The end of cursive handwriting

When I was in grade school, penmanship kept me off of the honor roll.  Today most schools have not only dropped penmanship, they do not even teach cursive writing anymore

Most states don’t require children to learn cursive writing anymore. Some 46 states have adopted the Common Core Standards, a set of educational guidelines that do not require cursive writing as part of a school’s curriculum. The state of Indiana recently announced it would drop a district requirement to teach cursive writing as of this fall. Instead, students must be able to type on keyboards.

Technology has pushed cursive writing off the agenda of many school systems across the country. As a result, Handwriting Without Tears founder Jan Olsen sees more sloppy handwriting in schools today.

“If you stop teaching handwriting in the second grade, you’re going to have a generation of people who write like second graders,” says Olsen, whose company teaches a clean and simple style of cursive that avoids the fancy curls and swirls of old-fashioned script. . . .

“Handwritten documents convey important cultural information about authors,” says Davis Schneiderman, novelist and chair of the English Department at Lake Forest College. “These documents also suggest an authenticity that electronically produced documents do not. The Declaration is an index of its time as well as clue to the physicality of its signers. Imagine ‘John Hancock’ typed in an 18-point Times New Roman font. The proud fury behind his oversized signature would be lost.” . . .

Granted, most workplaces are more likely to be dominated by computers and technology than pens and pencils and handwritten thank you notes. Its makes sense that computers are the go-to resource for researching and writing papers and other homework assignments.

And some writing experts aren’t worried about children not being able to read the original Declaration of Independence or sign their names in cursive. Historical documents can be reprinted in print form and children can be taught to sign their names in cursive for legal documents and birthday cards.

Yet teens who can’t write legibly — multimillionaire teen celebrities aside — do suffer. Even though many children use computers to write papers at home, most writing done within the school walls is still done by hand. (The country’s ongoing economic problems won’t likely add many computers to our nation’s public school classrooms in the next few years.)

“Without it [cursive handwriting] you lose the sense of having your thought process through your hand movements to create your language and thoughts to someone else,” says Michael Sull, a master penman in Spencerian script; past president of the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting; and author of four books on handwriting including, “American Cursive Handwriting,” which was released last month. “There is a great loss in the progress that could be made with children fostering their motor skill development, literacy training and concepts of communication.”

via Nation of adults who will write like children? – CNN.com.

Should we just let cursive go, like cuneiform, in our new word-processing information environment?  Shouldn’t we at least teach kids to, you know, sign their names, something that credit cards and legal documents still require?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    This calls for a celebration! Cursive: hated it in grade school – hate it now. Fostering motor skill development my foot! Teach ‘em origami. Or keyboarding – even better.

  • Pete

    This calls for a celebration! Cursive: hated it in grade school – hate it now. Fostering motor skill development my foot! Teach ‘em origami. Or keyboarding – even better.

  • Joe

    As much as I hate it, I think it still needs to be taught. It is not a dead language – its still American English. Kids need to be fully literate.

  • Joe

    As much as I hate it, I think it still needs to be taught. It is not a dead language – its still American English. Kids need to be fully literate.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Nation of adults who will write like children?”

    At least it’s being consistent for a nation of adults who act like children.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Nation of adults who will write like children?”

    At least it’s being consistent for a nation of adults who act like children.

  • http://www.classicalwritingtutorials.com Kathy Weitz

    For many reasons, including the transmission of culture (how many letters and primary documents just from American history are written in cursive?) we must continue to teach cursive.

    And there is evidence that teaching cursive FIRST may help students avoid dyslexic tendencies. I taught both of my younger boys cursive first, and they had virtually no letter reversals, which had been a significant problem for three of my older four. Take a look at Denise Eide’s excellent new book/curriculum, The Logic of English – she addresses this, and shows teachers how to teach cursive before manuscript. It might have also made a difference for those of you who never mastered cursive, since we learn best what we learn first. :)

  • http://www.classicalwritingtutorials.com Kathy Weitz

    For many reasons, including the transmission of culture (how many letters and primary documents just from American history are written in cursive?) we must continue to teach cursive.

    And there is evidence that teaching cursive FIRST may help students avoid dyslexic tendencies. I taught both of my younger boys cursive first, and they had virtually no letter reversals, which had been a significant problem for three of my older four. Take a look at Denise Eide’s excellent new book/curriculum, The Logic of English – she addresses this, and shows teachers how to teach cursive before manuscript. It might have also made a difference for those of you who never mastered cursive, since we learn best what we learn first. :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My older son never mastered printing. He can only write in cursive. He writes everything in cursive, even crossword puzzles. Occasionally he makes errors on his math because math is essentially printed and he has so much trouble with print. Mostly he just does all the math in his head and only writes the bare minimum necessary to get the answer on paper.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My older son never mastered printing. He can only write in cursive. He writes everything in cursive, even crossword puzzles. Occasionally he makes errors on his math because math is essentially printed and he has so much trouble with print. Mostly he just does all the math in his head and only writes the bare minimum necessary to get the answer on paper.

  • Dennis

    One of the unstated reasons that schools no longer want to teach cursive is that it has become very difficult to teach. Preschools do not teach children how to properly hold a pencil–they let the child “discover” how they want to hold it. Kindergardens do not correct how the pencils are being held. Then they are in second or third grade with some unique ways to hold a writing instrument–that is not helpful for cursive. Of course, the need to practice these new skills is not part of our students makeup these days either.

  • Dennis

    One of the unstated reasons that schools no longer want to teach cursive is that it has become very difficult to teach. Preschools do not teach children how to properly hold a pencil–they let the child “discover” how they want to hold it. Kindergardens do not correct how the pencils are being held. Then they are in second or third grade with some unique ways to hold a writing instrument–that is not helpful for cursive. Of course, the need to practice these new skills is not part of our students makeup these days either.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “One of the unstated reasons that schools no longer want to teach cursive is that it has become very difficult to teach.”

    It is hard to teach? Who knew?

    Seriously, as life gets easier in so many ways, we lose patience with working on things that are difficult.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “One of the unstated reasons that schools no longer want to teach cursive is that it has become very difficult to teach.”

    It is hard to teach? Who knew?

    Seriously, as life gets easier in so many ways, we lose patience with working on things that are difficult.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Dennis,

    My son had wonderful teachers in PreK and K, and a mean mother who made him practice but still couldn’t print. Learning cursive for him was like getting out of prison. Suddenly, he could write.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Dennis,

    My son had wonderful teachers in PreK and K, and a mean mother who made him practice but still couldn’t print. Learning cursive for him was like getting out of prison. Suddenly, he could write.

  • Mockingbird

    First, I agree with Dennis. I do think part of the problem is it is difficult to teach. Combine this with many teachers who had difficulty with it themselves, and it is very easy to simply let it drop.

    I assign a multitude of five paragraph essays to my students, and last year I decided to require one to be handwritten, in cursive. Mostly I had done this to force handwriting practice, but I got something better. For most students, it was the best essay they had written. They are all proficient typers, but the handwritten essay had forced them to slow down, think about their composition and what they were going to say next. It helped teach them that writing isn’t about getting words on the page, it is about getting the words on the page and making them interesting to read.

    It was another reminder that the goal of education is not learning pragmatic skills. Our goal in learning to read isn’t so we can fill out job applications, we don’t learn math only so that we can count change, and we don’t learn cursive only so we can sign a check or a birthday card. The goal of education is learning to reason and to think, and we should use all our tools, even cursive, to foster that.

  • Mockingbird

    First, I agree with Dennis. I do think part of the problem is it is difficult to teach. Combine this with many teachers who had difficulty with it themselves, and it is very easy to simply let it drop.

    I assign a multitude of five paragraph essays to my students, and last year I decided to require one to be handwritten, in cursive. Mostly I had done this to force handwriting practice, but I got something better. For most students, it was the best essay they had written. They are all proficient typers, but the handwritten essay had forced them to slow down, think about their composition and what they were going to say next. It helped teach them that writing isn’t about getting words on the page, it is about getting the words on the page and making them interesting to read.

    It was another reminder that the goal of education is not learning pragmatic skills. Our goal in learning to read isn’t so we can fill out job applications, we don’t learn math only so that we can count change, and we don’t learn cursive only so we can sign a check or a birthday card. The goal of education is learning to reason and to think, and we should use all our tools, even cursive, to foster that.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I remember the sense of accomplishment I had when I learned cursive. As I changed from blocky childish letters to swirling more elegant looking styles (even though my handwriting is anything but elegant) I felt more grown up.

    My wife will laugh if she ever reads this, but sometimes you teach the non-pragmatic things because sometimes it is just good to know.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I remember the sense of accomplishment I had when I learned cursive. As I changed from blocky childish letters to swirling more elegant looking styles (even though my handwriting is anything but elegant) I felt more grown up.

    My wife will laugh if she ever reads this, but sometimes you teach the non-pragmatic things because sometimes it is just good to know.

  • Helen K.

    As a senior citizen I never was at ease in cursive. I wanted to be. Perhaps my left-handedness was a barrier. I always admired and envied folks with good handwriting. And the funny part….some of who I thought were the most ignorant of kids i.e. adults, had the most beautiful and readable writing.
    I’m a far better typist than “handwriter”, but I still enjoy seeing clear and beautiful cursive.

  • Helen K.

    As a senior citizen I never was at ease in cursive. I wanted to be. Perhaps my left-handedness was a barrier. I always admired and envied folks with good handwriting. And the funny part….some of who I thought were the most ignorant of kids i.e. adults, had the most beautiful and readable writing.
    I’m a far better typist than “handwriter”, but I still enjoy seeing clear and beautiful cursive.

  • John

    I am actually the other way around. If one must write with a pen, then cursive is the only thing worth learning – why learn print at all? I believe the A Beka curriculum that some Christian schools use starts out with cursive in K-5, and never teaches print at all.

  • John

    I am actually the other way around. If one must write with a pen, then cursive is the only thing worth learning – why learn print at all? I believe the A Beka curriculum that some Christian schools use starts out with cursive in K-5, and never teaches print at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I don’t think one needs to learn cursive writing these days. I learned cursive when I was in school, but have always used “printing” instead, unless required to use cursive. Of course, my printing these days is starting to look a bit more like cursive, because I’m too lazy and impatient to make it look neat, but it’s still easier to read than anything I might write in real cursive.

    More importantly, I think everyone should learn to read cursive. Especially, if you might ever have to research old handwritten documents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I don’t think one needs to learn cursive writing these days. I learned cursive when I was in school, but have always used “printing” instead, unless required to use cursive. Of course, my printing these days is starting to look a bit more like cursive, because I’m too lazy and impatient to make it look neat, but it’s still easier to read than anything I might write in real cursive.

    More importantly, I think everyone should learn to read cursive. Especially, if you might ever have to research old handwritten documents.

  • Darren

    I only wrote in cursive until high school, at which point the teachers told me they didn’t care which we used, and I gladly went back to printing.

    I basically haven’t written anything but my signature in cursive for about 20 years now. I really don’t care if my kids learn to write it, although I agree with Mike @13 that learning to read it is important.

  • Darren

    I only wrote in cursive until high school, at which point the teachers told me they didn’t care which we used, and I gladly went back to printing.

    I basically haven’t written anything but my signature in cursive for about 20 years now. I really don’t care if my kids learn to write it, although I agree with Mike @13 that learning to read it is important.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I believe the A Beka curriculum that some Christian schools use starts out with cursive in K-5, and never teaches print at all.”

    A Beka makes some manuscript curriculum, but the default is cursive. My son was taught manuscript using ABeka at his LCMS kindergarten.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I believe the A Beka curriculum that some Christian schools use starts out with cursive in K-5, and never teaches print at all.”

    A Beka makes some manuscript curriculum, but the default is cursive. My son was taught manuscript using ABeka at his LCMS kindergarten.

  • Jonathan

    My olderest boy had abeka curriculum in Kindergarten and he had beautiful cursive handrwriting by the end of the school year. After that he completely lost the ability because the next public schools didn’t care about handwriting. Now in fourth grade, he’s going to have to relearn it all over again.

  • Jonathan

    My olderest boy had abeka curriculum in Kindergarten and he had beautiful cursive handrwriting by the end of the school year. After that he completely lost the ability because the next public schools didn’t care about handwriting. Now in fourth grade, he’s going to have to relearn it all over again.

  • Stephanie

    I really wanted to learn cursive and could not *wait* for third grade. That is probably because my mother told me it was “secret code” that only adults knew when I was 5 or so. I also have fond memories of writing out the whole of “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout” for fifth grade handwriting class.

    So I didn’t so much mind learning cursive, but the exactitude required was, at times, grating. Perhaps moreso because Candi (yes, that was her name, and yes, she did dot the i with little hearts, we were in 5th grade…) was allowed to get by with very neat but bubbly and left-slanted handwriting while mine had to match the example letters perfectly.

  • Stephanie

    I really wanted to learn cursive and could not *wait* for third grade. That is probably because my mother told me it was “secret code” that only adults knew when I was 5 or so. I also have fond memories of writing out the whole of “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout” for fifth grade handwriting class.

    So I didn’t so much mind learning cursive, but the exactitude required was, at times, grating. Perhaps moreso because Candi (yes, that was her name, and yes, she did dot the i with little hearts, we were in 5th grade…) was allowed to get by with very neat but bubbly and left-slanted handwriting while mine had to match the example letters perfectly.

  • WebMonk

    Cursive and hand writing still needs to be taught, but not for reasons of necessity to communicate in a written format. It’s certainly on its way out for that purpose. Not gone, but definitely on its way out. Give it another 100 years and it might be gone.

    However, as have been mentioned above, there are other reasons which handwriting and cursive should continue to be taught.

  • WebMonk

    Cursive and hand writing still needs to be taught, but not for reasons of necessity to communicate in a written format. It’s certainly on its way out for that purpose. Not gone, but definitely on its way out. Give it another 100 years and it might be gone.

    However, as have been mentioned above, there are other reasons which handwriting and cursive should continue to be taught.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Personally, I enjoy cursive. It’s good for when I want to write painfully slow.

    But is it flowery enough? What about calligraphy? Many important documents are written in calligraphy, but I don’t recall it ever being taught in our schools.

    To say nothing of blackletter, in particular! It was used throughout most of Europe until the 17th century, and in Germany until the 20th! Surely we Lutherans should be teaching our children to write in blackletter (even though I have a hard time reading it, myself)!

    And don’t forget uncial script! And Carolingian minuscule!

    Of course, we’re gonna have to take science out of the curriculum to make room for teaching all these writing styles.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Personally, I enjoy cursive. It’s good for when I want to write painfully slow.

    But is it flowery enough? What about calligraphy? Many important documents are written in calligraphy, but I don’t recall it ever being taught in our schools.

    To say nothing of blackletter, in particular! It was used throughout most of Europe until the 17th century, and in Germany until the 20th! Surely we Lutherans should be teaching our children to write in blackletter (even though I have a hard time reading it, myself)!

    And don’t forget uncial script! And Carolingian minuscule!

    Of course, we’re gonna have to take science out of the curriculum to make room for teaching all these writing styles.

  • helen

    What passes for “science” in the average elementary school could be dispensed with for the sake of good handwriting, which I regret not having. Legible, yes, but not beautiful as my cousin Franklyn’s cursive was.
    His Christmas notes were a gift, for the beauty of them as well as for the seldom supplied news.

    We both went to small town schools but his, in Dakota, taught beautiful writing.

  • helen

    What passes for “science” in the average elementary school could be dispensed with for the sake of good handwriting, which I regret not having. Legible, yes, but not beautiful as my cousin Franklyn’s cursive was.
    His Christmas notes were a gift, for the beauty of them as well as for the seldom supplied news.

    We both went to small town schools but his, in Dakota, taught beautiful writing.

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  • mendicus

    Wow, my future students are really going to struggle on the bluebook exams I give them.

  • mendicus

    Wow, my future students are really going to struggle on the bluebook exams I give them.

  • Metoo

    I found this information most disconcerting and as an additional blow to the quality of education in this nation (and others). I shared Dr. Veith’s site with a British author friend (a good fellow) and he commented, “It is -a ruddy shame to stop teaching handwriting. I think very shortsighted, too. But what can you do against modern teachers?” I recall that recent studies have shown that there is an alteration in memory skills, to the negative, as we rely more and more upon “electronic gadgets” of all descriptions. I have watched the quality of education decline over the decades both in primary and secondary education not to mention university and graduate school. There are good teachers out there but do they last long or do they move on fighting a system that is bent upon degrading education, etc.? In 1946 the famous comedian, Bob Hope, did a public service announcement on the radio about the fact that 250,000 teachers left teaching in that year (and something about old, outdated text books — 20 or so years old). We hear about “investing in education.” Throwing money at a bad and corrupt system does not profit those being taught. I recall a Texas governor some years ago demand that teachers, new and old, be given a qualification exam. The teachers union fought tooth and nail against it, but the governor won. The results? The majority of of old and new teachers failed. It is not only Texas, but a national problem. Our students are #1 in “Self Esteem” but nothing else. Recently it was found that the majority of students could not identify a picture of Abraham Lincoln and that is just the tip of the “ice berg.” A “school teacher” on the TV program, “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” recently answered “true” to the question, “Does the Mississippi River flow from East to West.” Another question, “Are we to late to change the tide?” 30 years ago the Army had to give officers a sub-course first when they enrolled in continuing education. That was essentially English 101 for these college graduates with commissions. I all to often see people respond to faulty logic arguments, i.e. “arguments to emotion” rather than logical ones. That is one reason not a few politicians can get away with things so easily. They use words that you think you know the meaning of when they mean something entirely different.
    Speaking of dictionaries, most don’t take note of “post modern” alterations (a.k.a. politically correct alterations) to definitions that are selected by a few and are accepted without question. That is not to mention definitions that remain uncorrected most of the time, i.e. that Lutherans (confessional) believe in consubstantiation which has been refuted centuries ago even by non-Lutherans. To many folks select what they like from “Answers.com” rather than go to primary sources. I pray that it is not to late to turn things around!

  • Metoo

    I found this information most disconcerting and as an additional blow to the quality of education in this nation (and others). I shared Dr. Veith’s site with a British author friend (a good fellow) and he commented, “It is -a ruddy shame to stop teaching handwriting. I think very shortsighted, too. But what can you do against modern teachers?” I recall that recent studies have shown that there is an alteration in memory skills, to the negative, as we rely more and more upon “electronic gadgets” of all descriptions. I have watched the quality of education decline over the decades both in primary and secondary education not to mention university and graduate school. There are good teachers out there but do they last long or do they move on fighting a system that is bent upon degrading education, etc.? In 1946 the famous comedian, Bob Hope, did a public service announcement on the radio about the fact that 250,000 teachers left teaching in that year (and something about old, outdated text books — 20 or so years old). We hear about “investing in education.” Throwing money at a bad and corrupt system does not profit those being taught. I recall a Texas governor some years ago demand that teachers, new and old, be given a qualification exam. The teachers union fought tooth and nail against it, but the governor won. The results? The majority of of old and new teachers failed. It is not only Texas, but a national problem. Our students are #1 in “Self Esteem” but nothing else. Recently it was found that the majority of students could not identify a picture of Abraham Lincoln and that is just the tip of the “ice berg.” A “school teacher” on the TV program, “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader” recently answered “true” to the question, “Does the Mississippi River flow from East to West.” Another question, “Are we to late to change the tide?” 30 years ago the Army had to give officers a sub-course first when they enrolled in continuing education. That was essentially English 101 for these college graduates with commissions. I all to often see people respond to faulty logic arguments, i.e. “arguments to emotion” rather than logical ones. That is one reason not a few politicians can get away with things so easily. They use words that you think you know the meaning of when they mean something entirely different.
    Speaking of dictionaries, most don’t take note of “post modern” alterations (a.k.a. politically correct alterations) to definitions that are selected by a few and are accepted without question. That is not to mention definitions that remain uncorrected most of the time, i.e. that Lutherans (confessional) believe in consubstantiation which has been refuted centuries ago even by non-Lutherans. To many folks select what they like from “Answers.com” rather than go to primary sources. I pray that it is not to late to turn things around!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Metoo (@22) said,

    To [sic] many folks select what they like from “Answers.com” rather than go to primary sources. I pray that it is not to [sic] late to turn things around!

    Hmm. Hmmmmmm.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Metoo (@22) said,

    To [sic] many folks select what they like from “Answers.com” rather than go to primary sources. I pray that it is not to [sic] late to turn things around!

    Hmm. Hmmmmmm.

  • Metoo

    Sorry tODD about my” finger slips.” For one thing, I hit “r” and often come out with”rr” instead, sometimes I hit “oo” and without looking find it came out with a lonely “o.” Loss of sleep, severe storms, etc. had me off my game. Us old folks have our faults too.

  • Metoo

    Sorry tODD about my” finger slips.” For one thing, I hit “r” and often come out with”rr” instead, sometimes I hit “oo” and without looking find it came out with a lonely “o.” Loss of sleep, severe storms, etc. had me off my game. Us old folks have our faults too.

  • Metoo

    Oh! Do my typos detract from the points made in the content? Hmmm.

  • Metoo

    Oh! Do my typos detract from the points made in the content? Hmmm.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Metoo (@25), :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Metoo (@25), :)

  • WebMonk

    Typically I don’t pay attention to typos and horrible grammar in posts. There are far too many instances to remark on them. The mistakes don’t impact the content.

    However, when a post defending and promoting grammar and spelling has rampant mistypes and atrocious sentence structure, the irony is usually enough to ensure the post will receive comments about the grammar and spelling.

    (not aimed at you metoo, just general observation)

  • WebMonk

    Typically I don’t pay attention to typos and horrible grammar in posts. There are far too many instances to remark on them. The mistakes don’t impact the content.

    However, when a post defending and promoting grammar and spelling has rampant mistypes and atrocious sentence structure, the irony is usually enough to ensure the post will receive comments about the grammar and spelling.

    (not aimed at you metoo, just general observation)

  • Helen K.

    @WebMonk 27.

    Excellent comment and observation. It’s great to see that the love of language, and the skills used to convey it, is alive and well! I have so enjoyed all of the group’s comments. As you can tell, I know very little about properly posting let alone possess good writing skills. Thanks to Dr. Veith for starting this discussion.

    May cursive reign forever!

  • Helen K.

    @WebMonk 27.

    Excellent comment and observation. It’s great to see that the love of language, and the skills used to convey it, is alive and well! I have so enjoyed all of the group’s comments. As you can tell, I know very little about properly posting let alone possess good writing skills. Thanks to Dr. Veith for starting this discussion.

    May cursive reign forever!

  • Metoo

    No offense taken. Too disabled to concern myself when trying to get by.

  • Metoo

    No offense taken. Too disabled to concern myself when trying to get by.

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  • Mr. Mars

    Yee gads! Eliminating cursive is another bad idea of the progressive education movement. If everyone can’t excel at it, get rid of it and lower the standard. Bad idea.

  • Mr. Mars

    Yee gads! Eliminating cursive is another bad idea of the progressive education movement. If everyone can’t excel at it, get rid of it and lower the standard. Bad idea.

  • http://doodlenoodlestuff.com Gail Paris – doodlenoodlestuff,wordpress.com

    According to a report on The Today Show by Jenna Wolfe, 44 states no longer demand that cursive writing be taught in elementary schools. In Indiana and Hawaii, it isn’t even part of the curriculum.

    Why should we care? Even in the 21st Century, writing is an art form. I am not talking about by husband’s signature which is more difficult to decipher than a Jackson Pollock painting, nor the graffiti painted on city walls and the curses and love notes written in bathroom stalls.

    Okay , maybe I support script because I write much faster than I can type. I don’t like typing. For much of my generation of women, it holds the emotions of being told you could be a teacher, nurse or a secretary when you grew up.

    Maybe it’s because I skipped 2nd grade, and my grade 4th grade teacher, Mr. Mc Cory, told my mother that I was doing very well in school, except for my handwriting, I took it upon myself to recopy all of my notes and practice my l’s, r’s and t’s until I had developed a very nice handwriting. What? All this for naught. Just to be told cursive writing doesn’t matter anymore.

    So, when my daughter and son-in-law wrote thank you notes to their friends and mine and to their relatives for their wedding gifts, they could have printed them or downloaded the card and typed on that. Emily Post is shuddering so hard, her bones are clanking.

    As an educator who has taught cursive writing to children, I think it is an important skill to learn. First, it is developing fine motor control which is important in many areas of life. It is not the repetitive rapid motion developed by playing video games or searching on the internet. It teaches visual discrimination which sharpens our eyes and increases our appreciation of the beauty of a flower or the design of a fabric.

    It teaches focus and concentration, so important in this world of rapidly moving images and “sound byte” political statements.

    If we write by hand, we need pencils and pens, and people will design beautiful journals, papers, stationery and cards.

    Not everyone will have an I-Phone in their pocket to read their grocery list. Maybe, I’m old fashioned, but a tweet or a text doesn’t have the same thrill as passing a note to a friend sitting in the next row.

    Like my fingerprints, my hand writing is mine, mine alone.

  • http://doodlenoodlestuff.com Gail Paris – doodlenoodlestuff,wordpress.com

    According to a report on The Today Show by Jenna Wolfe, 44 states no longer demand that cursive writing be taught in elementary schools. In Indiana and Hawaii, it isn’t even part of the curriculum.

    Why should we care? Even in the 21st Century, writing is an art form. I am not talking about by husband’s signature which is more difficult to decipher than a Jackson Pollock painting, nor the graffiti painted on city walls and the curses and love notes written in bathroom stalls.

    Okay , maybe I support script because I write much faster than I can type. I don’t like typing. For much of my generation of women, it holds the emotions of being told you could be a teacher, nurse or a secretary when you grew up.

    Maybe it’s because I skipped 2nd grade, and my grade 4th grade teacher, Mr. Mc Cory, told my mother that I was doing very well in school, except for my handwriting, I took it upon myself to recopy all of my notes and practice my l’s, r’s and t’s until I had developed a very nice handwriting. What? All this for naught. Just to be told cursive writing doesn’t matter anymore.

    So, when my daughter and son-in-law wrote thank you notes to their friends and mine and to their relatives for their wedding gifts, they could have printed them or downloaded the card and typed on that. Emily Post is shuddering so hard, her bones are clanking.

    As an educator who has taught cursive writing to children, I think it is an important skill to learn. First, it is developing fine motor control which is important in many areas of life. It is not the repetitive rapid motion developed by playing video games or searching on the internet. It teaches visual discrimination which sharpens our eyes and increases our appreciation of the beauty of a flower or the design of a fabric.

    It teaches focus and concentration, so important in this world of rapidly moving images and “sound byte” political statements.

    If we write by hand, we need pencils and pens, and people will design beautiful journals, papers, stationery and cards.

    Not everyone will have an I-Phone in their pocket to read their grocery list. Maybe, I’m old fashioned, but a tweet or a text doesn’t have the same thrill as passing a note to a friend sitting in the next row.

    Like my fingerprints, my hand writing is mine, mine alone.

  • Ashley

    Biggest lie of 3rd grade: “You will be using cursive for the rest of your life.” My handwriting is atrocious, especially in print. Cursive hurts my hand less, and is somewhat more legible. I know how to read and write cursive more than most people at my grade level. (8th)

    Still pretty godawful, though. I’d love to have script like my 7th grade math teacher.

  • Ashley

    Biggest lie of 3rd grade: “You will be using cursive for the rest of your life.” My handwriting is atrocious, especially in print. Cursive hurts my hand less, and is somewhat more legible. I know how to read and write cursive more than most people at my grade level. (8th)

    Still pretty godawful, though. I’d love to have script like my 7th grade math teacher.

  • Geri

    We need to be able to use all forms of written communication. Printing and cursive help develop fine motor skills in students at the right time their bodies are ready. At the school I attended, cursive was taught in second grade. I was so excited about that because, like the writer above, it made me feel grown up. I found the cursive letters in the second half of my Spelling Book and started teaching myself early. I was raring to go! My printing looks exactly like the letters you see here. I have received compliments on the clarity and preciseness of my cursive writing, also. I just loved to write. I was fortunate to have an Aunt with whom I could write letters back and forth. My generation needs to learn how to use the electronic communication when that is appropriate.

    At this point in my life I have developed an interest in Geneaology. In this example I would not be able to do very effective research without being able to read manuscript or cursive.

  • Geri

    We need to be able to use all forms of written communication. Printing and cursive help develop fine motor skills in students at the right time their bodies are ready. At the school I attended, cursive was taught in second grade. I was so excited about that because, like the writer above, it made me feel grown up. I found the cursive letters in the second half of my Spelling Book and started teaching myself early. I was raring to go! My printing looks exactly like the letters you see here. I have received compliments on the clarity and preciseness of my cursive writing, also. I just loved to write. I was fortunate to have an Aunt with whom I could write letters back and forth. My generation needs to learn how to use the electronic communication when that is appropriate.

    At this point in my life I have developed an interest in Geneaology. In this example I would not be able to do very effective research without being able to read manuscript or cursive.

  • Helen K.

    @31 and @33–Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m happy to see this thread still has some followers. I was never “good” at cursive, but I wanted to be. I don’t even print very well.

    There are no I-pads or I-phones, etc. in our house. We still scribble out grocery lists and it works just fine. Good insight on the geneaology efforts too!

    In my opinion much is being lost in this age of technology, wonderful as it is. (to wit this blog-(:)

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

  • Helen K.

    @31 and @33–Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m happy to see this thread still has some followers. I was never “good” at cursive, but I wanted to be. I don’t even print very well.

    There are no I-pads or I-phones, etc. in our house. We still scribble out grocery lists and it works just fine. Good insight on the geneaology efforts too!

    In my opinion much is being lost in this age of technology, wonderful as it is. (to wit this blog-(:)

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

  • Shelly

    My daughter will learn to write, if I have to teach her myself. This is ridiculous. Everyone should know how to write! I know a 24 year old who just bought her first house. Her paperwork looked like an 8 year old signed it. Pretty soon kids won’t even learn how to print anymore because it will be considered unnecessary. They say it’s because computers are doing more and more to replace everyday tasks. I guess we’ll just let computer do all the work in the future. Why should anyone be expected to put effort into anything anymore if we can just let the computers do it all for us? No wonder our society is so obese.

  • Shelly

    My daughter will learn to write, if I have to teach her myself. This is ridiculous. Everyone should know how to write! I know a 24 year old who just bought her first house. Her paperwork looked like an 8 year old signed it. Pretty soon kids won’t even learn how to print anymore because it will be considered unnecessary. They say it’s because computers are doing more and more to replace everyday tasks. I guess we’ll just let computer do all the work in the future. Why should anyone be expected to put effort into anything anymore if we can just let the computers do it all for us? No wonder our society is so obese.

  • Helen K.

    Shelly @35. Couldn’t agree more!

  • Helen K.

    Shelly @35. Couldn’t agree more!

  • Darlene

    Wow, there are a million things I would love to say about this subject. I have never left a comment on any subject before so this is a first for me.

    I grew up in the days when cursive was manditory like so many other subjects and classes that are totally gone now.

    All I know for sure is that I am very proud that I have beautiful cursive writing and printing. I have to remember to print when I give any of my grandkids cards because they can not read them if I don’t.

    I feel bad for my kids and other members of my family when their cursive and even printing looks like chicken scratches. When they have to fill out forms and job applications and their handwriting can barely be read I really feel for them.

  • Darlene

    Wow, there are a million things I would love to say about this subject. I have never left a comment on any subject before so this is a first for me.

    I grew up in the days when cursive was manditory like so many other subjects and classes that are totally gone now.

    All I know for sure is that I am very proud that I have beautiful cursive writing and printing. I have to remember to print when I give any of my grandkids cards because they can not read them if I don’t.

    I feel bad for my kids and other members of my family when their cursive and even printing looks like chicken scratches. When they have to fill out forms and job applications and their handwriting can barely be read I really feel for them.

  • http://www.liayf.blogspot.com Mrs. LIAYF

    I used cursive in 3rd grade from Ms. Augustine and use it every single day. I am an Administrative Law Judge and take handwritten notes during all my hearings. It helps me remember testimony, write notes in the margins about my questions to the parties and how testimony corresponds to exhibits, and use the notes to organize how I later write my orders. While I also record the hearings with a digital recorder, my notes are a discrete method of recording my own reflections and questions about the case. I can’t imagine doing the same on a keyboard during a hearing.

    Lest anyone think I am a dinosaur – I’m only 40 years old and have used my handwriting skills throughout life. Especially during college and law school. My son is now in kindergarten. We specifically chose a school that continues to teach handwriting and cursive to its students. I think it is a valuable skill he should know – in any career he should choose. Regardless of whether he becomes a doctor or an artist, at least his signature will be legible!!

  • http://www.liayf.blogspot.com Mrs. LIAYF

    I used cursive in 3rd grade from Ms. Augustine and use it every single day. I am an Administrative Law Judge and take handwritten notes during all my hearings. It helps me remember testimony, write notes in the margins about my questions to the parties and how testimony corresponds to exhibits, and use the notes to organize how I later write my orders. While I also record the hearings with a digital recorder, my notes are a discrete method of recording my own reflections and questions about the case. I can’t imagine doing the same on a keyboard during a hearing.

    Lest anyone think I am a dinosaur – I’m only 40 years old and have used my handwriting skills throughout life. Especially during college and law school. My son is now in kindergarten. We specifically chose a school that continues to teach handwriting and cursive to its students. I think it is a valuable skill he should know – in any career he should choose. Regardless of whether he becomes a doctor or an artist, at least his signature will be legible!!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    When I was younger, my signature was perfectly readable. The older I get, the less legible it becomes.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    When I was younger, my signature was perfectly readable. The older I get, the less legible it becomes.

  • Geri

    I taught myself cursive in the first semester of second grade. It was in the second semester part of our Spelling Book. I think Sister was probably exasperated with me. However, I have beautiful penmanship in both cursive and printing. One time someone saw my printing and asked if I went to Catholic grade school because he could tell all my letters were the correct height. Another person commented that my printing looked like someone had used a typewriter. Hoorah for penmanship! I totally agree that we need to be able to read our important documents, like the Constitution and Amendments, The Bill of Rights, and The Declaration of Independence.

  • Geri

    I taught myself cursive in the first semester of second grade. It was in the second semester part of our Spelling Book. I think Sister was probably exasperated with me. However, I have beautiful penmanship in both cursive and printing. One time someone saw my printing and asked if I went to Catholic grade school because he could tell all my letters were the correct height. Another person commented that my printing looked like someone had used a typewriter. Hoorah for penmanship! I totally agree that we need to be able to read our important documents, like the Constitution and Amendments, The Bill of Rights, and The Declaration of Independence.

  • Pingback: The new signature on our currency

  • Jiminy

    I have always written in cursive exclusively. The main way I study is by writing out a note and reading it aloud as I write. It seems very odd to me that a native English speaker would take pride in being unable to write/read cursive. Let’s call it what it is, a type of illiteracy.


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