Yesterday was National Handwriting Day in the U.S. Decades ago, penmanship was taught as a subject in U.S. schools – beyond just learning to form the letters, children were taught to write neatly and in a formal style. This was considered an important part of becoming a fully educated person, and you can see this type of handwriting in older people in the United States. Handwriting is a tricky topic in English language instruction – in our 20 years of teaching, we have found that it is not so common to instruct in how to write the Roman alphabet letters – it seems to be an assumed skill when working with adults, even though this is not an easy skill at all, especially for those whose first languages do not use the Roman alphabet. Of course the keyboard helps us get around this problem, but I have often wondered why basic ESL writing classes do not include a component in HOW to form the letters and how to link those letters to form words. When you do not know how to do this, writing by hand becomes a time-consuming and formidable task. In my experience, students would feel much more empowered if they felt comfortable with this skill. You may need to write a hand-written thank you note in English one day, or express to someone that you are sorry, and those things just aren’t the same with a typed correspondence. Have a look here at the ways in which handwriting is still important to many of us.