# Many teachers say they don't deduct points for bad handwriting in class, but Graham says that is not what the research tells him. When adults are given the same composition written in good handwriting and poor handwriting, they give lower grades if the text is less legible, he said.
# While only 15 percent of students wrote their 2006 SAT essays in cursive, 85 percent of students who did use cursive had higher test scores than those who printed their essays.
# When researchers recently discovered a poem, they were able to determine that the poem was written by Robert Frost because it was written in his handwriting. But what if Robert Frost had typed his poem on a computer? There would be no way to prove if the poem was his, the researchers noted.
More AboutFountain Pens
Many years ago, writers used feathers or quills as writing tools. They dipped a sharp end of the quill into ink. Some noticed that a “reservoir” of ink welled up inside the end of the sharpened quill, so they tried to create a manmade pen that would hold more ink and not require frequent dipping into a bottle of ink. People tried to create such an invention as early as 1702. In the 1880’s an insurance salesman, upset after ruining a sales contract with a leaky pen, created a fountain pen much improved over its predecessors. That man, Lewis Waterman, added an air hole in the nib (point) and three grooves inside the feed mechanism. Waterman gave birth to the modern-day fountain pen!
Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the statements in it.
# Handwriting is an important skill to learn.
# People who write neatly are smarter that people who have sloppy handwriting. (Hopefully, discussion of this point will result in an understanding that neat handwriting might equate to a person who takes more care, but does not reflect “smartness.” You might mention that many very smart people have poor handwriting.)
# Students should get more handwriting instruction in school than they get now.
# People judge others by their handwriting.
# I should work hard to improve my handwriting.
Did your students’ opinions change at all after reading the article?
Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students’ news page. This might be an ideal question to pose to students as an opinion/persuasive essay question. Students must decide how to answer the question and provide two or three strong supporting ideas to persuade you to their point of view. If you teach younger students, you might help them to organize their ideas:
# Create a 2-column class chart. Label one column Handwriting is very important and label the other column Handwriting is not very important.
# Have students share ideas on both sides of the debate. Write their ideas in the appropriate columns.
# Let students draw ideas from the chart as they write their essays.
Science. Now that students have some idea of the history behind the fountain pen, have them choose another object and explore its history. Have them share what they learn about the object’s history with their classmates.