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  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:


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