NEW COPYBOOK: Holy Cross Mercy School teacher Breda Courtney Murphy released a new comprehensive children’s writing copybook. She is pictured here alongside Senior Infant pupils Amelia Spillane and Lily O’Donoghue. Photo: Sally MacMonagle.

By Anne Lucey

The old art of handwriting has not died – but teachers may never have to dot pages again – thanks to a new copy designed by a local teacher.

Killarney school teacher, Breda Courtney Murphy, has been dotting the copies of young pupils for the last 22 years at Holy Cross Mercy, to help them master the art of writing.

With 37 years-experience as a teacher, Breda not only wrote a number of text books including ‘Start!’ a pre-reading/pre-writing skills book for Junior Infants, but she has also designed ‘Mrs Murphy’s Copies’ to take the frustration out of endless hours of dotting copies for teachers – as well as ease the way for new generations of hand-writers.

The copies, which are 100 percent Irish, come with instructions for posture and pencil grip for Junior and Senior Infants. They also have colourful semi-cartoon covers designed to make learning fun.

The pre-cursive copies with red and blue lines are pre-dotted to help young fingers trace their first writing marks and letters and are already printed and packaged.

Breda launched the new product at the recent INTO conference in Galway and they were an immediate hit.

“It is little known that while we are in the age of iPads and computers, teachers still spend hours dotting copies so children can form their first letters – but teachers are only too well aware of it,” Breda said.

The future artisans, surgeons and mechanics, may not use handwriting as much as before but the dexterity they learn through handwriting will always be necessary, Mrs Murphy explained.

“Children struggle with letter heights and the red and blue lines help them and offer support until they become confident writers.”

But the old proscription on the ciotóg is long gone and the natural inclination for writing with the left hand is fully accommodated in the new copies.

Junior Infant children can start their Pattern Copy on day one of the new school year. All 26 letters, lower case for Juniors and capitals for Seniors are developed. Words and sentences are phonetically based and there are sections with revision/assessment throughout.

Breda’s other text books include ‘Window on the World’ and ‘Exercise Your English’. Soon ‘Mrs Murphy’s Copies’ is moving onto developing fully cursive handwriting copies for First Class onwards.