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Handwriting

What works in the classroom?


Scots rule 2


Copperplate penhold

What is wrong with this picture?
The hand is in an awkward position. All four knuckles point upward: it is meant to slide on the nails of the third and fourth finger.

Every letter is made with the whole hand and forearm. The fingers hold the pen, but move very little on their own.

This is the copperplate penhold.

What works in the classroom?

Failed: elegant complexity

I n a century and a half, renaissance italic germinated, flowered, and went to seed. The style was fashionable rather than popular, which I suspect quickened its development.

The earliest surviving document in italic is dated 1423, but the famous copybooks of Tagliente, Arrighi, and Palatino were printed a hundred years later. By that time, the style had lost its youthful vigor.

Their chancery cursive shows its age in gracious decorative strokes. It is too cumbersome for fast writing, but looks impressive in manuscript books and solemn documents. The twentieth-century revival drew heavily on these books.

Charcery cursive is not a good model for children. Neither was the copperplate style that followed it in the late sixteenth century. I will now tell you what is.

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Scots rule 2