What Happened to Cursive Writing?
As tablets and touch screens become more prevalent in our children’s home and schools, where does handwriting fit? And more specifically, does cursive writing have a place in school curriculum anymore?
Schools are replacing cursive instruction with keyboarding and touch screen interaction. Common Core Standards focus so much on the STEM subjects that writing (not to mention cursive) is swept under the rug. We know why writing should continue to be emphasized in the classroom, but is there still a place for teaching cursive? Here are a few reasons cursive handwriting is important for your child to learn:
Cursive is Good for Your Brain
Printing and writing in cursive affect different areas of the brain. While printing requires a child to think about each letter, cursive allows the writer to think of the whole word. Cursive places more demand on motor planning and sequencing. Studies even found that children who print and write cursive had better scores on reading and spelling tests. If anything, it provides more writing practice for a child, which we know helps literacy skills!
Speaking of fine motor practice...play dough and other hands on crafts are great for fine motor skills development!
Cursive Provides Great Fine Motor Practice
Because your pencil is mostly in contact with the writing surface, it requires a stable functional grasp. Cursive directly engages the intrinsic hand musculature (those tiny movements our hands make when we write). The added practice of learning cursive creates stronger hands that will have more endurance for future note taking.
Cursive is Faster
Speaking of note-taking, wouldn’t you want to be able to write faster when the teacher is doing their lesson? Cursive allows a child to write smoothly and efficiently so they can take notes. And yes, typing can be even faster, but there is a TON of research on why note-taking is better than keyboarding. When we take notes, we pick and choose important parts of what the teacher is saying. This very process makes our brain analyze and absorb the information before writing it down.
Avoiding Cursive Illiteracy
Children who don’t learn cursive writing will have a much harder time reading cursive. We might be able to find the declaration of independence in print form, but what about those notes written on the smartboard or whiteboard? Maybe early education teachers will print, but for future classes (and even at work) the writing will cater to those able to read cursive.
Notice anything wrong with those letters?
An Alternative to Printing
Some children have major difficulties with letter reversals (b and d), maintaining proper letter spacing and issues writing in a left to right orientation. Learning cursive can mitigate letter reversals because letters like b and d look so different in cursive. Also, flowing the letters together provides a sensory and visual cue for where to start the next letter. For printing, a child has to know where to start each and every letter. Cursive also improves the ability to space letters properly. By not picking up the pencil, the spacing should be fairly even, whereas some children who print have difficulty spacing properly. This can affect legibility and grades!
Preserving the Benefits of Writing in the Digital Age!
So those are just a few of the reasons why we think children should continue to learn cursive. Technology is having a profound effect on the way our children learn. We must carefully consider both the positive and negative aspects of tech so that we can create amazing learning environments. By creating a healthy connection with technology, our children can thrive in school and life.