January 24, 2022
Should Cursive Still Be Taught in Schools?

Should Cursive Still Be Taught in Schools?

Anyone who spent time in grade school receiving low grades for poor cursive handwriting probably doesn’t feel it should continue to be taught.

On the other hand, there are very few things as flowing and beautiful as a well-written letter in perfect cursive. Have we lost a skill that generations of people won’t understand or learn because it’s no longer being taught? How much cursive do kids need to understand today? Let’s explore this topic and offer a potential answer that might be one you agree or disagree with.

What Do the Students Say?

When some kids are asked if they should be required to learn cursive, the answers are typically split. Some kids love the way this type of writing looks with the elegant style, the flowing arches, and the smooth movements from one letter to the next. On the other hand, some kids feel that this is a waste of time, a skill they will never use, and something that should be reserved only for those who want to learn how to perform this skill. So far, we don’t have a definitive answer from the students who would be required to learn this skill.

Where do the States Stand?

Many states have adopted the Common Core State Standards of instruction. In fact, this is the standard in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Common Core calls for handwriting instruction in kindergarten and first grade only. Once a child reaches second grade, they are to begin learning keyboard skills that will serve them well for the future. No mention of cursive handwriting is part of the Common Core, but that does not prevent any state from teaching this form of writing to students.

In fact, 14 states require cursive instruction. This is a skill that many are loyally in favor of and want kids to learn. This is certainly the case in the states that require it. Some arguments have been made that without this type of writing, future generations will not be able to decipher the intent of the original Constitution, although that seems to be a far-fetched argument. Considering you can read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence online in typed format, we can find the words and understand the meaning of this document without reading in cursive.

Another argument for students learning cursive is that our very identities are being compromised when we can’t create identifiable signatures. This is potentially a valid argument for students to at least learn to write their own signatures in cursive, but that too might be unnecessary in the future.

Politicians Get Involved

In 2016, Alabama state representative Dickie Drake sponsored a bill to require cursive instruction in school. This bill was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley, and it was written and signed into law entirely in cursive handwriting. This was just one battle into this old world of writing, with another taking place in the New York City public school system. This is the largest school district in the country, and schools were encouraged to teach elementary students cursive.

The Old Ways are Dying Off

Just like many other aspects of our lives, the old ways of doing things are dying off. Today, you can send an email that is received within seconds instead of mailing a letter. Mailed letters arrive in a couple of days instead of weeks, and we can travel across the country in a few hours instead of months. Cursive handwriting may be another one of the old ways that are dying off.

This was initially taught in the 19thcentury as a “Christian Ideal” but declined in the 20thcentury when typewriters were used for more writing. Since the development of computers, word processors, and now smart devices, the need for writing in cursive has certainly taken a back seat to the other forms of communication that we have today.

Some Studies of Usefulness

Without the thought that we need to get rid of cursive and only use computers and handheld devices to write and communicate, there have been some proven benefits. We now have the capability to test kids at earlier ages for learning disabilities and identify what those challenges might be. Students who suffer from dyslexia can learn to read and write better with cursive than with print. Cursive letters require more hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, which forces these students to focus more and read each letter of the words on the page.

Why Should Cursive be Taught to Students?

There are several benefits of learning to write in cursive. These benefits might be argument enough for this handwriting skill to be taught to students in lower grades. Here are some of those reasons:

Development of Motor Skills

Cursive requires a different set of skills to write legibly and master the skill. You use your hand muscles differently and engage other parts of your brain when reading and writing this type of communication.

A Second Chance at Learning

The ability to read and write the English language in another format is another way to learn and understand the language that we speak. This form of writing also gives students a clearer understanding of how letters are formed.

Lost Art Form

If cursive handwriting isn’t taught any longer, it will become a lost art form that isn’t used. Cursive is the precursor to some of the forms of calligraphy we see with flowing lines and smooth curves that are beautiful to see.

A Connection to the Past

Older documents that are written in cursive can be viewed and translated by younger people as they are discovered if they understand how to read and write in cursive. These documents might be lost in translation if cursive is no longer taught.

Cursive Should beTaught, But…

Cursive handwriting should not be lost in the world we live in today, but it should not be a school requirement. Rather, this should be something that can be a chosen elective in school, taught by parents at home, or learned by a student who wants to learn it on their own. Teachers are already taxed to the max and don’t need to be bogged down with teaching cursive along with keyboarding skills.