Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Power of a Handwritten Note

I recently read an article that advocated continuing to teach cursive writing in elementary schools.  The article, found at, lists five strong reasons.  Of the five reasons listed in the article, I found the second one most compelling: “It’s good for our minds.”  I’ll quote it directly: “Research suggests that printing letters and writing in cursive activate different parts of the brain. Learning cursive is good for children’s fine motor skills, and writing in longhand generally helps students retain more information and generate more ideas. Studies have also shown that kids who learn cursive rather than simply manuscript writing score better on reading and spelling tests, perhaps because the linked-up cursive forces writers to think of words as wholes instead of parts.”

To this well written list I would like to add a sixth reason we should continue to teach cursive writing in schools:  There is power in a handwritten note.

There is power in business.  I have often asked people to share their knowledge or research in technology forums or other informal educational venues.  And I have always sent a handwritten card after they have presented, thanking them for their presentation.  While I didn't get to visit the office of every person I had ever asked to do a presentation, those people that I did visit in person had posted my thank you note on their bulletin boards.  Have you ever printed an email thank you message and posted it on your board?  These people were often strangers to me at first.  I truly believe the thank you notes helped to solidify relationships as colleagues.

There is power in volunteer organizations.  Think about it.  Volunteers work without pay; our compensation is the way helping others makes us feel.  But it’s always nice to receive a note of thanks for our efforts.  Those handwritten note may be the catalyst to keep your volunteers in your organization and showing up for your projects.   And as for your sponsors/contributors/benefactors – yes, send them the form letter with their tax deduction information, but also send them a note thanking them for their contributions and letting them know how much their gifts mean to your organization. 

There is power in relationships.  A handwritten note can express love, gratitude, even apologies in a way that an email just can’t match.  Every child should be taught to send a thank you note for gifts received in the mail.  This gesture not only assures the sender the gift was received, but also assures the sender that the gift was truly appreciated and that the giver is highly regarded.   

So yes, let’s keep teaching cursive writing in schools.  It’s a skill that will pay off for our children – now and in the future.

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