Thank you, Lee Camp, for your fervent vent about America’s inability to spell. In his sharp-tongued tirade Camp expresses his loathing for those who struggle to sift their way through consonants and vowels to construct simple words such as your vs. you’re (you are) and definitely vs. definately (sic). Noah Webster was one guy who really knew how to spell, and I’m guessing there will be no argument here. It was Webster’s belief that the ability to spell could be equated to “the foundation of reading and the greatest ornament of writing.” The truth is that to be truly literate, correct spelling is not only crucial, but also could be considered the pathway to effective communication. Spell check is not always correct, especially when dealing with homophones. When in doubt, the go-to-guy is Noah….use his big book – it’s never wrong. However, if you’re looking for a laugh, visit www.leecamp.net
Our response to Don Hazen’s article that appeared on www.alternet.org “A Message to All Baby Boomer (and Those Who Love Them):”
From a baby boomer’s perspective we have a few thoughts on the article “A Message to All Baby Boomers (and Those Who Love Them).” Being the largest (and possibly the most influential) generation in the history of our country has not (and continues to not) come easily. Since we were the long-awaited, post-war births, the promise of a new era in American freedom, ingenuity, and prosperity, much was expected of us .. and accomplish we did in every arena. From education to business to science to music to art to politics to social justice to fashion to culture, etc. we changed the face of the country and the face of the world that wanted to (and still strives to) emulate us. And this wasn’t easy … long hours of study and longer hours of work and commitment … setting our bars higher and higher and earning every accomplishment. Before Nike, our unwritten slogan was “Just Do it!” And in our silver years we continue to pull our own weight … not because we have to but because that is who we are. We expect no more than what we have earned in a lifetime. As for younger generations worrying about taking care of us? Oh, would that it could be so! May all of us baby boomers live long enough to realize that dream! Many of the baby boomers I know are still taking care of their children and often their grandchildren! Yes, life is not as good as it once was here in the USA, and who has lost the most? The baby boomers. It’s time for all generations to tighten the belt – whining won’t solve any of our country’s problems. Whatever needs to be done, we all have to “Just Do It!”
Two Wise Gals have some thoughts on a recent Simply Stated/Real Simple blog entitled “Handwriting in the Digital Age “ by Erin Kane. In responding to parent concerns regarding the importance of handwriting, there are some assumptions we have made. First, the handwriting difficulty is in both manuscript and cursive. Second, the illegibility is the result of a failure to formulate letters corresponding to sounds and not the result of a neurotic teacher’s penchant for perfection. Finally, the indiscernible handwriting is the result of an inability to master rather than a progression toward a personalized, relaxed handwriting style that evolved after mastery was attained.
If our assumptions are correct, what may seem like an automatic task involving little more than poor small muscle motor skills that can be remedied with a keyboard, handwriting actually involves critical thinking skills and is a vital part in learning to read and communicate. In learning to read and write a child realizes that letters represent certain sounds and groups of letters represent words. Through the kinesthetic aspect of mastery the writing process enables the brain to produce memory pathways and become proficient with this knowledge. Once automaticity is achieved the brain’s capacity is available to go onto higher levels of written communication, i.e., vocabulary selection, organization of thoughts, and synthesis of sources, whether this be with a pencil or a keyboard.
When a child is experiencing difficulty with basic letter formations, memory pathways are not being successfully formed and automaticity is not being achieved. This not only prevents the brain from progressing to higher levels of communication, but can also be indicative of other learning difficulties. Whether in the desk age or the digital age, the source of the problem may not necessarily be in the movement of the hand, but rather in the thought processing of the brain.