More Than Just a Handwriting Company

A lot has changed since Zaner-Bloser was originally founded in 1888 by Charles Paxton Zaner of Columbus, Ohio, with his business partner, Elmer Ward Bloser. Back then, penmanship wasn’t just a skill—it was a profession, and Charles Zaner’s College of Penmanship was where you went to learn it. Unlike other schools of penmanship, though, Zaner-Bloser didn’t just teach how to write beautiful-looking letters. The school taught academics as well, so graduating students were skilled penmen and proficient writers. Given what decades of research tells us now about the relationship between fluency in handwriting and the ability to communicate effectively, that dual goal makes perfect sense!


Word Wisdom, Spelling Connections, and Jump Into Writing book covers

Extending Our Literacy Footprint

Over the past century-plus we’ve perfected our approach to teaching handwriting while expanding our library of literacy solutions. We’ve developed programs like Word Wisdom, Spelling Connections, Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics, and Jump Into Writing! with subject-area author/experts. We’ve also acquired outstanding programs like Superkids and Word Heroes to better meet the needs of teachers and students.

Along the way, we’ve established key characteristics a program must have to carry the Zaner-Bloser name:


We never stop looking for ways to do things better for educators and for students. Using new digital technologies and evolving research, we’re continually building on our legacy of meeting the needs of schools. Our focus on developing strong foundational skills through explicit instruction is unwavering, and we bring to each new product the same care and dedication to excellence that Charles Zaner started with over 100 years ago.

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Moving Forward & Giving Back

In 1972, Zaner-Bloser joined the Highlights Family of Companies, which includes Highlights for Children, SDE, and Stenhouse Publishers. Together we share a system of values and a common goal of empowering children and improving lives.

In 1991, we introduced the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest to recognize excellence in the teaching and learning of manuscript and cursive. Over 4 million students have participated since the contest’s inception. Winners are selected at the school, state, and national level for each grade K–8. In 2011 we introduced the Nicholas Maxim Award to recognize handwriting excellence by children with special needs.

Anaya winner

Picture of school supplies

Employees in our hometown of Columbus play a vital role in our community, and we are proud to support a number of local non-profit and pro-student organizations, including City Year, Big Brother & Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, YWCA Family Center, and St. Stephen's Community House.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about Zaner-Bloser! We look forward to supporting successful,
joyful learning in classrooms around the corner and around the world for years to come.


Zaner-Bloser timeline graphic


Zaner-Bloser timeline graphic