Chloe Arnould: Practice Your Writing, Printing and Numbers

Aug 23, 2014 by

An Interview with Chloe Arnould: Practice Your Writing, Printing and Numbers

Michael F. Shaughnessy

1) Chloe , first of all, tell us a bit about yourself and your education and experience.

We were born in Manhattan (I have a twin brother, Grahame). Our father, a diplomat, was working for the United Nations in New York when we were born. We moved back to Canada for a brief stint in our capital before moving to Prague, our father’s next post. Travel has always been a significant part of my life, partly because of our father’s postings, but also because I realized that visiting or living in different parts of the world allowed me to experience first-hand different people and cultures. This always excites me. The more we know about each other the easier it is to understand our differences. Travelling, then, has been my informal education. I also have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario, where I studied literature.

2) How did you first get started in terms of writing these practice books?

I had just developed alphabet refrigerator magnets and realized that a perfect complement to them would be a printing book, which was the first in our series of Activity Books. It was very popular at a trade show in Toronto earlier this year where we introduced it. We were asked repeatedly when a writing book was going to be available. So we immediately produced Practice Your Writing and Practice Your Numbers books.

3) I think it is a great idea to get kids to practice their printing, numbers and writing. Does it seem that the schools do not focus on this anymore?

Many schools have eliminated the teaching of writing in their curriculum altogether…much to the amazement of parents. Parents or guardians of children, then, have taken on the task of teaching writing to the children. Typing lessons have replaced writing lessons. Printing is still taught in most schools…but not everywhere! A need and a demand for these books presented itself.

4) How has the laptop and computer impacted writing?

People type more and write much less. When communicating on an electronic device we spell a word using one letter only; use acronyms wherever possible and reduce a thought or sentence to a word or two. When we write on paper we are usually writing to a friend, relative or colleague. We will generally write an entire sentence in a card or letter. Writing, then, is slower than using the computer but the short cuts we take when communicating on our electronic devices has impacted the art of writing and changed how we express ourselves. We care less about eloquently conveying a thought on paper and more about delivering the message in as few words as possible.

5) Who did the illustrations for your book?

My twin brother, Grahame, and I did the illustrations.

6) How well has the book been received in Canada? ( where you are located? )

They’re being very well received in Canada and the United States. We are located in Toronto, Ontario. We are introducing the books to public and private school boards as well as learning institutes, including special needs and people learning English as a second language. Mom’s home-schooling their children are also on our list. Today we are still required to write, at the very least our signatures, so we still need to know how to do it. Setting aside mandatory printing and writing lessons in many educational institutions came a bit too early. Our books are filling the gap.

7) I would think that the process of practicing one’s printing also increases their attention span- your thoughts?

Activities like printing and writing require a certain attentiveness to form the letters. The art of printing and writing requires coordination and meticulousness since we generally write or print quite small. I think you’re right, Mike, the process of practicing does increase their attention span. To successfully write the writing must be legible, which requires a person’s focus. The paper or exercise book is also tactile so we can see and feel what we have accomplished when we complete the exercise…the card, the note…giving us immediate gratification.

8) You use arrows and numbers to help kids correctly print and correctly use both uppercase and lowercase. Who thought this up ?

I researched letters, numbers and fonts to find the simplest, most common and most legible ones to use in the books. Arrows and numbers were sometimes used to demonstrate how to print and write the letters and numbers.

9) What have I neglected to ask?

When our teachers, mothers, fathers…are teaching us printing and writing it is a tactile, and interactive exercise involving the personal touch since we are communicating in person with our teacher. When we receive a hand-written, hand-printed, hand-drawn, or hand-created … anything, we are moved because of all that personally went into it. When we look at the creation it feels personal. We like and need the personal touch because it helps keep us happy by keeping us connected.

The books are especially popular because they’re fun to look at and stimulating to use. All the Activity Books; Practice Your Writing, Printing and Numbers have letters or numbers, and words with visual associations. The books can be used independently or with a parent or teacher. Those using the books are learning how to print and spell letters and words while learning the meaning of the words with the assistance of the drawings, which give the words a visual context. The drawings also make the actual task in the exercise books easier to endure because they’re entertaining. Education can be so much fun…and should be.

More books to come…

10) Do you have a web site where people can see your beautiful books ?

Thank you! Here’s the web site address <>

11) By the way, you also seem to have cards—are these beautiful drawings for sale and where can one get them?

Yes, we have cards as well as journals, note pads, fridge magnets, a calendar book and more. You can buy everything on-line <>

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