Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Loss of Cursive Writing

Afraid my post today will be more like a rant....or a lament.  With 45 states embracing the Common Core, cursive is definitely becoming a lost art.

State leaders who developed the Common Core - a set of preferred K-12 course offerings for public schools - omitted cursive for a host of reasons, including an increasing need for children in a digital-heavy age to master computer keyboarding and evidence that even most adults use some hybrid of classic cursive and print in everyday life.

Perhaps I'm showing my generational gap here, but my gut is telling me that this is one decision that may well come back to bite us.  What are the benefits of cursive or penmanship or handwriting?  As mentioned in several internet articles, it used to be an indication of one's education, of literacy.  But there is so much more.

Some arguments FOR teaching cursive:

Cursive advocates cite recent brain science that indicates the fluid motion employed when writing script enhances hand-eye coordination and develops fine motor skills, in turn promoting reading, writing and cognition skills.
They further argue that scholars of the future will lose the ability to interpret valuable cultural resources - historical documents, ancestors' letters and journals, handwritten scholarship - if they can't read cursive. If they can't write it, how will they communicate from unwired settings like summer camp or the battlefield?

Writing by hand helps us slow down our thinking, encouraging deeper and fuller thinking during the writing process.  Creativity is enhanced.  Just think about the Morning Pages as described by Julia Cameron in An Artist's Way.

And don't even get me started on writing with fountain pens!!!  They are built for fluid writing!  How very, very sad to think that the next generations will not even have the opportunity to experience that joy.

Here is another great article on the subject:

5 Reasons Cursive Writing Should be Taught in School

Their list includes (but the full article is WELL worth the read):
     Cursive develops motor skills
     Cursive reinforces learning
     Cursive helps students with disabilities
     Cursive is an art form
     Cursive connects students to the past

North Carolina joins Massachusetts, Idaho, Ohio, Maryland, California, Indiana, Kansas and Utah in proposing various measures to combat the disappearance of what some educators consider a vital skill.
Laura Dinehart of Florida International University's college of education, handwriting skills in children are a strong indicator of their success in school later, citing research that showed children who had strong handwriting at age 4 were more likely to excel at math and reading once they reached grade school.
“A lot of people feel an emotional connection to cursive,” Dinehart said. “There is thinking that as your pen flows on paper, so does your thinking.”
Read more:

Okay, I think you all know where I stand.  Now I'm going to write some notes to friends, with my fountain pen, on actual note cards, and mail them .... with a stamp.  Ah me, so very old fashioned!

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