Does it Matter HOW Kids Write, as Long as They are Writing More?

My right-handed writing sample is on the left, and my left-handed writing sample is on the right. Confused yet?

My right-handed writing sample is on the left, and my left-handed writing sample is on the right. Confused yet?

I have always had atrocious handwriting. From preschool to high school my handwritten work stood out from the other graded papers with a red-inked warning scrawled across the top. "Please work on your handwriting," it read, or "Handwriting..." next to a frowny face, or worst of all, "HANDWRITING!!!" with angry exclamation marks. 

Bless those frustrated teachers' hearts. They  tried to help me write beautifully, to no avail. Writing neatly was a slow, laborious process, and no amount of practice made it much better. The only way I could write quickly enough to complete class assignments in a reasonable amount of time was to give into the jazzy scribble that strained my teacher's eyes. Oh, and cursive? I never could train my hand to shape every letter into a perfect connection with its neighbors. Out of frustration I invented my own cursive, which, on good days, comes close enough to mimicking real cursive to be legible. Thank goodness for the advent of typing, without which I might have lost my academic and professional career to misapprehension and confusion.

The frequent chiding about my messy handwriting didn't deter me from loving the act of writing. I carried notebooks around with me to write down stories and copy favorite passages from books. I looked forward to writing assignments. Writing was, and still is, a joy, no matter how hard -- or even impossible -- it can be to get right. 

That's why this article, "Cursive, Print, or Type? The Point is To Keep Writing" struck a chord with me. I think all students, even my fellow handwriting-impaired, should have the opportunity to learn as many different ways  of writing as possible. But we shouldn't let the debate about how students write get in the way of creating more opportunities for those students to write. At some point, we should let them let go and just write, read, and write and read some more.