I know it’s been a minute since schools have taken learning to write in script, or cursive, off the curriculum. Bad idea. The thinking is that kids will all be using keyboards, but that’s not necessarily true.
Fast, legible handwriting is a technology that is universally available to all students. Learning to write in cursive engages the brain and improves development in the areas of language, thinking and memory. It stimulates synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres of our brain. This is absent when printing and typing.
Writing in script reinforces both meaning and spelling when learning words. College students who wrote in cursive for the essay part of their SAT scored higher than those who printed.
Computers won’t teach children to know the difference between what’s appropriate for a text, or tweet, or how a word is spelled and used in the real world. Just look at the confusion around “they’re, their and there or you’re, your, and ur.”
And I’m talking about adults now.
A trendy article lamented a whole year in third grade wasted learning to write in cursive, and the writer’s belief that he will never need it again. I’m certain there will come a point when those who can write in cursive, and consequently read it, will have more advantages moving forward than those who cannot.
I love receiving a beautiful hand-written note and I still love to write out holiday cards. I believe that dispensing with these we lose our connection to others which is forged by the act of thinking about them and writing to them. Will a love-letter on a text-message have the same sensuality, urgency, promise?
We should help the children in our lives work on their cursive and penmanship. It can be something we share with them, including special notebooks and colored pens just for their visits. We can call it art or lettering. Rather than buying them “things” trying to bond with them, offer them the gift of ourselves, our knowledge and patience.
Cookies and cursive. Talkin’ about a revolution! Let’s use our guiding hands to teach them long-hand.