Four years ago, cursive writing was all but declared dead. About 42 states had dropped its teaching from the required curriculum. Instead instruction focused on keyboarding with the goal that students be proficient in that skill at least by the end of second grade. The media came alive with arguments for and against teaching cursive writing.
There were questions: How would non-learners read letters written when handwriting was such a part of daily life? What about certifying documents, even something as common as a check? What about reading personality by studying a person’s handwriting?
After the initial flurry of pros and cons, I started noticing reports of studies showing a strong relationship between learning cursive writing and mental development in children since it activates unique neural pathways. It may even make learning easier.
Such reports made me more interested in the role of cursive writing. Until that point, I was just not passionate about the subject which is why I started and rejected many posts over the four years. I realized that over my years of teaching elementary school, when they tried to take away the teaching of phonics and basic math facts out of the curriculum, I continued their instruction as a subversive activity. It would be more difficult to do that with handwriting instruction.
The jury is still out on the value of cursive writing, but it is interesting to note that its teaching is returning to more and more schools across the country. It reminds me of when I wrote a post bemoaning the fact that there would no longer be “Twinkies.” Within months they were back on the market with even greater popularity. Let’s revisit opinions on cursive writing as time passes.
Dorothy C. Judd (c) 2017