In this essay I wanted to focus on writing scenes of memory. In the previous essay I didn’t work as hard as I could have on the scene I chose to include and did not develop it very much. I also decided to focus on the development of my thesis and my ideas. I am proud of the growth of my scene of memory. I think I did a better job of writing it than the memory in my previous essay. I am also proud of the topic I chose and how I was able to tie it back to literacy and identity. As we continue to write essays I want to do a better job of making my scenes of memory more engaging. I want to be able to express my ideas more concisely and also be able to include a greater variety of ideas.
I stare steadily at the open composition book lying on my dining room table. The pencil I hold trembles slightly as I tentatively move the tip towards the empty paper waiting below me. Slowly and carefully I start copying the words my abuela has written on a separate piece of paper. La gata come su pollo. I copy the sentence over and over again until I’m sure my abuela will be satisfied. When I’m finished I look down at my handiwork and smile triumphantly. The words I just finished copying are legible, though aesthetically mediocre. My handwriting has improved drastically since I began practicing at the beginning of summer vacation. It isn’t something I chose to do. My mother insisted that I learn to write neatly. In previous school years teachers often complained of my almost illegible handwriting and my mother decided it was time for a change. My mother not only decided that I would be taking daily handwriting lessons but also decided that my abuela would be my teacher. I had not been excited and I still am not excited to have to spend hours copying meaningless sentence after sentence. For what has to be at least the hundredth time this month I wonder why handwriting seems so important to every adult I have ever met. Why do I have to have perfect my handwriting? Is handwriting still relevant in an age where we can type everything we want to write on phones, computers, and other electronic devices?
“Handwriting, e.g., using the hand to form letters on a page, is essential in the writing process and can predict the amount and quality of children‘s written ideas.” There are multiple reasons handwriting is important. One of these reasons, as quoted above, is the fact that handwriting influences the writing process and improves quality of written ideas. Handwriting influences composition, explained in the following quote: “Handwriting, and in particular the automaticity of letter production, appears to facilitate higher-order composing processes by freeing up working memory to deal with the complex tasks of planning, organising, revising and regulating the production of text. Research suggests that automatic letter writing is the single best predictor of length and quality of written composition in the primary years... in secondary school and even in the post-compulsory education years.” Handwriting abilities are also pretty accurate reflectors of success in school, grades, and test performance: “Not only were students with better penmanship in pre-k found to have higher scores in both reading and math later on, but they also had higher grades in general and higher scores on standardized tests. Students with strong handwriting marks in pre-k were found to have an overall “B” average in second grade compared to an overall “C” average for the students that did poorly on writing tasks in pre-K.” Handwriting not only affects writing but also reading skills: “Dr. Dinehart did point out in her report that studies have found that children who physically write letters recognize them more readily than students who type them on the keyboard, possibly meaning that handwriting instruction leads to better reading skills.” All these studies and research on handwriting prove that it is a fundamental aspect of literacy because it influences writing, reading, and school success. Even with all these apparent benefits schools have stopped teaching children to write neatly, the focus is never on handwriting. Handwriting is essential to our development as writers and yet we are never encouraged nor taught to write properly and as perfectly as possible. In the past, students were graded on handwriting and taught to write neatly and legibly. Whenever adults talk about their experiences in school they almost always talk about how when they were in school they had to write neatly and they were taught how to write neatly.They complain about how that has changed and how awful their child or children’s handwriting is. After researching handwriting I have come to agree with them. Handwriting is an important part of developing literacy but it is also more than that. It is an opportunity for each one of us to express our own individual personality and interpretation of literacy.
In recent years we have been moving away from paper and pencil literacy and have been focusing on technological literacy. Although being able to type instead of always writing by hand is wonderful it is important to not dismiss the importance of handwriting. It is essential that we are be literate with technology but other types of literacy are just as important. There is no one type of literacy that can take precedence over the others and it is vital to keep all literacies balanced because different types of literacy depend on each other. To be well rounded and to truly understand the world we need to be literate in every way possible. We shouldn’t dismiss handwriting and certain other types of literacy just because we are now more technologically advanced. To do so would be to ignore a fundamental part of the development of our individual literacy and understanding of the soul, spirit, mind, body, and universe. To maintain our own individuality and uniqueness in relation to literacy we must know how to express ourselves through our handwriting. To be able to understand the ideas of the many people who use technology and social media to express themselves we must be technologically literate. To understand the music and messages spread through music we must be musically literate. None of these types of literacies outweigh each other; they all add up into a unique and complete understanding and comprehension of the world.
Clark, Gloria Jean. "The Relationship between Handwriting, Reading, Fine Motor and Visual-motor Skills in Kindergarteners."Http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/. Iowa State University, 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2432&context=etd>
Medwell, Jane, and David Wray. "Handwriting: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?" Literacy 41.1 (2007): 10-15. Apr. 2007. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <http://www.drawingchildrenintoreading.com/assets/handwriting-article-medwell_jane.pdf>.
Stevens, Angie. "Is Handwriting an Important Part of Language and Literacy Instruction?" - Reading Horizons. Reading Horizons, 2 Feb. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog/post/2012/02/07/is-handwriting-an-important-part-of-language-and-literacy-instruction.aspx>.