Whether to require cursive writing in the curriculum has been debated for some time. When Common Core Standards for English did not include cursive writing, many states dropped the requirement from their classrooms. However, as the debate continues, several states* have re-introduced the requirement into their curriculums.
Those who favor teaching children cursive writing believe that it has both historic and artistic importance. Besides the ability to read important historical documents, the act of writing helps develop fine motor skills. A Carnegie Corporation 2010 study found that students who wrote down what they were reading improved their reading skills. Many educators believe that cursive writing develops mental abilities including memory development and spatial orientation that leads to better organizational skills. Teachers are finding that students who are required to use cursive writing for assignments are less likely to plagiarize, and that practicing penmanship helps dyslexic children learn to group words in the proper order.
Those who favor dropping cursive from the curriculum argue that students need to concentrate on electronic skills to make them competitive in the future and not waste valuable time learning cursive writing. They argue that historical (cursive) documents can be read on the Internet in plain text to aid comprehension. People who are against cursive writing point to tablets, smart phones and gaming consoles as important ways for children to develop fine motor skills. They believe that if cursive writing has artistic merits it should be taught in art classes.
Interestingly, a recent news article about the rise in popularity of journal writing described the satisfaction of using pen and paper to relax, to reflect and to simply get away from the computer that bombards individuals with too much information each day.
*Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, California, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina require cursive and Nevada and Ohio (in Art classes) are considering it as well.
By: Jodi Waugh