Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cursive Makes a Comeback!

Image courtesy of Karen Arnold
I read something encouraging today in a local paper. Apparently, cursive writing is making a comeback! And it's about more than just ensuring our kids and grandkids can read historical documents and generations-old correspondence as they get older. After realizing the mistake they made by eliminating cursive from their curriculum, more and more schools are going back to teaching it. Why? Because of the unforeseen benefits. Apparently, writing in cursive helps in brain development, memory retention, and fine motor skills. 

Those who developed the Common Core education standards failed to realize that handwriting instruction improves children's composition, reading comprehension, brain function, and motor skills, as mentioned above. According to a 2012 study by Saperstein Associates in Columbus, Ohio, students who are taught handwriting are better able to focus and organize their thoughts on paper. Excellent.

Here in Pittsburgh, one school district eliminated cursive instruction due to the Pennsylvania Core Standards. With focus on typing and test-taking, there simply wasn't time to teach it at Montour. However, last year, they resumed teaching it to the kids in first through fourth grades.

During the 2014-15 school year, North Hills School District, where my own kids attended, joined the ranks of other districts resurrecting the dying skill after research demonstrated the benefits of looping, continuous writing style. 

"Cursive is a special kind of motor challenge because the goal is to put all the letters together of a word with very little lift and touch (of the pen)," states Rand Nelson, president of Peterson Directed Handwriting. "Each new word is like a brand new magic trick."

While cursive writing is not a required course in Pennsylvania (shame on them), it is required in Alabama, California, Georgia, and Louisiana. The Goddard Schools, specializing in early childhood education and STEAM learning nationwide, teach cursive with the Handwriting Without Tears program. 

So, despair not, fellow cursive advocates. Our voices are being heard and research is backing us. I predict cursive handwriting to become part of the "new" curriculum in every school district in the not-too-distant future.

I'm curious, however, about all of you homeschoolers in the community. Are you teaching cursive to your youngsters or do you believe it's an irrelevant practice? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

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