Corona del Mar High School

Reading in between the lines: Honing in on handwriting

Slowly ceasing, day by day, year by year. Once a privilege, now only found within a few. As learned in sophomore history classes, handwriting was first formed by ancient civilizations such as Rome, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China dating back to 3000 BCE. Early writings took place on clay tablets, stone, and papyrus.

Handwriting in the past was very important then and still very valuable today. In the early ages handwriting contributed greatly to the development of arts, sciences, and literature. Luckily, we still have some of these writings today and we often model our lives off of those in the past by reading what they wrote. Early written documents in American history include the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. These famous documents that we learn about in our history classes show how important writing is. Also, national handwriting day which was established in 1977, is on John Hancock’s birthday, January 23, as he is known for his large signature on The Declaration of Independence.

Our personal writing evolves over time. As we get older, we adopt new techniques and ways of writing. For example, if students read teacher’s marks written on their paper, and really liked the way the teacher wrote, for example, an “e”, the students would adopt that “e” and make it their own. Hence, their writing evolves.

Also, handwriting can indicate a person’s health. Overtime, if writing gets increasingly sloppier, it can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is also linked to Dysgraphia, which is a fancy word for messy writing.

People use three different types of writing: cursive, print script, and calligraphy. At CdM 88% of students use printing, 6% use cursive, and 5% use both.

Cursive was first used as a way to write faster, especially when using a quill because quills would break frequently from constantly being lifted off the page for each different letter. There are three types of cursive: ligature, italic, and looped. Ligature is similar to the normal cursive that we use today. Italic is when some of letters are connected and some are not. This type of cursive was used during the Italian Resistance in the 15th century. The last type of cursive is looped cursive, which is just like classic cursive connected by many loops.

Another type of writing is print script, also known as block letters or printing. This form of writing is unique because each letter is not connected from the rest. Most children in America are taught this writing as many think it is easier to read and many organizations prefer it.

The third type of writing is calligraphy. Calligraphy is more of an artistic way to write. One can use a pen, a pencil, a brush, or any other artistic device to form this type of writing. Calligraphy is most commonly used for fancier occasions such as invitations, art, or letters.

A way to unite, organize, and have one’s tangible ideas written down on a page, handwriting is slowly becoming obsolete. Once an essential part to everyday life, now it is being replaced by technology. Hopefully this artform will not soon disappear forever.