17 Jun The Case for Cursive writing
I still remember the first day I ever served as a substitute teacher for a classroom. I looked over the instructions left by the 7th grade teacher and proceeded to write the assignments and instructions on the whiteboard. Another teacher popped her head in the room to make sure I had everything I needed, saw what I was doing, and told me, “Oh honey, no. They’re not going to be able to read that.” I looked at the board, looked back at said teacher, and jokingly quipped, “Is my handwriting that bad?” “No, you’re handwriting is fine, but these kids can’t read cursive. We stopped teaching that years ago.” This is the case for many school districts across the country.
In the 21st century world of computers, iPads, PDF downloads, Tweets, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, teaching cursive writing is increasingly seen as an archaic skill of past generations that has seemingly gone the way of the Dodo bird, and doesn’t apply to the world today.
Some districts however are rediscovering the benefits of being able to read and write in cursive script, and South Hills Academy is no exception.
So, why is cursive writing still important in the digital age? Here are several arguments for you to consider:
- Cursive writing helps student develop their motor skills because it requires a very different skill set from 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.
- Cursive writing reinforces learning as it serves as a second way for students to learn the letters of the alphabet and a better understanding of how words are formed.
- Every legal document from rent agreements, college applications, and workplace contracts require a cursive signature as well as a printed one.
- Students with learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia, can have a difficult time with writing in print because many of the letters look similar, particularly b and d. Cursive letters, however, look quite different from their printed counterparts. This gives dyslexic students another option that can make them more confident in their academics.
- Cursive writing also helps connect students to the past. Back in 2009, my brother and I took a trip to the Ronald Regan presidential library, because we wanted to see the Magna Carta on display. There was such a sense of awe and wonder gazing at this 800-year-old document. It was written in Latin, but with both my brother’s and my ability to read and write in cursive, we were able to discern at least what some of the letters and words were, even if we couldn’t quite translate the document in its entirety. Think about this: so many historical documents, from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence, are written in cursive. While some of these documents are readily available online in print form, not all of them are. Without being able to read cursive writing, students will undoubtedly be kept from many opportunities to read important documents that are a vital part of their history.
While some may not be convinced, we here at South Hills Academy are committed to teaching our students this artistic form of communication as a part of our continued promise of providing our students with a full, well-rounded education.