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The Great Cursive Debate
posted by: Alix | April 01, 2011, 01:25 PM   

Most adults today remember countless hours spent practicing their cursive in elementary school. These days it's hard to remember when we last used the skill, unless maybe to sign a check. According to reports, cursive instruction is dying out all over the country. Will the once staple of a grammar school education go the way of the abacus for today's children?

Everyone involved in education knows that technology is changing the face of instruction. When two-year olds can operate iPads, is it really necessary for kids to spend hours perfecting flowing curves and fancy loops?

As of now, 41 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards for English, officially omitting cursive handwriting from required curriculum. Now that it's not mandatory, schools around the country are debating whether or not to spend valuable teaching resources on classic penmanship.

In New York, some schools are considering eliminating it altogether. One teacher admitted that she would rather "move on" than spend the half hour on cursive that she feels is outdated. One official in Colorado agreed, "In many respects, it's only inside our schools where we see such emphasis on paper and pencil. The move outside our schools, and in innovative schools, is toward technology. There will always be a role for the written word by hand on paper. But the experiences most of us have, with 30 minutes a day practicing cursive in class, has gone by the wayside."

Others argue that teaching cursive is not merely a dying art, but a skill that ties together critical components of learning. One school administrator in Colorado believes that cursive instruction gives children the mental skills to understand broader concepts and become stronger readers.

"When kids get to third and fourth grade, when they're supposed to be composing, they can use more brain space for content than mechanics," said Cindee Will, assistant principal at James Irwin Charter Elementary School of Colorado Springs. According to Ms. Will, complex letter strokes help guide students' eyes left-to-right and help correlate reading with writing, enabling children to grasp the entirety of the English language.

Others argue that practicing penmanship helps children with special needs. Dyslexic children can benefit from the hands-on approach to English. Using cursive handwriting teaches students how to group words in the proper order and make it more difficult to swap letters.

Some English purists insist that cursive is an important part of our history. One parent was disappointed that cursive was being phased out in her child's school. "I absolutely get that we're moving in a world that's technology-based," she said. "But I'm of the old school that believes you can't forget where you came from to get where you're going. There could be a day the computer crashes."

What do you think about cursive being omitted from Common Core Standards?
Comment below.

Comments (18)Add Comment
Bring Back Cursive
written by DerpyHerp, March 09, 2017

Well, don't you all want to learn how to read the Declaration of Independence some day? Also, how about the Constitution? You will also probably have to sign things someday. It's easy to forge print signatures, but not cursive ones!!!
......
written by Lizza Uk, February 09, 2017

they should not teach cursive beacuse its a waste of time
why cursive?
written by rashel,Indianapolis , January 24, 2017

We need cursive because when we grow up we need to now how to right in cursive and not right all sloppy like me and i'm only 10 i need more practice.
^.^ :)
Retired Teacher
written by Manuel , October 28, 2016

Spatial orientation is an important skill and goes hand in hand with other organizationally skills. Writing the words helps to memorize both the spelling of the word and its contextual significance. Joining the memory of the movement to visual memory helps to anchor further in the memory the flow of words, their shape and the construction of language. Use all portals of learning for a maximum of efficiency. A large proportion of cursive wring can be taught in conjunction with other integrated subjects.
...
written by Lewis, Tennessee, October 28, 2016

Learing to write cursive properly changed my life!
Dyslexia and cursive
written by Deidre, July 19, 2015

I am so sad that so many states and public school systems are phasing out cursive. The misguided notion that it is a waste of time is simply wrong. I am
A teacher and my youngest daughter has dyslexia. Lucky for her she goes to a parochial school with an amazing second grade teacher who recognized around the same time i did that when my daughter wrote in cursive It was legible and she had almost no incidences of flipping her letters. With cursive all of the letters being on the line and you don't pick up and your pencil until you finish a word so the words exist as units for dyslexics in a way that they do not in print for dyslexics. Before she learned to write in cursive - we were struggling trying to figure out a way to teach her to write. This is a child that finally learned to read in second grade and quickly rose to the 98 th percentile for reading for her age. Having seen how cursive allows my bright, artistically gifted, verbally exceptional and divergent thinking child to convey her thoughts through writing on paper in a way that she could not in print( and this was beginng to effect her confidence ), I am convinced that to eliminate cursive from the schools is actually detrimental to many dyslexic students academic success. We cannot allow this to continue and must reverse the trend.
...
written by Pat, Florida, June 16, 2015

My goodness! If you can't write in cursive, how can you read it? Are we to lose our connection with past history so easily! The very foundation for the way we live our lives today, the Declaration of Indepence, and other like documents, and we can't read them! Preposterous! Our grandmother's journals, another link to our history, simply tossed ! Seems to me so many are dependent on power cords , when in reality our brain doesn't need one! Learn to read and write in cursive !
benefits of cursive
written by Connie, Iowa, May 22, 2014

I have been researching the issue of whether or not children should be taught handwriting. The articles that I have found all indicate that learning to write is beneficial to brain development, fine motor skills, coordination, memory development and increasing self-esteem (successful completion of tasks). Based on this information, we do a disservice to our youth when we do not teach them handwriting at an early age.

Another area to consider is social etiquette. Professional in the field state that "Thank You" notes should be written out in cursive. The idea is that this indicates that you are truly appreciative of someone's efforts on your behalf since you took the time to write it out instead of typing the message.

I work in an industry where people must sign applications. It is truly amazing to me how many people do not have a legible signature. I can understand non-native English speakers not having a legible signature, but when native English speakers don't it makes me wonder about how much education these individuals have had. According to the research I have done some countries determine job you can obtain by the quality of your writing, both content and legibility. This is another reason why we should teach handwriting to our youth. Their lack of knowledge and skill can close doors to their future.
Many Benefits of Learning Handrwriting
written by Connie, Iowa, May 21, 2014

I have been researching the issue of whether or not children should be taught handwriting. The articles that I have found all indicate that learning to write is beneficial to brain development, fine motor skills, coordination, memory development and increasing self-esteem (successful completion of tasks). Based on this information, we do a disservice to our youth when we do not teach them handwriting at an early age.

Another area to consider is social etiquette. Professional in the field state that "Thank You" notes should be written out in cursive. The idea is that this indicates that you are truly appreciative of someone's efforts on your behalf since you took the time to write it out instead of typing the message.

I work in an industry where people must sign applications. It is truly amazing to me how many people do not have a legible signature. I can understand non-native English speakers not having a legible signature, but when native English speakers don't it makes me wonder about how much education these individuals have had. According to the research I have done some countries determine job you can obtain by the quality of your writing, both content and legibility. This is another reason why we should teach handwriting to our youth. Their lack of knowledge and skill can close doors to their future.
Cursive is Dead
written by Ame, NY, October 08, 2013

When was the last time I actually wrote a letter, rather than texted, emailed or phoned????? I can't recall. Let's follow the spirit of the Common Core and move our students into spending valuable time thinking about WHAT to write, rather than HOW to write it.
One thing I love about first grade is that students are no longer worried about letter formation and can let their creativity run free! Second grade, even better, because they have more command of spelling and do not rely so much on the word wall. Then we ruin it in grade 3 and 4.
Keep it going in the upper grades. If parents want their children to learn cursive, they can hire a tutor, or teach them themselves.
Oh, and I've never been asked to read or write cursive in a job interview....
Don't be emotional
written by DV India, July 05, 2013

Any one who have attended Science lecture will tell you that if you write while you listen then you will not understand any thing. so this concern about taking note is wrong; in fact notes should not be taking while attending lecture or listening to a important talk.

Hand Righting is important, Simple disjoint Upper-case and Lower-case letter are sufficient to serve the requirement of today's world.

Can you argue for Ink-pot and Sliced Stick/Brush;
for how we will write if there are no pen?
Eliminating Cursive? WHAT???
written by Tom from Cleveland, March 21, 2013

Society will regret doing this!!! -Tom
facebook.com/tprebis
Narrow mind, type it.
written by James China, October 27, 2012

Yes I did notice that the prior James seems to have lost the knack of finding the shift key while typing. Do you also plan to phase out the capitalization of proper nouns? And hey lets eliminate punctuation too.
IMO those who support eliminating hand writing instruction, whether it be block print or cursive, because of the ever increasing technology available in our lives, have viewed this very narrow mindedly. Researchers have discovered (using the high technology now available)that hand writing and specifically cursive has several significant benefits as a learning tool and not just as a way to put words onto some form of media be it electronic or good old fashioned paper. Teachers need to start looking at the big picture of how and what we teach by knowing the information available to us through the various disciplines of science, specifically neuroscience. I recommend this article as a start before you completely dismiss the idea of teaching cursive; http://triblocal.com/st-charle...ech-world/
Cursive Writing
written by Jeri, California, February 22, 2012

Did anyone else notice that "james," who thinks we should phase out cursive writing and only type, doesn't know when to use capital letters?
Technology isn't everything!!
written by Rachel, Chicago Illinois, July 08, 2011

It's extremely upsetting to me that most schools are no longer teaching cursive. Due to this change in the education system, my 13 yr. old son can't read or write cursive. I'm currently teaching him cursive at home, so the time not spent developing these skills at school, are now being spent at home. With the amount of homework he gets every night and with our cursive training; he never gets a break.
Lets not forget about fine motor skills and brain development. You would think that a teacher might know about these certain things...
What else will we do away with?
written by Vicky UK, April 11, 2011

Are handwritten exams then taking a leave of absence also? surely legible handwriting is a must if you want a good grade.

Unless exams are also to be computer based there is still a need for handwriting lessons - it's the only practice kids get with pen and paper these days!
cursive writing, Low-rated comment [Show]
...
written by Dave, April 02, 2011

One more excuse not to teach our kids. I write several pages of cursive everyday at work on technical matters. Do you people think I would hire anyone who could not read or write cursive?

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