handwriting is definitely an asset, and I have particularly seen this true of kids whose answer sheets contain good writing as opposed to shabby ones. However that does not compensate for grammatical mistakes and other errors. If she has a natural handwriting that is good, by all means let her keep it and be proud of it (if she feels). But she does not necessarily have to go out of her way to “make it beautiful”. As long as its decently legible, it should be ok.

    • If by shabby, it means illegible, then I can understand. But if it is perfectly readable, then marks should not be based on which handwriting looks better, should it?
      Her natural handwriting is fine.. Sometimes she scrawls, and that is definitely not acceptable by me, because that indicates a lack of interest in what she is doing.

  8. Legibility is the core issue here I think. Bad handwriting often means illegible handwriting. Beyond that all should be fine. If it looks pretty it’s an added bonus.

    • If bad handwriting means illegible writing, then we should focus on it. Although I am still not sure if I would send my child to a class for it πŸ™‚

  9. Well, I think to a certain extent having a good handwriting does hold some value. Of course the substance certainly matters more, but if it is teamed with legible and beautiful writing, then I think it helps in making an even better impression and understanding of what the person is trying to express. I feel its mutually connected.

    I agree that it adds to the impression, but when it comes to things like marks, surely handwriting should not matter as much as the substance – as far as the writing is clear, I mean. It is a definite bonus, I agree, in terms of how your written piece comes across, no question about that.

    Having said that, conducting handwriting classes is a bit too much, I agree!
    I know, Deeps! I can;t bring myself to understand why we need classes for that, and that too for really young children who are just learning how to write. Surely classes can wait?

  10. Good handwriting matters… beautiful or not – I dont think that matters too much!
    As long as what’s written can be read, Poohi kutty should be fine! πŸ™‚
    My English Teacher in school was very particular about handwriting and I thank her for it even today! She never said it had to be beautiful – she made sure it was neat and legible πŸ™‚

  11. Couldn’t agree more. When we hardly write these days, how beautiful our handwriting looks shouldn’t really matter. I mean, it is okay as long as it is legible. Of course, the content matters more than the way it looks! Calligraphy is a different thing altogether – it is a marketable skill, and I think it deserves to be learnt.

    • You know, these classes that I am talking about, I seriously doubt they teach Calligraphy in that sense. I think it is just a posh word thrown in to impress parents πŸ™‚

  12. For the normal development kids, maybe it is faster than typing. Maybe. I doubt that’s true for the SEN kids though and I should know! When your co-ordination is screwed, it is quicker to type and your hand doesn’t ache afterwards. I can write quickly. I can write legibly. just not both at once. It takes me maybe about half an hour to produce a page-long typed text, 12 point font if I’m dawdling and get distracted and I doubt it’s as long as that. On the other hand, writing a postcard can easily take me at least 2 hours. So, yeh, it is quicker to type.

  13. Good handwriting matters but it is not necessary to send children to classes for it, in your home Children can also improve by daily writing a paragraph or a lesson….in this way children improve there handwriting, and also learn too many things.

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