There was a time not all that many years ago when children in school were taught the art of handwriting. How to form letters how to write clearly neatly and legibly and above all our ultimately to enjoy writing.

Part of this focus centred on lessons and reminders that included the physical aspects of writing. There was posture (how to sit comfortably when writing) how to position the paper (for slope and legibility) and how to hold a pencil or writing tool so that it was commanded by the writer and held comfortably.

Sadly handwriting lessons have become a thing of the past in most schools. The justification for this is the keyboarding skills are more important than the ability to write by hand and that keyboarding technology has supplanted hand writing.

To me, the fact that handwriting has now been diminished to the extent of being almost non-existent as a learning area is not only sad but also sentences young people to growth into adulthood without adequate handwriting skills.

The way in which a growing number of people hold a pen, pencil, texta or other writing instrument offers a visual display of pure torture. They don’t know how to hold a pen or pencil comfortably and look as if the process is one of agony.

Added to this is the fact that fluency on paper when using a writing tool is largely non-existent. Much writing is illegible and concocted in a way that makes reading extremely difficult. Gone is neatness, pride, and the internal satisfactions students used to feel when producing written text of quality.

Yes, children may be able to use keyboards but there are many occasions on which handwriting is the necessary recourse.

I deplore a system that graduates children who are possibly literate enough when it comes to keyboard manipulation but almost illiterate when it comes to writing and the use of pen, pencil and paper for written communication.

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