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Has Cursive Handwriting Lost its Usefulness in Today’s Tech-Based World?

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57e94d8cb6173 Carson Podtburg concentrates on each letter's correct formation.
Owen Buss demonstrates the perfect letter "z" to his buddy, Trevin Unvert, during cursive class.
Carson Podtburg concentrates on each letter's correct formation.

Constant access to tech devices makes it possible to communicate with nearly anyone, at almost any time of the day. This has many people asking the question: “Is there still a place for cursive writing in today’s already curriculum-crowded classroom? Does cursive still have a place in society?” The research may surprise you. Over the past several years, many schools have abandoned the teaching of cursive to make time to teach the constantly growing list of other expected learning outcomes. The argument, at times, is that nobody communicates that way anymore. And, although there is some truth to this viewpoint, cursive proponents would argue that the research tells of a greater need for the teaching of cursive than ever before. Learning to write in cursive is shown to help develop the areas of the brain for thinking, language, and working memory. Learning cursive stimulates synapses between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This doesn’t happen when someone prints or types using a keyboard. As a result, comprehension increases. Learning to write in cursive is an important tool for cognitive development. When a child learns to read and write in cursive, he or she must integrate fine motor skills with visual and tactile processing abilities. It requires the use of multiple senses, and therefore supports cognitive function. Once speed and efficiency are achieved, cursive may allow students to focus more of their attention on the content of their writing, rather than the mechanics of the print itself. One day last week, I announced to my third graders that we were going to skip cursive that day. I thought we’d “take a break” and spend additional time reading the literature classic that they were enjoying so much. They groaned their disappointment. To them, cursive is like learning a foreign language, or part of being in a secret society where cursive is the “code” that only they can read. It is a rite of passage from being a “little kid” to being a “BIG Kid.” They don’t care about the research. They are just waiting to learn all the letters in their own names, so they can write them like an adult. They just know it’s fun. I think that’s a good thing, too.

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Freeman Public Schools415 8th StreetP.O. Box 259Adams, NE  68301

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