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Home of the Handwriting Rebels

be a Positive Handwriting Deviant

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"Bella Ciao" (anonymous nineteenth- and early/mid-twentieth-century Italian protest song,

later recorded by Chumbawumba and Leslie Fish among others) -

here, sequenced by Kate for electronic instruments

Positive Handwriting Deviant

WELCOME to the Home of the Handwriting Rebels.

Show Your Rebel Pride!


A Positive Deviant is a person whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable him or her to find better solutions to problems than his/her peers, while having access to the same (or possibly fewer)resources and while facing similar or worsechallenges.

                                   (Definition adapted from positivedeviance.org )

What is a POSITIVE Handwriting DEVIANT? 

A Positive Handwriting Deviant is a person whoseofficially unrecognized or disapproved behaviors and strategies in handwriting enable him or her to write more legibly at speed than his/her peers, while having access to the same (or possibly fewer) officially available handwriting resources and while facing similar or worse challenges to handwriting development. 

(Definition created by HandwritingThatWorks.com)

Become a Positive Handwriting Deviant

By "Handwriting Rebels," I mean those brave and savvy souls who not only saw that their schoolday cursive did not make sense, but who managed to create something else that made a lot more sense in terms of legibility, speed, and remaining legible at speed.
Most clear, fast writers write like this --
              eliminating loops, using print-like shapes, and not
              joining all letters -- and avoid conventional cursive

"Handwriting Rebel" writing tends to resemble quick, streamlined print with a few joins. Often, it combines the best elements of printed (manuscript) writing with the best elements of conventional cursive. This way of writing (which many fast, legible handwriters develop for themselves over the years) has much in common with the Italic handwriting style of 500 years ago, which today finds use in more and more school systems and remedial handwriting programs.

To see results of Italic handwriting programs, look here and here. According to the Associated Press/CNN and CBS News, about 7% of USA third-graders learn Italic handwriting rather than following conventional print-then-cursive handwriting curricula.

Those students who don't learn Italic have apparently reached their own conclusions on the value (or otherwise) of cursive handwriting. Have you noticed how many young people have quietly "voted with their pens" against the conventional cursive handwriting style? On Sunday, December 3, 2006, the WHEELING (West Virginia) INTELLIGENCER consulted Bethany College Dean of Arts and Sciences Larry Grimes, on the subject:

"As Grimes sat recently with a stack of hand-written works before him, he was asked if those students more often print their work or write in cursive. The professor immediately said 'cursive,' but retracted that early assessment as he looked through some of the pages.

'Print, print, print, cursive,' Grimes said after looking at the first few of about 50 assignments in the stack. 'Three-out-of-four.'
He was a bit surprised at what he'd discovered and admitted he hadn't
given much thought to the subject. ... Grimes said he has noticed a cursive-print hybrid from his students as well.
'They make a quasi-cursive. They blur it, and I’m sure it’s in the interest of time,' he said. ... "

(For complete story, click here)

Young people don't always wait till the college years to start saying NO to cursive.
On November 13, 2006, the children's magazine SCHOLASTIC NEWS (distributed by teachers in the majority of USA elementary and junior high schools) opened an online survey asking its readers in grades 1 through 8:
"Should cursive handwriting still be taught?"

This SCHOLASTIC NEWS page provides results for the survey (now closed) in numerical and pie-chart form, with breakdowns by student grade, student state/territory of residence, and student gender).

Though admittedly not a scientifically designed and administered poll (no random sampling, and so on), the SCHOLASTIC NEWS cursive survey results cover over 28,000 students throughout the USA.

Some of the more striking results of the SCHOLASTIC NEWS cursive handwriting poll:

Overall — out of 28,163 students voting in grades 1 through 8 —

9,948 students (35%) voted YES (for cursive)

18,215 students (65%) voted NO (against cursive)

Grade by grade, on this poll of first- through eighth-grade students, the highest support for cursive handwriting instruction came from first-graders: the students least likely to have had any experience learning or using cursive.

90% of first-graders voted YES to cursive.
Only 10% voted NO.

The lowest support for cursive handwriting instruction came from eighth-graders: the students most likely to have had at least some time learning and using cursive handwriting.

Only 4% of the eighth-graders voted YES to cursive.
96% voted NO.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero in his blog states that in the future children may not be able to read cursive and asks that citizens help transcribe handwritten records so the children can read them.

According to SCHOLASTIC NEWS' results, grade by grade — as student age and education increase — student endorsement of cursive steadily decreases.
On the SCHOLASTIC NEWS survey, only seventh grade broke this pattern — the SCHOLASTIC NEWS survey data reveal seventh-graders and third-graders both supporting cursive instruction equally (74%).
However, the next year brings a dramatic about-face: by eighth grade, only 4% (as stated above) continue to vote YES to cursive: 96% vote NO.

The eighth-graders of 2006 — and college students like those whose preference for printing struck the eye of Bethany College's Dean Grimes — will become the parents, taxpayers, and educational decision-makers (teachers, school board members, and school administrators) of 2016 and 2026 and 2036.

If the designers, publishers, and marketers of handwriting instruction materials, textbooks and curricula want to keep handwriting alive, they will have to sell their wares to people who have already rejected cursive instruction.

Economics, if nothing else, may put conventional cursive in the corner. As rejecters of cursive make more and more educational decisions, an efficient hybrid — with print-like shapes, without every letter connecting — may becomes the "teacher's pet."

Guardian.co,uk reported on June 29, 2011  the German Schoolteacher's Union called the abolishment the requirements to teach joined script.
The web page Cursive, unschooling, change, musings report that John Holt, a  teacher reported in his book Learning All the Time, that some of his 5th grade sudents could print faster than he could write cusive and later that he printed faster than he writes cursive.


Of the 54 USA locations covered in the SCHOLASTIC NEWS student survey (all 50 USA states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), 25 had a 60% or greater majority voting "NO" to cursive instruction:

Nebraska — over 99% against cursive instruction
North Dakota — over 99% against cursive instruction
Vermont — 97% against cursive instruction
Idaho — 95% against cursive instruction
Virgin Islands — 95% against cursive instruction
New Hampshire — 88% against cursive instruction
Guam — 83% against cursive instruction
Puerto Rico —82% against cursive instruction
South Dakota — 79% against cursive instruction
District of Columbia — 78% against cursive instruction
South Carolina — 78% against cursive instruction
Louisiana — 76% against cursive instruction
Utah — 75% against cursive instruction
Mississippi — 74% against cursive instruction
New Mexico — 73% against cursive instruction
West Virginia — 71% against cursive instruction
Delaware — 69% against cursive instruction
Maine — 69% against cursive instruction
Maryland — 69% against cursive instruction
Georgia — 66% against cursive instruction
Tennessee — 64% against cursive instruction
Massachusetts — 63% against cursive instruction
Iowa — 62% against cursive instruction
New Jersey — 61% against cursive instruction
Oklahoma — 60% against cursive instruction

In 23 other USA states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin), 40% to 59% of SCHOLASTIC NEWS survey respondents voted against cursive instruction.

Among survey respondents not stating where they lived, 51% voted against cursive instruction.

In the entire USA, only 6 states surveyed (Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming) show strong support (fewer than 40% "NO" votes) for cursive instruction.

CLICK HERE to find the SCHOLASTIC NEWS statistics for your state.

Here is the blog of another person with  Asperger's, like me, who learned to improve his illegible handwriting with the use of  classic italic handwriting book
Mature Autism - Handwriting & Motor Skills

Do you live among Handwriting Rebels?

Or ...

did you become a Handwriting Rebel on your own?

How, when, and why
did YOU become a Handwriting Rebel?

Fellow Handwriting Rebels,

I want to collect and share

YOUR stories of handwriting rebellion,

YOUR samples of successfully rebellious handwriting,

and whatever else YOU'VE contributed to the handwriting revolution!

E-mail me your favorite stories and samples

of successful handwriting rebellion

against the print-then-cursive establishment:

I'll post the best ones here.

For now, I'll leave you with one of the few literary descriptions of a Handwriting Rebel. This comes from SIR GIBBIE by George MacDonald — a tale of an incurably mute feral child encountering, among the rest of Victorian-era civilization, lessons in penmanship (with which he cooperates at first not at all, then only partially) ...


"They [the town council] collected enough ... to board him for a year with an old woman who kept a school ... when she ... brought him into the school-room, her kitchen, and began to teach him to write, Gibbie failed to see the good of it."

[Some time later, with another teacher ... ]


Ere long he [Gibbie] began to devise short ways of making the letters, and soon wrote with remarkable facility in a character modified from the printed letters. ... "

So much for other rebels — I want to hear from YOU.

Handwriting Rebels of today, share YOUR stories with me at handwritingrepair@gmail.com!

What is Positive Handwriting Deviant


home  table
FAQ handwriting problems about
 sites books
  World Handwriting Contest
Lefties' Lounge for
Southpaw Scribes
Petition for
Politician Legibility Act

Home of the Handwriting Rebels:

be a Positive Handwriting Deviant

Font/Color/Background Style Changer customize the font, colors, and style of this site click here for your options!

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