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Handwriting

What works in the classroom?


Scots rule 2




Model sheets

Experiments show the way
Make heaps of whatever works. Share the good stuff. Drop the rest.

What works in the classroom?

A foundation of practical work

A quarter of a century ago, italic was introduced in Iceland. A group of teachers, led by the redoubtable Mrs. Hilda Torfadóttir, formed a group for the experimental teaching of handwriting. I helped them with teaching aids and a model alphabet. Our beginnings were described in Cursive Italic News vol. 2 no. 3.

Technology took a useful step soon after the project began. It became possible to digitize the model alphabet. Teachers could make their own exercise sheets on a computer and knock them out on a printer.

During the last decade, we have learned a few things. Beginners, for instance, prefer a surprisingly large handwriting model. An x-height of about three quarters of an inch has given good results. That’s twice the size that current wisdom had suggested.

A well-worn complaint about italic turned out to be correct. The letters m, n, and u are too similar. They tend to turn into a scrawl. And saying “just write carefully” isn’t much of a remedy.

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Scots rule 2