In the 21st century, teaching cursive writing is increasingly becoming more of an exception than the rule. With computers emerging as the primary source for writing, many administrators feel teaching cursive writing is not necessary and believe the time would be better spent teaching keyboard skills.
Many students and parents, however, believe that teaching cursive writing is still very relevant and should not be so quickly dismissed. Maggie Wells from Parenting Squad polled teachers to uncover reasons why cursive should be taught in school:
Cursive develops motor skills
Cursive writing requires a very different skill set than print writing. It involves using the hand muscles in a different way. Additionally, it activates a different part of the brain than regular writing does. At the age cursive is taught, around 7 or 8-years-old, these skills can be very beneficial in furthering motor skill development. In turn, many other skills will benefit. Some administrators argue that the time teaching cursive writing would be better spent teaching keyboard skills. In this case, students do not actually have to use their hands to create the letters, which will make retention rates lower and not help motor skills at all.
Cursive reinforces learning
When students are only taught the English language in one form, print writing, they only get one chance to learn and memorize the letters. By having to learn cursive as well, it gives students another opportunity to fully comprehend the alphabet. Learning cursive also gives students a clearer understanding of how letters are formed, which will improve their print writing as well.
Cursive helps students with disabilities
Students with learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia, can have a very hard time with writing in print because many of the letters look similar, particularly b and d. On the contrary, cursive writing offers each letter a very different look. This gives dyslexic students another option; an option that can decrease their dyslexic tendencies and make them more confident in their abilities.
Cursive is an art form
More and more school districts are cutting art from their budgets. This can be detrimental to the full development of students. However, cursive writing can be considered an art form all its own. It is one more way for students to develop the side of their brain that is not developed by basic reading and writing skills. The more diverse a teaching curriculum is, the better.
Cursive connects students to the past
Without being able to read cursive writing, students will undoubtedly be kept from many opportunities to read important documents. Examples include many historical documents that are written in cursive. While some of these documents are readily available online in print form, not all of them are. It would be silly to expect students to use translators to interpret cursive writing when it is written in their own language.
Not only will students miss out on a part of history, they may very well miss out on reading important letters and cards from their grandparents or great-grandparents. The older generation still writes in cursive on a daily basis. Kids often rely on their parents to translate these letters and cards for them because they simply cannot read the cursive writing. Forty years from now, when these grandparents have passed on, kids may want to look back on these letters, and they should be able to read them.
So, should cursive be taught in school?
We think a resounding ‘Yes!’ If teaching cursive writing is eliminated from schools, children have a lot to lose. Though the world is becoming more and more technology dependent, there is something to be said for retaining a part of classic writing skills in the curriculum. Maybe schools need to start testing on the subject again in order to make teachers take it seriously. Cursive reinforces the mantra that learning should simply be for learning–not just to pass a test.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- Maggie Wells, "Teacher's Poll: Cursive Writing," Parenting Squad