What is one thing most American adults may have in common thirty years from now? According to a recent CNN story, it may be this: American adults will write like second graders. Forty-six states do not require cursive as part of school curriculum, with more school districts dropping the classic art every year. While it is really important to teach typing in today’s technological world, it’s also sad to see beautiful writing on the chopping block.
Beautiful, legible handwriting has been prized for hundreds of years. Schoolchildren strived for perfect letters and schoolteachers and tutors made sure that they learned them properly. Have you ever seen how elegantly written the Declaration of Independence is, not just for its wording but also for its gorgeous script? Check it out sometime. It’s awe-inspiring. Yet many young Americans wouldn’t be able to read it if their life depended on it.
Who needs cursive if you can just type? According to some educators, scrapping cursive from a child’s education puts them at a disadvantage. The fluidity of cursive helps students form connections in their brain and also helps with spelling skills and developing literacy. Cursive handwriting hones and refines fine motor skills and is much quicker than print writing. If you write in print, your hand won’t be able to keep up with your mind. The quicker and more fluidly you are able to write, the faster your ideas will be able to flow.
Also, students and adults alike do have to write with pen and paper some time or another. In most schools, students write by hand daily. Beautiful handwriting lets readers know something about your personality, style, and flair and tells them that you’re an intelligent individual. Seriously. According to a report on CNN, studies show that sloppy writing gives readers a negative impression of your writing and ideas. Is that really what you want your employer or teacher to think?
I’ve got a solution: if your school district doesn’t teach cursive handwriting, teach it yourself. Supplementing your child’s education with what he is lacking is one of the best things you can do for him. There are scores of great beginning cursive writing books at teacher supply stores as well as online. It doesn’t have to be a bore, nor is it difficult to teach. Cursive’s rounded letters are actually easier for little hands to form and kids don’t have to worry about where to start each new letter for proper spacing. Children are also less likely to reverse their letters if they write in cursive. If you never mastered cursive yourself, learn along with your child. It’s never too late to learn!
I started my 6-year-old daughter on cursive this school year and she loves it! She’s really proud when she writes her name neatly and beautifully. She loves learning her cursive alphabet and I’ve seen a huge improvement in her handwriting. I want all of my kids to have lovely handwriting. I think they’ll be better writers and students because of it. I want them to be able to read primary documents like the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, among numerous other important historical documents, in their original context. I want them to read letters and cards I’ve saved for them from their great-grandparents. I want children who will develop past the second-grade level when it comes to writing. Finely tuned handwriting is much more than a trivial, outdated skill.
Parents, if you want your child to have an automatic leg-up on their future competition, teach them to write legibly. Consider it your gift to them. One day they’ll thank you.
“Educators Warn of Negative Effects of Not Teaching Cursive in Schools.” http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/08/educators-warn-of-negative-effects-of-not-teaching-cursive-in-schools/
Nation of Adults Who Will Write Like Children? http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/08/10/handwriting.horror/index.html?iref=allsearch
“The Importance of Teaching Handwriting” http://www.ldonline.org/spearswerling/The_Importance_of_Teaching_Handwriting
- The end of cursive handwriting (geneveith.com)
- Cursive or typing in school? (cnn.com)
- Cursive or typing: Which should schools teach? (greatrealtor.wordpress.com)
- Nation of adults who write like kids? (cnn.com)
- The importance of cursive writing (felixreimer.wordpress.com)
- Cursive writing: Schools no longer required to teach cursive beginning this fall – fox59.com (underpaidgenius.com)
- Should kids still learn cursive writing? ()