Monday, February 08, 2016

Cursive writing--is it good for children to learn?

WKRN-TV Nashville's photo. 
A new bill proposed in the Tennessee state legislature says that cursive handwriting should be taught in all Tennessee school districts in the third grade. Supporters say it helps motor skills, reinforces learning and it's an art form.

I'm not sure if cursive does all that, but I know since I use it less these days (keyboard mostly) my motor skills are weaker , I'm gaining more weight, the house is messier and I'm not as smart as I used to be. But then, I'm 76 and I didn't used to be that either. Also, the sentence should be "jumps," not "jumped" so you get all the letters to practice.


Anonymous said...

Do you remember how many times we wrote this line. LOL...I remember those stupid arcs that we had to make and I never could get right but my handwriting is (someone said)"the prettiest handwriting that person could not understand." LOL...My niece asked me to write out her name plates for her wedding because she loved my handwriting so those stupid arcs and ovals must have had some effect. D.D.

KateGladstone said...

Handwriting matters — does cursive? Research shows that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are available on request.)

Further research shows that the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive. They join only the most easily joined letter-combinations, leaving others unjoined, using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree. Teaching material for such practical handwriting abounds — especially in the UK and Europe, where this is taught at least as often as the accident-prone cursive that too many North American educators venerate. (Again, sources are available on request.)

Reading cursive — which still matters — is much easier and quicker to master than writing cursive. Reading cursive can be mastered in just 30 to 60 minutes, even by kids who print.
There's even a free iPad app teaching how: called “Read Cursive." Given the importance of reading cursive, why not teach it explicitly and quickly, for free, instead of leaving this vital skill to depend upon learning to write in cursive?

Educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference hosted by cursive textbook publisher Zaner-Bloser.. Only 37% wrote in cursive; another 8% printed. Most — 55% — wrote with some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive.

When even most handwriting teachers do not follow cursive, why glorify it?

Cursive's cheerleaders allege that cursive has benefits justifying absolutely anything said or done to promote it. Cheerleaders for cursive repeatedly allege research support — repeatedly citing studies that were misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant or by some other, earlier misrepresenter whom the claimant innocently trusts.

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

Questioned document examiners (specialists in the identification of signatures, verification of documents, etc.) find that the least forgeable signatures are plainest. Most cursive signatures are loose scrawls: the rest, if following cursive's rules at all, are fairly complicated: easing forgery.

All handwriting, not just cursive, is individual. That is how any first-grade teacher immediately discerns (from print-writing on unsigned work) which child produced it.

Mandating cursive to save handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to save clothing.

Kate Gladstone
DIRECTOR, the World Handwriting Contest
CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works

KateGladstone said...

I was looking through the Tennessee Legislature site, but couldn't find that new bill about cursive. What's its number?

Norma said...

This was reported on WKRN Nashville a year ago--I should have specified that the information wasn't up to date. Perhaps it failed.

Norma said...

Found it. Was supposed to go into effect fall 2015,