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The 2013 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest

It’s here! A healthy, educational competition that rewards everyone, builds students’ self-esteem, and generates positive public relations for your school!

The National Handwriting Contest is an annual event that Zaner-Bloser sponsors to promote legible handwriting. The contest is free to enter and open to all students in Grades 1–8. Enter this year’s contest and give your students the opportunity to win a variety of prize packages.

  • State Grade-Level Winners will receive a prize package for themselves and their school worth a total value of $250.
  • Public and Private National Grade-Level Winners will receive a prize package for themselves and their school worth a total value of $750.
  • Each student Grand National Grade-Level Champion will be awarded $1,000 cash.
  • Each teacher of a Grand National Grade-Level Champion will be awarded a trip to the 2013 International Reading Association Conference in San Antonio, TX.
  • Each school of a Grand National Grade-Level Champion will receive a $1,000 Zaner-Bloser Gift Certificate.

With prizes totaling more than $100,000, we are certain that your school will want to take part in this event! See for contest information.

Grand National Champions and teachers honored in 21st annual National Handwriting Contest

At the International Reading Association (IRA) Annual Convention last May, we proudly announced that eight students from across the country earned top honors by displaying excellent handwriting skills to become the Grand National Champion winners in our 21st Annual National Handwriting Contest. Judges selected one student from each grade level, ranging from first to eighth grade, who exhibited the finest handwriting from across the country.

More than 325,000 students participated in the annual contest, and we estimate that nearly 3 million students have participated in the contest during its 21-year history. Public and private schools held their own handwriting contests and entered the winning student for each grade level. The contest entries were judged according to our Keys to Legibility: Shape, Size, Spacing, and Slant.

The 2012 Grand National Winners and their dedicated teachers included:

  • Grade 1: William Frautschy, Dover, Ohio, East Elementary School; taught by Barb Lengler
  • Grade 2: Ashton Hoppe, Fond Du Lac, WI, Redeemer Lutheran School; taught by Mary Nell
  • Grade 3: Amber Mastbergen, Grand Rapids, MI, Hope Protestant Reformed Christian School; taught by Mary Brummel
  • Grade 4: Sophie Halverson, Waukon, IA, East Elementary School; taught by Thea Thies
  • Grade 5: Alyssa Peyton, Ashton, WV, Ashton Elementary School; taught by Jessica Porter
  • Grade 6: Megan Lucas, Topeka, KS, Jay Shideler Elementary School; taught by Kathy Galvin
  • Grade 7: Trinh Tran, Charlotte, NC, Southwest Middle School; taught by Anjie Carpenter
  • Grade 8: Trey Hunter, Union, MO, Immaculate Conception School; taught by Jane Fox

"Each of these eight students represents the best in their grade level throughout the entire country. Zaner-Bloser is very proud of the commitment and dedication demonstrated by these students and teachers who recognize the rewards and advantages that handwriting can offer both academically and personally,” said Zaner-Bloser President Bob Page.

Judges selected state winners in Grades 1–8 for both public and private schools. State winners competed against each other to become one of the 16 public and private National Grade Level Winners. The National Grade Level Winners then competed to be chosen as one of eight Grand National Champions.

Grand National winners each earned $1000 cash and a large trophy. Zaner-Bloser also awarded the teacher who worked with their champion student a trip to the IRA convention (valued at $1,850) where the winners were announced. In addition, each champion school received $1,000 worth of Zaner-Bloser educational materials.

The eight Grand National Champions were officially announced at the IRA Annual Convention on May 1, 2012, in Chicago, IL. View the video of the Grand National Champion awards presentation.

Nicholas Maxim Award

Each year, the Nicholas Maxim Award honors two special needs students (one manuscript winner and one cursive winner) for their legible handwriting. This year's manuscript winner was Annie Clark, a first grade student at Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin, PA, who was born without hands. The cursive winner was Remiel Colwill, a fifth grade student at St. Mary Magdalene School in Eastlake, OH, who has a visual impairment.

Annie and Remiel's special accomplishments were twofold; they not only displayed exemplary penmanship, but they also overcame their disabilities to do so. Both Annie and Remiel's schools held award ceremonies to honor the Nicholas Maxim Award winners, and each student was awarded $1,000 and a trophy.

The Nicholas Maxim Award was created in 2010 in response to a unique entry from a talented young writer, Nicholas Maxim—a fifth grade student from Maine born without hands or lower arms. To be eligible for the Nicholas Maxim Award, a student must have a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical, or developmental disability.

"When our team saw Nicholas' penmanship, we were just amazed," said Zaner-Bloser President Bob Page. "Since we started this contest 21 years ago, we've been pleased to get a great response that increases every year, and Nicholas inspired us to encourage all students to participate."

For more information about the contest and the Nicholas Maxim Award, visit


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