NPR logo Penmanship in the Digital Age

Penmanship in the Digital Age

This weekend, Liane Hansen is interviewing author Kitty Burns Florey, who wrote a book about the decline of penmanship in our digital age. I remember how proud I was in the third grade, when I was finally allowed to start writing in cursive. But I have also seen the quality of my handwriting decline after spending years using a computer.

But last December, my father passed away. Among the mementos I inherited from him were several beautiful fountain pens and inkwells. Having never used a fountain pen, I had no idea how to fill them or use them, but I tried. After several months of sporting ink-stained hands from pen-filling mishaps, I've gotten the hang of it.

I have always been a person who enjoys writing letters in cursive, despite the ease and speed of e-mail. I find the experience of writing a letter on pretty stationery in my best (attempt at) handwriting to be a rewarding one. My letters always get positive feedback.

Recently, I began keeping a journal. Sometimes it's in cursive. Sometimes it's in print.

But I'm doing all of this as a hobby. I think I'd be fine if I didn't know how to write in cursive.

So I wonder... is it really NECESSARY for schools to focus on cursive handwriting? What do you think?