Being the author of over thirty language arts and composition books, I get asked quite often about penmanship. Unfortunately, penmanship is not my area of expertise. Language arts and composition are communications/English courses—penmanship, however, is art!! Smile… In other words, I didn’t do the greatest job at penmanship instruction, in spite of my two credit hour penmanship class during college. (I can, however, write fairly nicely when I have “my” pens and write slowly.)

Therefore, I will give you some insights that I have gained along the way—in case you have kids with illegible writing that needs turned around in the next four weeks before school starts! And after you read my meager attempts to help you with penmanship, please go to the link provided at the end. Those people know what they’re talking about when it comes to penmanship help—and maybe you will get the assistance you are seeking! 

1. Penmanship and composition are two very different things. Composition is “writing,” in the sense of putting sentences and paragraphs together. Penmanship is, in my humble opinion, art.

2. Children do not “catch” penmanship. Trust me on this. It doesn’t just happen. Children need detailed, step-by-step penmanship instruction.

3. It takes forever for a child to learn to write—and even longer for a child to learn to read—cursive writing. Thankfully, there is a lot of research coming out lately arguing whether cursive writing is really needed.

4. Penmanship requires daily practice and thorough follow up. Once you check a penmanship page, the child will need a lot of help learning to form the incorrect letters right.

5. Penmanship should be done at a desk or table with the proper writing tool.

6. Penmanship needs to be done out of a penmanship book with the correct letters modeled and preferably with the stroke order given (i.e. start here, next go there, etc.).

That’s all folks. My limited advice about penmanship. It is one subject I wish I had done differently from the very beginning…so learn from my mistakes! 

And now, the link to really help you with penmanship:

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