Remember practicing the endless pages of patterns and curls that culminated
in cursive? I struggled to master many of the letters and longed for the
simple lines of print. Cursive writing was traditionally introduced in
the second grade and mastered in the third, but many schools are skipping
over cursive to opt for the more tech-savvy options. Once children have
learned how to write, educators are increasingly moving them on to the
keyboard so that they can learn to type. Could this spell the end of cursive writing?
It would seem so as 46 states have adopted the Common Core Standards which
no longer mandate the teaching of cursive in elementary schools. Of course
the need to type in today’s computer-centric world is obvious and
many schools move second and third graders who have mastered printing
their letters straight to the keyword.
Jan Olsen, founder of “Handwriting without Tears” laments the
loss of penmanship saying; “If you stop teaching handwriting in
the second grade, you’re going to have a generation of people who
write like second graders.”
Some parents are also sad to see the end of the elegant script. Lisa Faircloth,
an Atlanta mother of two says she’s really glad that her son Joe
learned cursive before it was cut; “I feel like it has helped him
with his fine motor skills and made him more graceful,” she says.
“He shows more of an interest in art because he is able to form
things he hadn’t before and has new muscle movements that he didn’t
Other researchers are not concerned with the possibility that future generations
may not be able to read the Declaration of Independence or sign autographs.
They are content to have students read important documents transcribed
in digital form and sign their names in print.
The only remaining argument in support of cursive writing is the speed
at which it enables the writer to work. If most students had access to
laptops or PCs which made it possible for them to type in-school assignments
and exams, then the death of cursive would be a moot point. But with most
of the work in schools still done by hand, a legible handwriting that
can be quickly executed is invaluable. Under the stress of exams and with
time constraints, students may not have enough time to write legibly;
an impediment that may see them lose valuable marks. If your child can
write legibly in print and fast enough to keep up during exams and while
taking notes in class, they may not need to learn cursive writing.
Good penmanship has always been an asset to the well-rounded individual.
Perhaps it’s old fashioned, but most people appreciate the personal
touch that a hand-written letter or card conveys so much more than their
digital counterparts. But sentiment must give way to progress as the need
for children to be able to type outweighs the romance of cursive writing.