BIC effort a worthy one

Perhaps you’ve heard the radio commercials, perhaps you’ve heard the rumors from a teacher friend or perhaps you’ve seen it while scanning the Internet. Wherever you’ve gotten the word, it’s a good one.

BIC, a leading manufacturer of writing instruments, has begun a “Fight for Your Write” mission which aims to educate parents and students about the importance of writing.

Now, it’s hard to imagine that such a thing as writing would have to be reinforced as important, but sadly that’s exactly what is necessary. For starters, there are many schools now that have abandoned the need to teach young students cursive writing — and that’s just plain silly.

Of course, it’s technology’s fault. Pushing buttons to text or email has overshadowed the need for students to take pen in hand and actually write words. That also means there is very little being done to teach putting words in a readable order to get a thought across.

The thought that handwriting is being pushed aside in grade schools really makes me cringe.

Writing has numerous benefits for children, including improved cognitive development, better readers and conditions fine motor skills.

“ Parents play a key role in a child’s development and can act as ambassadors for their right to write,” said Pam Allyn, “Fight for Your Write” spokesperson, literacy advocate, education expert, author and founder of LitWorld, a global organization that advocates for children’s rights as readers, writers and learners. “BIC’s mission shines a light on the crucial role of writing in our lives, and more importantly, gives parents and schools the tools they need to join our movement.”

Over the years, this is the second time I’ve written something about how the educational system has changed its procedures where teaching children to write and spell words were concerned. When my daughter was in the first grade, she came home with a spelling paper that had a red “100” at the top. I was proud of her being able to spell the 10 words correctly … until I looked at the paper closer.

One of the words was “engine,” which my daughter had spelled “engin.” I quickly noticed the missing “e.”

Anyway, I wrote a column about my daughter’s missing “e” — and soon after was called to the principal’s office. True story. And I was made to sit in her office about 10 minutes before she arrived … with the infamous paddle in full view.

I was told, when the principal and teacher arrived, that the children were being taught in the first grade to spell a word by sound, so a silent letter was not used. Then, they said, the students would progress to a complete and correct spelling in the second grade.

So I wrote another column, this time about how children were being told “engin” was correct in the first grade, then told it was incorrect in second grade. Seemed to me that confusion would abound.

I soon got another invitation to the principal’s office. This time I was told in no uncertain terms that the process works and, in no uncertain terms, I should stop writing about how the teachers taught because the results were good in the end.

Believe me, I was tempted, but left the issue alone in future columns. And my daughter actually went on to get an associates degree in journalism … so yay!

Now though, it’s a brand new battle.

Last year, through its partnership with, a not-­for-­profit organization with the mission to increase student success by empowering teachers and providing them with classroom resources, BIC provided 100,000 writing tools to children in need in school districts across the country.

How can you help? Today, when you visit, you will be invited to sign a pledge to encourage handwriting. In return for each e-­signature, BIC will again donate pens and pencils to students in need across the country.

“We know that writing is an essential tool for learning,” said Susan Lanzarotto, director of stationery marketing, BIC Consumer Products USA. “Through this mission, we’re not only working hard to raise awareness of the benefits of writing, but to also provide the tools to succeed through resources on our website, as well as through our partnership with”

It’s my hope that folks in the region will be interested in learning more about this effort by BIC. To do that, visit

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.