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Cursive Writing: Spare Tire or Fourth Wheel?
posted by: Ruthie | March 04, 2013, 05:27 PM   

Many people view cursive writing as analogous to a spare tire, it's not completely necessary but it's definitely a good tool to have in your repertoire. However, the Idaho State Board of Education highly values cursive, enough, in fact, to make it a requirement for Idaho schools. The measure passed with a recent vote in the Senate.

The Bill's sponsor Linden Bateman persuaded legislators with handwritten letters and the need to follow tradition. Boise State University Professor Peter Wollheim corroborated Bateman's claims with research showing the impact cursive has on improving students' motor and composition skills.

Similarly, Sandy Schefkind, a pediatric occupational therapist and pediatric coordinator for the American Occupational Therapy Association, said that learning cursive helped students hone their fine motor skills.

In addition to its ability to improve motor skills, Jimmy Bryant, director of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Central Arkansas, says that a connection to archival material is lost when students turn away from cursive. Without the ability to read and write in cursive, students will no longer be able to appreciate classic works or decipher a message from one of the Founding Fathers, for example.

Despite the ability to improve motor skills, the connection to archival documents, and the aesthetic nature of cursive, many oppose the learning of cursive. "Schools today, we say we're preparing our kids for the 21st century," said Jacqueline DeChiaro, the principal of an elementary school in New York who is debating whether to cut cursive. "Is cursive really a 21st-century skill?"

With limited time in the school day, cursive has slowly shifted from a subject learned from third to seventh or eighth grade, to just third grade. "Cursive handwriting is dead, I would say, in the classroom," said Kate Hoffman, an English teacher at State College Area High School in Pennsylvania. "I think it exists now for thank-you notes and letters to your grandma."

As the Common Core State Standards increasingly dictate standards, cursive is not mentioned as mandatory. As educators use class time to teach the many requirements of the CCSS, it is likely that cursive writing will take a back seat in many states.

Do you think it is important for students to know how to write in cursive?

Comment below.

Comments (3)Add Comment
French Teacher and World Languages and Classics Department Head
written by Paula B Johnson St. Albans, VT, March 05, 2013

I commend Idaho schools for their move to require cursive. I have students who think printing their name is a signature. It is important to know how to write on cursive so you can also read cursive. It is part of literacy! Historical documents and people of other European nations still use cursive. It puts the American student at yet another disadvantage.
written by Judy Beach-- CA, March 04, 2013

Signatures are one of the important things about an individual. They stay discernibly similar over one's lifetime. They open a window to one's personality. They have a certain legal importance, and are done without printing. I for one believe people should learn to write during elementary school for fine-muscle control reasons..I pray we do not become a finger-print culture!!!
school psych
written by Ed - Illinois, March 04, 2013

I support being able to READ cursive, but I'm not convinced that writing it is necessary. I see many people who seem to print once they get older anyway.

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