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Thread: Preparing IGS2005

  1. Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Preparing IGS2005

    This bulletin board is meant to start public discussions on new ideas for IGS2005.

  2. Kate Gladstone is offline Handwriting Educator & Therapist
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    hope to see IGS 2005 present material on Italic handwriting


    I hope that IGS 2005 will present material on a surprising recent development that I do not believe IGS has so far covered: Italic handwriting used as an initial and/or remedial instruction method.


    Many of us, if we have heard of Italic handwriting at all, regard it as an artistic heritage of the Renaissance. However, and surprisingly, Italic handwriting has become increasingly popular in the USA for some very practical purposes.

    In the USA during this past decade, Italic handwriting has gained ground particularly in two areas:

    /1/ as a handwriting-improvement method for physicians (Several Italic teachers, myself included, make good incomes by teaching Italic handwriting to physicians at the request of hospitals)


    /2/ as an initial and/or remedial instruction method for children. (An estimated 7% to 10% of USA children now learn Italic at school rather than a conventional USA-style "manuscript-then-cursive" approach. Among the USA's 2 million homeschoolers, about 30% - 35% learn Italic as their form of handwriting.)

    Therefore, I think we need research and study on Italic handwriting: along with, of course, a summary/study of what past research exists in the field.

    A fair body of research/data does exist, and deserves follow-up/replication: given the decades that have elapsed since much of this research/data-collection took place, and given the fact that much of the original research/data-collection did not involve the USA because Italic at the time had not begun becoming "a household word" in handwriting-education circles in the United States.


    Since most adult USA writers of Italic (myself included) changed to the Italic writing-style in adulthood rather than learning it as children, we need research on which factors of handwriting do (or don't) stay the same when an adult makes this major change of writing-style.

    This has obvious implications for forgery-detection work/document-identification: developing techniques to identify handwriting across a change of styles limits the possibility that someone who has changed the style of his/her writing might successfully use the style-change as a method for evading successful identification of writing-samples. (E.g., without effective techniques of identification a person who has learned Italic might successfully evade the consequences of an incriminating document which s/he had written earlier, before changing his/her handwriting. The increasing numbers of people in the USA who take Italic classes, who use books on Italic as a guide to changing their own writing-style, etc., make it imperative to develop identification-techniques to avoid that possibility.)


    Besides document-identification concerns, research into which handwriting-factors do or do not change when the writing-style changes may provide useful information for handwriting-educators considering the impact of a proposed change in writing-style.

    Such information can prove helpful whenever a teacher/school-administration/school-district considers changing from one handwriting-style to another (e.g., , when a school changes from a conventional manuscript/cursive handwriting program to an Italic handwriting program).

    More generally, such information can prove helpful in understanding and studying a handwriting phenomenon very common in the USA and affecting conventional (rather than Italic) handwriting.

    Throughout much of the USA (at present, and for the past six decades), the handwriting curricula chosen by most schools routinely require one or more major changes in writing-style during a child's education. Specifically, the vast majority of USA schools/handwriting-curricula require children to suddenly change their style of writing at some time during their early school-years - typically at age 7 or 8 - and they often require accomplishing the process literally overnight: a cause of much educational hardship and even, in many cases, of school-phobia.

    At least one USA handwriting-program requires not one, but multiple writing-style changes during the first few years of education.

    Also, and irrespective of writing-program, the mobility of the USA population and the general lack of co-ordinated effort among USA teachers even in the same school or school-district often results in children having to change their handwriting every year that they go to school. This results from the number and diversity of handwriting-materials publishers in the USA. The writing-style that a child learned last year - that last year's teacher approved and required - the current teacher will often condemn as a series of bad habits!


    Because of this chaotic system (or multiplicity of conflicting systems), in the USA it happens fairly often that (for instance) a teen-ager who has gone to school for eight years has had to learn eight different handwritings (changing his or her handwriting each year to try to please the new teacher). As one result, many USA children, teenagers, and adults have never learned to write competently in any style.

    Many survivors of such "scrambled handwriting instruction," if they come to write legibly and competently at all, must do so by inventing their own writing-styles, usually very different from anything that they have learned at school.

    Over the years, various of my colleagues and I have noticed that these "home-grown" styles, when efficient and legible, often uncannily resemble Italic even though (in most cases) the writer has had no exposure to instruction in Italic handwriting.

    This tendency (among writers trained in multiple styles) to re-invent or "gravitate to" Italic-like forms suggests that research into Italic handwriting can help us understand/research the handwritings of those writers who have received training in multiple writing-styles. Note that those trained in multiple writing-styles include a very large proportion of the inhabitants of the USA.

    This phenomenon (of Italic spontaneously "re-invented" by legible writers who have survived instructional chaos in handwriting) suggests also that we may wish to research Italic handwriting as a retraining-method possibly appropriate for the many who have survived instructional chaos in handwriting but who have unhappily not developed any competent form of writing for themselves. (Again, this category likewise includes a large number of USA citizens! - suggesting a significant public benefit possible from such research.)

  3. Join Date
    Nov 2003
    I find this quite interesting. The dilema you mentioned regarding constant style changes during early educational years...I experienced as well. Ultimately, I wielded my own writing style in the end (fortunately legible...snicker).

    I'd be curious to see what "Italic" handwriting truly is. Would you mind providing some links where I can get a better feel for it?


  4. Kate Gladstone is offline Handwriting Educator & Therapist
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Greg, you ask about Italic handwriting ...

    Greg (and anyone else interested) -

    the following links will give you some information/examples/instruction on Italic handwriting.

    (intro to a 20-webpage on-line illustrated textbook called "How to teach Italic": an English-language translation of some material prepared for Iceland's school-system around 1982 when that nation's schools switched to Italic)

    (here you can click on/view/download [as PDFs] many sample pages from the USA's largest Italic-handwriting textbook-series [Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting]. About half the schools in and around Portland, Oregon use this method and series, as do about 1/3 of the USA's two million homeschoolers, along with at least one private or public school in each of the 50 states of the USA. Available downloads here also include handwriting-samples of children/teens writing Italic, as well as material from the series' adult-level companion book WRITE NOW, which Getty/Dubay and some other Italic instructors use to teach better-handwriting classes for the general public and for specialized audiences such as physicians)

    (teach-yourself-Italic-handwriting site with free downloadable worksheets and also handwriting-samples from children who had learned to write Italic at school rather than conventional manuscript or cursive)

    (site belonging to a handwriting/calligraphy instructor who teaches Italic along with other styles - included here because a large graphic on this page shows the same text handwritten twice, side-by-side: once in Italic and once in a conventional style of cursive)

    (site of an Italic-handwriting teacher who provides her course for children and adults in book/CD-ROM form. The large handwritten heading on the home-page gives a very good example of handwritten Italic; other interesting material throughout the site includes information that relates to handwritten letter-forms, efficient performance of handwriting motions, etc.)

    (my own site - as yet, not many illustrations of Italic handwriting but much other information about this writing-style, its rationale, and its potential for easing handwriting-instruction/handwriting-use problems.)

    Greg, as you read the above (particularly some of the material on /6/) you'll note that Italic handwriting resembles the fast/legible writing often spontaneously evolved by people who have not done well with conventional manuscript-then-cursive approaches. (Research mentioned on my page - and some other research I could send you - suggests that this type of writing usually excels in speed and legibility over the writing produced by those who adhere to conventional methods: one of the reasons that I suggest teaching this kind of writing to begin with.)
    Given what you said earlier about your own handwriting, I wonder whether yours also resembles a home-grown, spontaneous approximation of Italic.

  5. Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate Gladstone
    Given what you said earlier about your own handwriting, I wonder whether yours also resembles a home-grown, spontaneous approximation of Italic.
    After viewing some of the samples, I would have to say that my handwriting is about 80% similar. The biggest differences seem to be with capitalization and a few different connection points between letters (like r and s).

    Anyway, plenty of reading here for me to learn about this.

    Thank you

  6. Join Date
    Nov 2003
    NOTE: Link # 3 is broken, but it still exists. Here is the working link:


  7. Kate Gladstone is offline Handwriting Educator & Therapist
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    better link & "my handwriting is about 80% similar to Italic"

    Greg - thanks for your continued interest in Italic.

    Thanks also for the needed link-update, but the corrected link as you gave it (with dots in the middle) does not work either. If you can give me the link in full, I'll correct it wherever it appears in my resource-list - and in my web-page when I next update that in a couple of months.

    Regarding your observation that about 80% of your handwriting resembles Italic (even though - I assume - that in school or elsewhere you did not learn to write this way):
    as I may have mentioned, a majority of fast-plus-legible handwriters I've encountered (in the USA, at least) make this observation about their own handwriting when they compare it with an Italic model - again, despite the fact that (in the USA, at least) most schools have not taught this form of writing and have in fact often forbidden its distinguishing features (such as connecting some but not all letters). This, plus the machine-legibility of Italic handwriting on a Tablet PC or similar devices (when I had a Newton, it read my handwriting perfectly!), suggests to me that some approximation of Italic forms the _de_facto_ "installed user base" for fast legible handwriting: therefore, it seems to me that handwriting done for/taught by pen-computing systems could advantageously resemble Italic rather than conventional models.
    I look forward to talking further with you (and others at Neuroscript) about this matter: would e-mail (or phone-calls) provide a better medium of communication, or should we stick to this bulletin-board?

  8. Join Date
    Nov 2003
    1) Oddly the link works just fine for me...but here it is NOT as a link, with spaces in the www so the forum does not make it a link automatically:

    w w w.studioarts.net/calligraphy/italic/handwriting.html

    2) I was not taught Italic handwriting that I can recall...early 70's...I've changed my handwriting style many times...even as old as early 20's. I'm not quite sure why...for sh*ts & giggles I imagine

    3) My "perception" in 80% similarity is merely an observation based upon appearance...not necessarily flow (as I don't know how Italic handwriting is actually supposed to be written). As well, my writing is no where near as clean and legible as the samples I've seen. This, I must have to say, is very attributable to the modern computer age...where I find myself typing so much and writing so little...which we also know plagues the educational systems today...leading to the lacking instruction and interest in handwriting in so many schools.

    4) As far as communications go (for now)..the forum works great...allowing others to view the discussions and express their interest as well. Hopefully, we can begin drawing more & more viewers to these forums with proper exposure.

    5) We will be beginning work on an educational-related project in the near future...where this topic may prove to play an important role (Hans Leo is the best to speak with regarding this matter).

  9. Kate Gladstone is offline Handwriting Educator & Therapist
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    reply to Greg

    Greg - THANKS for the link, which (as I said) I'll "plug into" my web-page and resource-list when opportunity permits.

    Re your other points:

    ----- many people (like you) have changed their handwriting-styles for a variety of reasons. This variety of handwriting-styles makes it useful to have a "greatest common factor" of fluent handwriting which people can use/return to as needed: something sharing a lot in common with the clearest elements of all the wide and varied range of styles that people come up with. In my experience and opinion, some form of Italic fills this "greatest common factor" role better than other handwriting-styles that people evolve/teach/could teach.

    ----- re "how Italic handwriting is actually supposed to be written" if (when) you and I ever meet, I'll gladly demonstrate and give you a lesson or two, showing how to "tweak" your existing (and apparently somewhat scruffy writing) into Italic. Based on my experiences with/observations of other people who write in a less-than-neat style structurally similar to Italic, this "tweaking" would probably require only surprisingly minor changes (in other words, not nearly as much effort or change as going back to school and learning to write all over again in a conventional manuscript and/or cursive).

    ----- re the lack of neatness and legibility in your writing: I agree with you in blaming much of this on recent neglect of handwriting (in school and elsewhere) - current generations have grown up thinking, "Well, handwriting cannot matter, because we have computers and the computers have keyboards ... " now, of course, many computers emphasize handwriting over keyboards (e.g., current PalmPilots and the Tablet PC).
    This (as well as other factors, such as the increasing use of OCR/handwriting recognition to decipher [e.g.] handwritten envelopes mailed through the postal system) may force schools (and workplaces) to
    /a/ start re-emphasizing handwriting
    and /b/ to emphasize a simpler form of handwriting (maximally machine-friendly as well as maximally human-friendly: as opposed to conventional cursive [say] which people typically don't use and seldom manage to do well)
    In any search for a simpler and maximally human/machine-friendly style, I think Italic (but not conventional cursive, say) will "fill the bill."
    Teaching Italic from the start, and teaching it well - e.g., with the aid of Neuroscript software - should minimize the handwriting-decay that arises from difficult methods taught neglectfully. It should also minimize or eliminate the above-mentioned "scruffiness" that people fall into when, rejecting a difficult and/or ill-taught style, they stumble about and come up with something more or less "Italic-oid" on their own. (Why leave people to stumble into something - with less than optimal outcomes as a result - rather than teaching it to them in the first place?)

    ----- re attracting more people to the forums: what methods do you suggest/envision for doing this?

    Finally, I feel very pleased to hear that Neuroscript will soon begin work on education-related projects where this topic may prove important. I've left Hans-Leo a message, asking to speak with him soon when he returns from his current business out of the country.


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