National Handwriting Day

National Handwriting Day falls each year on January 23, the birthday (according to the Gregorian calendar) of [John Hancock,] the American Revolutionary leader and first signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. (While the U.S. government recognizes Hancock’s birthday as January 12, others recognize his birthday as January 23 based on our modern-day calendar.)

The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association started this holiday in 1977 to acknowledge the history and influence of penmanship. Its reason for being grows more urgent each year as pens, pencils and paper lose ground to the QWERTY keyboard…

Research shows that teaching handwriting skills benefit cognitive development and motor skills, and can lead to improved writing skills and reading comprehension. In other words, children not only learn to read faster when they learn to write by hand first, but research suggests they are also better at generating ideas and retaining information than children who do not practice handwriting.

More than newspapers and the giftability of music and movies, what I miss most from the pre-digital world is the ability to write by hand. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that any extended use of a pen is physically uncomfortable; I’ve entirely lost the stamina for it. And that’s not even to mention how bad my penmanship has become. I’d gladly pay for lessons to recover this skill.

More at The day’s official site is at