A Tale of Penmanship

A Tale of Penmanship

When kids are learning to write (and read), it looks messy to our adult eyes, trained to spot and kill all typos or errors.

To grow a writer, you want to let them explore hooking up the hand with the brain—allowing the two to develop a coordinated effort, no matter how the result looks to you.

Before my daughter Caitrin could read, she wrote—BIG capital letters, curvy connected lines to look like cursive, and she drew! Notice how accurate the drawing is (below), very much like a person. It’s captioned phonetically “DUN BIY CAITRIN.”

Click to enlarge

Caitrin’s hand-eye relationship was strong long before her spelling matched standard American English conventions. I saved these sheets of paper on the very clipboard where she wrote them 15 years ago. We carried them around. We “read” them. She had secret notebooks we weren’t allowed to “read” where she put the same writing, only the thoughts moving through her mind as she made the marks on the page were more private-personal.

THAT’S writing. Brain moving the hand. Over time her reading skills informed her transcription ability and they merged. Today, Caitrin has a linguistics degree, studied four languages, and in fact, works as a transcriptionist! She accurately types recordings into files. Game over!

Your task? Not to correct their writing but to love and support ALL attempts to express self—no matter how skillful. That’s how a writer grows.

Brave Writer is about growth, not grades. We’re here to help. Any questions? Email us at help @ bravewriter.com.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


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