The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

April 6, 2013

The write stuff? Area educators draw lines on subject

JOHNSTOWN — Teaching children to write in cursive may be falling by the wayside in favor of digital keyboarding skills, but local school officials believe it’s still important for children to possess the ability to write.

George Nace, principal at St. Benedict Catholic School in Geistown, said he doesn’t see the school abandoning teaching handwriting. In fact, it’s something that is encouraged and required at certain grade levels.

“I do understand the push to do away with it and it’s not a skill as relevant as it used to be, but students still need to be exposed to it and be able to read things that they may come across,” he said.

Pupils have handwriting classes through fifth grade and begin learning cursive writing in second grade.

“We have students in grades one through five who enter the Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest and we had a second-grader who won at the state and national level this year,” Nace said.

He added that if kids don’t learn how to read and write in cursive, it could become a foreign language to them.

“Some don’t like learning it, but it’s something they need to do,” Nace said.

At St. Michael School in Loretto, pupils take a handwriting class for 15 minutes each day.

“It would be a big mistake to get rid of it because I personally feel handwriting is an important skill students need to learn,” Principal Judy Noel said.

Pupils in kindergarten through third grade receive the most instruction. Those in grades four through six have handwriting skills incorporated into language arts, spelling and grammar lessons and pupils in grades seven and eight work at a more independent level to hone their skills.

“It is very much a part of our curriculum and school day,” Noel said.

She said cursive writing is a complex skill that involves the mind and body and is a means of communication.

“I know what they say about technology and keyboarding, but not all kids type quickly, and how can they take notes if they don’t know how to write?” Noel asked. “I feel strongly that it plays an important role in kids succeeding in school.”

Vincent DiLeo, superintendent of Cental Cambria School District, said the district isn’t pulling away from teaching cursive writing, but it isn’t promoting it either.

“We’ve incorporated it into lesson plans, and it’s not taught as a separate standalone subject,” he said.

He said the time factor is a stumbling block to teaching writing skills, adding that teachers are focusing more time on preparing pupils for the PSSA and Keystone exams.

“In third grade we start to wean students from printing and more toward cursive writing,” DiLeo said.

He said he’s noticed students in the middle and high schools are choosing to write in cursive because it’s faster, so the skill is being learned.

“We can’t pay as much attention to health, so it’s been integrated into the sciences, and writing into other areas. That’s the best way to learn,” DiLeo said.

But he believes teaching penmanship shouldn’t be completely eliminated because people still need the skill regardless of how much technology is out there.

“You have to sign a check, mortgage or car loan because you can’t print your name, so you need to have a cursory knowledge,” DiLeo said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 19, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 19, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 19, 2014

  • VIDEO | Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 19, 2014

  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads