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More Letters to Ma’ama

More Letters to Ma’ama

Ma’ama got our first letter!  She got it about the end of last week.  I don’t think she sat down right away to write her reply, but she did call very soon after.   She said we should expect her response by the end of this week, maybe beginning of next due to the holiday.  When I asked if she could read it, she said yes, which means my son’s writing skills – in terms of letter formation – are improving.  I noticed this even more when I sat down with him on Tuesday to work on more Dolch words.  He was having trouble with the word “they” so I thought maybe writing it a few times would get it stuck in his head.  No dice, but we worked on it again yesterday, and now it seems to have stuck.  The thing I did notice though was that once I told him to slow down and write it carefully, forming each letter the way he’s supposed to,  the writing greatly improved.  I’m excited by this, because writing by hand is a big part of my writing process.  Whether it’s writing the actual text/document or some sort of outline, it helps to get my thoughts down on paper where I can physically cross out and reorganize and so forth without fear of losing any of the text when I make an edit. 

Honestly, I thoroughly dislike the editing tools offered in programs like Microsoft Word (what I’m using now).  The “strikethough” isn’t really eye-catching enough for me to notice unless it’s in a different color than the main text.  The “track changes” feature is a little better, because it does give the text a different color from the main body, and also a different color for additions (green) and deletions (red).  But then when you’re going through and using spell and grammar check, it still reads that red track changes text as though it’s still part of the document.  This then throws off the entire flow of the piece off and leads me to making even more changes and it turns into an endless loop.  I don’t have the time or the patience for that.  So I grab my pen and a notebook and do the first draft on paper.

I love my pen-and-paper writing.  Not just for the editing ease, but it can go anywhere – literally.  I don’t have to drag a laptop in a big case around, or worry about sitting at my computer all day just to write.  I can take my spiral notebook and pen – secured into the spirals – anywhere I go.  I really hope my son gets hooked on this letter writing.  Not just for the excitement of getting a letter back, but for all the other doors it can open for him.  I know plenty of people who can write beautiful content, but should probably stick to the computer screen because their handwriting looks like a doctor’s.

Your handwriting doesn’t have to be beautiful and you don’t have to take an entire minute to form one letter, but I find that my ideas stick more and are better formed when I’ve got a pen in my hand.  Next time a big writing project stares you in the face along with that blank page and blinking cursor, reach for a pen and a pad of paper instead.  You’ll be much better off.

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