Sorry, Dr. House. Study correlates neat handwriting with academic success

Dennis Baron debaron at UIUC.EDU
Tue Nov 6 05:25:11 UTC 2007

There's a new post on the Web of Language:

Sorry, Dr. House.  Study correlates neat handwriting with academic  

At least that’s what elementary school teachers believe.  Just when  
we thought that our schools were finally catching up with their  
students by teaching keyboarding instead of old-fashioned  
handwriting, a Newsweek report reveals that most teachers actually  
think kids who can copy out their letters in a big, round hand  
“produced written assignments that were superior in quantity and  
quality and resulted in higher grades – aside from being easier to  

... this glorification of handwriting is just another example of the  
growing disconnect between education and the needs of actual writers,  
and I’m not just saying this because my own handwriting is  
illegible.  It made sense for 19th-century American schools to push  
handwriting as an essential skill because legible handwriting was  
necessary to secure an office job. The schools weren’t aiming very  
high if their goal was to prepare children for a life of clerking,  
but that’s apparently why they also taught such “essential” critical- 
thinking skills as alphabetizing and coloring inside the lines to  
third-graders like me back in 1952. ...

Keep reading ... go to the Web of Language

Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

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