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Is it the End of Cursive?

My 4-year old hovers over my iPad asking me, “How do you spell ‘snake’”?  He efficiently taps out the letters as I call them out to him.

On my electronic tablet he can navigate from YouTube to Skype to his favorite video.  He is part of a new generation learning to recognize computer keys even as he is learning to write the alphabet.

Researchers say often there is a direct correlation:  the more students tap away on computers at home, the less practice they get handwriting.

Several schools have been de-emphasizing handwriting, particularly cursive.

The Hanover Research in Washington, DC wrote in a February 2012 White Paper:

“The Common Core Standards—released in 2010 and so far adopted by all but five U.S. states—have pushed cursive handwriting to the wayside in favor of keyboarding and other tech-based literacy learning. Though the Core allows states to supplement the required curriculum with cursive writing (or to delegate the decision to individual districts), several have reduced such instruction or opted out entirely, citing cursive’s lack of relevance to modern life.”

It raises the question is handwriting still necessary for the C – (computer, connected) Generation?

Let’s face it if school instruction time is limited and children are being asked to do more with computers from research, to writing to emailing doesn’t it make sense to put cursive handwriting on the back burner?

Dr. Karin Harman James of Indiana University says no.  James has researched the impact of children writing by hand and brain activity. What she found is that handwriting helps children in the wiring of the brain for fine motor skills, memory and the development of literacy.

Director Daniel Domenech, the director of the American Association of School Administrators also weighed in at a recent conference on the issue.

“We are in a hurry to do away with basic skills because they can be replaced by technology. What happens when technology doesn’t work?  Cursive writing is still part of a good education,” he said.

There is another issue.  Youngsters who learn to communicate by typing and not by handwriting lose something.   Inevitably, there will be something they have to write out by hand in their future, be it the grocery list or a prescription for a patient.   Being able to write in a clear, legible fashion is a skill children need to learn.

And when it comes to reading wouldn’t it be nice if children are able to read the letter from Grandpa even when it’s written in cursive?


Weigh in:

What do you think should schools emphasize handwriting?

Should cursive be taught in schools?

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Category: Parenting

Comments (2)

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  1. Stacy says:

    Cursive, yes.

    In traditional Montessori schools, like the one my children attend, all the children are taught cursive before script.

    Maria Montessori chose to begin with lower case cursive because the gentle curved lines are an extension of the natural movement of the child’s hand. Circles and straight vertical lines, the key elements of script, are in fact two of the hardest strokes to master.

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