Let’s hear it for the second R

For many years, basic education was referred to as ‘the three Rs’. No idea who the joker was that thought of that, because (if you didn’t know this) those Rs stood for : reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic. So in fact only one was a true R.

And, as we heard at the beginning of today’s edition of ‘Countdown‘ the second R, writing, and specifically handwriting, is no longer being taught in primary schools in many places. Finland has abandoned it, a lot of US states have abandoned it and some are intending to bring it back. And Britain is set to go down the same route.

This is so ridiculous you’d almost think it to be an April Fool’s joke. It’s still only February though, and not in the least bit funny.

Handwriting, or cursive writing, has many advantages. It helps with letter recognition, aids memory (handwritten notes ‘stick’ in the mind better than typed ones, apparently), and helps us to be creative and imaginative. We use our brains in a different way when we write with a pen or pencil, to how we use them when we are tapping away at a keyboard or phone.

I’m personally a big fan of jotting things down on the back of an old envelope 🙂

And if my word isn’t enough, some really famous writers also like the results they get from writing longhand: Quentin Tarantino, JK Rowling, and Neil Gaiman, to name but a few.

No one is trying to turn back the clock and uninvent the word processor. But losing such a basic skill and art (unless you count my brother’s spidery scrawl 🙂 ) of handwriting would be simply appalling. I mean, if you can’t write, how can you ever leave out a note for the milkman, eh? Answer me that!

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