Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cursive Wriiting -- Obsolete?

These days, in the US, cursive writing is not being taught in many schools. The idea is that learning keyboarding is a practical skill, cursive writing is not. Many schools mandate that students have keyboarding proficiency by the 4th grade.

Most students hate cursive writing.  Asked in a Junior Scholastic magazine, most students agreed with this student: "NO! OMG, 4get cursive, It's dead."  But then, there is the example of a teacher in a North Carolina class whose students could not read her comments on a smart board and complained "Why are you doing this to us?"

California and Georgia are adding cursive classes to their core standards as are many  charter schools.  So, important or not?

Brain development is helped more by cursive writing, connecting shapes rather than repetitive movements on the keyboard.  It's harder for boys, generally, because of less small muscle control in their hands.  They are glad to see the end of cursive writing.

How many countries still teach cursive writing?  And what about picture languages?  Does this mean the end of love letters, real letters, real letters from grandparents, friends.  Cyberspace does not count.  And our personal signatures?  Apparently, those are on the demise list as signatures on contracts can be added electronically now. Your name is your identity and your signature is part of that.  I think we will lose something if writing our names is done only by letters not created by you.

Does this mean the end of hand-written love letters, letters to friends, letters of sympathy, congratulations, thank-you notes, letters to savor and save?

And very sadly our children will not be able to read the words of our country's founding documents, our Declaration of Independence -- "When in the course of human events . . . ."  and other important papers.

And all you writers, old and new?  How do you write your rough drafts in the first stages?  All on the computer or?  I like to write my rough drafts out in long hand, then transfer to the computer.  It helps me think to write in long hand first.


  1. First time visiting your blog (I think :) )(but I might have visited you last year during A/Z; can't remember :) I love your blog header picture!

    While I prefer to type over writing (my hand cramps up a lot with writing), I still think it is important to know how to read and write cursive. I'm glad to hear some school districts are reintroducing it back into the curriculum.

    hope the day was a nice one


  2. Of course I type way more than handwriting of any kind, it's just our times but I do think cursive is a good skill to have. My middle son never learned it in school but the youngest and oldest did. I sure hope it makes a comeback!

    Looking forward to the A-Z challenge this year :)

  3. Me too Martha! It is so much fun to meet other bloggers. Do you have your theme and idea for the A-Z yet?

  4. hmmm i have a love/hate relationship with cursive----i love the way pretty cursive looks but my handwriting, is atrocious!

    1. But your poetry is wonderful! So, putting your ideas on paper -- it does not matter how you do it.

  5. My school required me to write in cursive handwriting up to fourth grade. I remember hating it at the time but I see why it should be taught- to write in cursive, kids need to put in extra effort and pay attention to what they're writing. My sister is autistic and part of her therapy involves practising writing in cursive. It can be therapeutic.

    I agree that writing by hand is becoming extinct and typed words can never replace that personal touch that handwriting conveys. When you write by hand, you are putting a part of your soul and personality on to the paper.

    I write my drafts on the computer (what can I do? I was born in this digital age) but I write my daily journals by pen and I always think of preserving these for the future generations! It's like a part of me will never die!

    1. Such a good idea -- two different places for your writing. And, my grandson has autism and has very good handwriting, so that connection from brain to fingers is good, not so much in other areas. Math is a struggle.

  6. I had a hard time writing in cursive from the start, and those issues have carried with me to the present day - my signature is an odd scrawl, and I could never write out a first draft, or any significant length of a creative work, in longhand. The creative impulse for me is very strongly connected with the sense of my fingers on a keyboard. I can manage to do some editing with pens on paper, as long as I don't have to insert too much text at any one place.

    I'm not sure I see a place for cursive writing going forward - it's a symbol system that is difficult to master and doesn't add much to the words of the english language other than a sense of history. When we're putting pencils into our children's hands, why not jump to the other side of the brain and teach them gestalt drawing from life? :)

    1. Sorry, forgot to comment with a link back to my blog and a post about my attempts to learn to draw late in life:

    2. Chris: Teaching drawing would be good, but now I have to find out what gestalt drawing is :) It's just me . . . hate to see some of the things I grew up with, disappear.

  7. So, if children don't learn cursive writing, then they will not have a signature. In the future, they will sign their checks by printing their names? Perhaps with the popularity of "e-sig" they won't need to actually sign anyway. I'm with you - this is definitely one I hate to see disappear.

  8. There have been some studies that handwriting or learning cursive helps brain development which is not the same as tapping keys. . . oh well . . . progress?


  9. Handwriting matters — but does cursive matter? The fastest, clearest handwriters join only some letters: making the easiest joins, skipping others, using print-like forms of letters whose cursive and printed forms disagree. (Sources below.)

    Reading cursive matters, but even children can be taught to read writing that they are not taught to produce. Reading cursive can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes — even to five- or six-year-olds, once they read ordinary print. Why not teach children to read cursive, along with teaching other vital skills, including a handwriting style typical of effective handwriters?

    Adults increasingly abandon cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference hosted by Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of cursive textbooks. Only 37 percent wrote in cursive; another 8 percent printed. The majority, 55 percent, wrote a hybrid: some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive. When most handwriting teachers shun cursive, why mandate it?

    Cursive's cheerleaders sometimes allege that cursive makes you smarter, makes you graceful, or confers other blessings no more prevalent among cursive users than elsewhere. Some claim research support, citing studies that consistently prove to have been misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant.

    What about signatures? In state and federal law, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Hard to believe? Ask any attorney!)

    All writing, not just cursive, is individual — just as all writing involves fine motor skills. That is why, six months into the school year, any first-grade teacher can immediately identify (from print-writing on unsigned work) which student produced it.

    Mandating cursive to preserve handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to preserve the art of tailoring.


    Handwriting research on speed and legibility:

    /1/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. “The Relation between Handwriting Style and Speed and Legibility.” JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 91, No. 5 (May - June, 1998), pp. 290-296: on-line at

    /2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer. “Development of Handwriting Speed and Legibility in Grades 1-9.”
    JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 92, No. 1 (September - October, 1998), pp. 42-52: on-line at

    Zaner-Bloser handwriting survey: Results on-line at

    [AUTHOR BIO: Kate Gladstone is the founder of Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works and the director of the World Handwriting Contest]

    Yours for better letters,

    Kate Gladstone
    Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
    and the World Handwriting Contest

  10. Hi there...I found your blog through the AtoZ theme reveal...I know this is an old post but it caught my eye because I absolutely believe this is a horrendous loss. I love handwriting, I write a journal longhand. I have recently discovered fountain pens and have become even more obsessed with this art. There are so many things to be lost if we stop teaching cursive, as noted in your post and in the comments :-( I also see that you are a fellow Coloradan ! thanks for the insight, I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

    jetgirlcos visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

    1. Thanks for your comments. I do love to write in long-hand, but I am artistic and not everyone is. But I think it is very sad that the younger generation will not only not be taught to write in cursive, they will not be able to read it. I am not impressed that someone can whiz around an IPhone with their thumbs and all that horrid shortening of words. Sigh. . . .

  11. Came across your blog randomly, and i loved your post. I always talk of times with my hubby when there were no mobile phones and facebook. Life was so much simpler... the local PCO's, the handwritten letters, the wait for the replies... I used to love writing and still do... but with sms'es and whatsapp, all these things have faded away. I still remember there used to come a book in India 'Pen Pals', and my brother had a friend in Russia by name Tanya and we used to recieve some nice postcards and letters from her. Those were real fun days and i still support hand-writing :) Happy to follow you :)