Cursive: Gone Forever?

Is it possible that children of today’s generation might never know how to write cursive or their own signature?

It will happen if school districts around the country continue to eliminate cursive writing from their core standards requirements. Already some schools in Hawaii, Indiana, Florida, and North Carolina have stopped teaching cursive writing. Instead, children are taught to print until the 3rd grade at which time writing and letter formation are replaced with typewriting and keyboarding skills.

Besides the obvious ability to sign ones own name, the thought of an entire generation who can neither read nor write cursive is troubling. How will they read historical documents written in formal penmanship or sign a bank check?

The need for students to be technologically adept in this electronic era of computers and iPads is undisputed. It should be noted, however, that studies have been done to show what a long term detriment it will be for our students if writing by pen and pencil are replaced by computers.

Cursive letters on blackboard.
Learning to write cursive is important.

Studies Show Physical Writing is Essential

Anne Margen, a Norway university professor, performed studies with university students and drew the conclusion that simply writing with a pen or pencil provides valuable feedback to the brain. It alerts the brain of motor skill activity and energizes the five senses. If this study is accurate, encouraging students to trade writing by hand for computer writing could inhibit their ability to think creatively.  Another study out of Norway isolated the brain activity of writing by hand versus typing on a  computer. The study found that brain waves are significantly more active when a person holds a pen and writes on paper.

Our schools need to stop these cuts to school days and to subjects they deem unnecessary. First art and music were cut, then physical education. Will cursive writing be next on the chopping block? Will we watch as the creativity of our youth continue to be undervalued and undernourished in our schools?

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