Is cursive writing dead? And, if it is, does it matter?
As for the first question, according to the media, it certainly seems that cursive writing is dead or hovering over its last curved letter. An article in the Boston Globe reported that at the end of 2012 42 states have stopped teaching cursive writing and the rest are debating doing so. The school day is already packed full with mandated subjects that will be tested. An easy thing to eliminate is cursive writing which is seen as a frill in the age of keyboarding. And why not? Very few people write letters by hand anymore. It’s so much easier to use email, even for greeting cards. When addressing anyone under twenty, one has to print as they can’t read cursive anyway. However, so far, the PSAT and the LSAT, among other standardized tests, require that the certifying statement be in cursive. When I was proctoring the PSAT’s I had to explain what was meant by cursive writing. One LSAT taker told me that completing the writing sample in cursive, also required, was the hardest part of the whole test.
I admit I have a checkered past in regard to cursive. When I was in third grade and learning to write in cursive (Just ordinary old cursive, not Palmer Method), I was so bad at it that the teacher often made me stay in from recess to practice letter formation. When I began teaching third grade and the curriculum included teaching cursive writing, I panicked. . My handwriting is legible, but I would have a problem teaching correct letter formation. I quickly struck a deal with my teammates (Thank you Debby and Lisa) : they would teach handwriting and I would teach creative writing.
But does it matter if cursive writing is dead? Maybe. I’m just not sure. At the very least, we would break a tradition , and we would lose what is essentially an art form displaying the individuality and perhaps the personality of the writer. Even the handwriting of those instructed in the Palmer Method has its uniqueness. In our personal lives, cursive writing on an envelope, in a card, in a letter is easily identifiable. It is cherished if a loved one has passed on.
What happens to handwriting analysis , to forgery?
I leave you with this question: is it still a signature if it is printed?
© Dorothy C. Judd
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