Alas, Poor Cursive…

I read a while back that cursive writing has been making a comeback in our public schools. I have to say, that makes me happy.

When the Common Core State Standards Initiative was launched in 2010, teaching cursive was no longer a requirement. The reasons given for dropping it varied, but the two I have seen presented most often are: (1) it takes up too much instruction time, and (2) knowing how to communicate via technology is more important. Both arguments are valid, after all, teachers can’t teach everything. But if less time was spent expounding on social and moral issues (which I believe should be in the parents domain) to their malleable young students, more time could be spent teaching basic skills. — But that’s a topic for another day.

Some of the benefits of learning cursive as listed by Memoria Press are:

  • Improved neural connections
  • Improved fine motor skills
  • Increased retention
  • Improved spelling ability
  • Increased self-discipline
  • Higher quality signature

And one I found listed on various websites: The ability to read old and historic documents, like the United States Constitution, for instance. Think about it—do we really want to be told what is in the Constitution, or be able to read it for ourselves?

All this aside, I welcome the return of cursive. I know not everyone’s handwriting is a marvel to behold, mine included, but there is a certain beauty in the flow of words written in cursive, gliding across the page like squiggly dark waves on a pure white ocean where anything is possible.

Think of the creativity that goes into writing. When I was in school, by 3rd grade all assignments were completed in cursive, so by the time I graduated, I had developed my own unique style of writing. As had my peers. Some wrote tight and cramped, some loopy and loose, some with a light hand, some dark and bold. Some dotted their I’s with a small circle or heart, some mixed printed letters with cursive in their words. The combinations were endless. We all came to know our friends’ handwriting as well as we did their faces.

Some of you younger readers may not know this, but in days of yore, a handwriting expert could ascertain a person’s personality traits by analyzing their handwriting. Criminals could be identified by how they wielded a pencil. Can’t very well do that with a typewritten page.

I know we can’t live in the past, that we’re forever moving onward and forward, and it would be foolish to step off the techno highway and refuse to embrace the new. But I think we should bring with us the things that have served us well, and would continue to serve us well if our modern world collapses. We’ve already left so much valuable knowledge behind. Let’s not leave cursive writing behind too.

Copyright 2019 KT Workman

Photo via Pixabay