In the United States, cursive writing is disappearing from the basic curriculum in forty-one states. Do we really need to teach cursive writing in the new age of keyboarding, texting and video-mail?
This article shares some of the current realities about cursive writing. Please notice the comments at the end from educators and the very practical reasons that cursive should always be taught. Besides, a handwritten note is elegant and gracious when it is written in cursive.
We’ll never forget our third-grade report card. Accustomed to getting mostly “Es” for excellent, we were shocked to see an “N” for penmanship. As in, needs improvement.
Decades later, this sort of grade isn’t even on many report cards, as schools across the country are dropping cursive handwriting from their curricula, ABC News reports.
Forty-one states have adopted the new Common Core State Standards for English, which does not require cursive. States are allowed the option of re-including cursive, which is what Massachusetts and California have done.
In Georgia, teachers and administrators will meet in March to discuss scratching script from their lesson plans, Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza told ABC.
In some regards, we think this makes sense. There are very few occasions in “real life” in which one is required to use cursive nowadays. We most commonly sign our name on bills, and even this practice will probably be ancient history pretty soon. In fact, we use cursive so infrequently that when we do, our hand starts to hurt.
But in other respects, it’s kind of sad. Beautiful handwriting is … beautiful. And it’s a personal mark of who you are much more so than a typed e-mail.
Lisa Faircloth, a stay-at-home mother of two in Atlanta, is happy that her 7-year-old son Joe learned cursive.
“I feel like it has helped him with his fine motor skills and made him more graceful,” she told ABC. “He shows more of an interest in art because he is able to form things he hadn’t before and has new muscle movements that he didn’t know before.”
Faircloth is on to something. Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger’s Reading Center says cursive is key to a child’s development.
“Handwriting seems, based on empirical evidence from neuroscience, to play a larger role in the visual recognition and learning of letters [than typewriting]” she told ABC.
While it’s certainly important to learn how to type quickly and accurately, kids should probably learn how to legibly sign their name before they head to junior high.