Cursive Writing by Sunaina Narang

My 7 year old son is learning how to write at the moment which has made me think back to my childhood. Times of course have changed and the way we do things have also evolved with the times. While I learned to read and write the old-fashioned way I find that my son has a lot of aids at his disposal. For example, I never a had a pencil gripper to help me hold the pencil. Neither did I have flash cards to help me read. While modern innovations have made life easier in many ways, it has also made us step away from the traditional way of doing things.
When I was in school in the late 80s/early 90s the use of a PC wasn’t widespread. All our assignments were handwritten. These days I find that students don’t hand-write anything anymore. The traditional art of putting pen to paper is soon going to be extinct.

For years, the teaching of cursive writing has been on the decline, and many schools today don’t even teach handwriting. Is it a lost art? Should children be taught cursive writing? In the 21st century, teaching cursive writing is increasingly becoming more of the exception than the rule. Computers these days are the primary source of writing and so many administrators feel teaching cursive writing is not necessary and believe the time would be better spent teaching keyboard skills. However, a large number of people students and parents alike, feel that teaching cursive writing is still very relevant and should not be so quickly dismissed.

Here five reasons why I think that cursive writing should be taught in schools:

Develops motor skills: Cursive writing requires a very different skill set from print writing. It involves using the hand muscles which is very different from using a keyboard. Additionally, it activates a different part of the brain than regular writing does. At 7 or 8 years old the age when cursive writing is taught, these skills can be very beneficial in furthering motor skill development.

Reinforces learning: When students learn English in print writing form they only one way to memorise the letters. By having to learn cursive writing as well, students get another opportunity to fully comprehend the alphabet. Learning cursive also gives students a clearer understanding of how letters are formed, which will improve their ability to print write.

Working with legal documents: A cursive signature is most commonly required to endorse legal documents, accompanied by a printed version. Writing and signing checks is another reason for learning cursive writing. Cursive writing has historically been the standard style when writing cheques for payment. Students risk being confident and successful when working with basic legal documents if they don’t learn cursive.

Helps students with disabilities: Students with learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia, can have a very hard time with writing in print because many of the letters look similar, particularly b and d. Cursive letters, however, look very different from print letters. This reduces dyslexic tendencies making students more confident in their abilities.
Connect students to the past: Cursive writing in all regional languages and English is a part of our heritage. Our ancestors did it, our parents did it. Reading old letters, and the concept of keeping diaries will be alien to children who are not taught cursive writing.

Children who are not taught cursive writing won’t be able to pass it on to their children and so on and so forth. Before we know it we would have lost a large chunk of our past! Alarming thought isn’t it?

Cursive is a lost art form: Many schools don’t have the budget for the arts. This can be detrimental to the full development of students. Cursive writing could be considered an art form all its own. It is one more way for students to develop the side of their brain that is not developed by basic reading and writing skills. A diverse curriculum is the best!
This is another topic that would make an excellent argument essay.

If you want to broaden the scope of this topic, you might try researching the history of handwriting (and the teaching of cursive writing) and then explain the relevance (or irrelevance) of handwriting for today’s students.