Cursive Writing. A Thing of the Past?

My brother, Jack, (84) recently reprimanded his great grandson for his terrible penmanship. He complained that he couldn’t read what the boy had hand written. Jason’s reply was, “Paw-Paw, I don’t need to know how to write, everything iscursive.hand done on the computer. My brother was outraged. But, it got me to thinking, is cursive writing a thing of the past?

If you are over forty, you remember you had classes in penmanship and spelling.  Those are not classes offered or required in many schools. It’s hard to get my head around this. A beautiful ‘hand’ (penmanship) was the benchmark of a well educated person, a refined person. And it doesn’t matter anymore. Okay, I can’t remember when I last received a hand written letter, I’ll admit.
Educator Weston Kincade, English teacher at the Akron Digital Academy, weighs in on the cursive writing debate to offer his opinion on why such instruction is not needed in the classrooms of today’s society. To Kincade, cursive writing instruction is outdated and therefore a waste of time. “The technological revolution that started in the 1970s and ’80s brought many new types of written communication: email, texting, instant messages, and even electronic books. This changed society immensely, and in doing so sometimes outdated skills fall by the wayside. Kincade understands the counter-argument, that cursive writing has its place in history and creates a writing that is unique and individual, “like a cursive.letter.literary fingerprint.” “However when you look at cursive as a tool and consider whether such skills are necessary in modern society, cursive is simply one form of communication. The world is full of different languages, some old some new, but all of them are constantly changing — much like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs,” he said, according to the article. And ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, he said, are taught to specialists only, which is likely to be the direction that cursive instruction will go in. This should be embraced,” he argues.

I thought about when and where I use my ‘long hand’. I rarely ‘write’ a paper check anymore. Some hand written signatures are required, but that is even disappearing. I never ‘hand’ address an envelope; let’s face it I rarely use snail mail apenmanshipnymore.

People who journal, and I encourage you to do so, are the exception.  They record their thoughts, feelings; write poetry, fiction, and short stories.  There is nothing more fascinating than reading someone’s old journal, lost for decades and rediscovered.





Think about it…how much do you write in long hand? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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2 thoughts on “Cursive Writing. A Thing of the Past?”

  1. Hi Trish – I think eliminating cursive is just one more piece of evidence that we are dumbing down our education. Are authors going to autograph their books with an X? And algebra – apparently our kids don’t need this any more either. What a world we are living in!

  2. As far as handwriting still matters, does cursive matter? The research is surprising. For instance, it has been documented that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are listed below.)

    More recently, it has also been documented that cursive does NOT objectively improve the reading, spelling, or language of students who have dyslexia/dysgraphia.
    This is what I’d expect from my own experience, by the way. As a handwriting teacher and remediator, I see numerous children, teens, and adults — dyslexic and otherwise — for whom cursive poses even more difficulties than print-writing. (Contrary to myth, reversals in cursive are common — a frequent cursive reversal in my caseload, among dyslexics and others, is “J/f.”)
    — According to comparative studies of handwriting speed and legibility in different forms of writing, the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive — although they are not absolute print-writers either.

    Kate Gladstone •

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