A letter to the teachers of English: 64Develop writing skills of your students (3) [Archives:2004/786/Education]

November 1 2004

Dr..M.N.K.Bose ([email protected])
Associate Professor of English,
Faculty of Arts, Ibb.

Dear Fellow teachers,
One of the basics of writing is to maintain the correct shape and size of each letter of the English alphabet. The size is important because for several letters, only the size marks the difference between the capital and small ones. Look at these letters for example.

S s C c K k O o X x Z z

Similarly, the shape is important for differentiating one letter from the other. For example, look at the following letters:

c e v u m n i j p b

It is, therefore, very important to teach our learners the correct shape and size of each letter in the first year of the preparatory level.
Many experienced teachers suggest the use of four-ruled copybooks for early practice of writing, mainly because this helps the learners to maintain the shape and size of the letters. It is also suggested that the spaces between the four lines are in the proportion of 4:5:4, i.e. if the space between lines 1 and 2 is 4 cms, the space between lines 2 and 3 must be 5 cms and the space between lines 3 and 4 must be 4 cms.
Many experts have recommended italic writing as the most suitable style of handwriting for the young, by virtue of its legibility, quickness and beauty. This style was developed in Italy as early as 9th century and is used nowadays mainly for emphasis. The notable characteristic of this style of writing is that the letters are written with a slope on to the right. There are special nibs available in the market for practicing this style of writing. The cheapest way to prepare a special nib for this kind of writing is the Indian invention, which is as follows: Take a small bamboo twig and sharpen its edge with a knife into the shape of a pen nib and cut its sharp end in such a way that it is in the picture:
This bamboo pen is good for preparing wall charts for English classes and in calligraphy with English and Arabic.
Practicing italic writing begins with drawing strokes, vertical as well as slanting, and curves, because most of the letters can be drawn out of these strokes and curves. So, once the learners are good at drawing the strokes and curves, they will easily draw the letters. It is important to train the learners to draw the curves in the anti-clock direction so that they may not have difficulty in writing the letters in the same fashion. This will solve the problem of moving the hands from right to left as well. Let's see more about it in the next letter.
Yours fraternally,