A Curse on Cursive

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have no kids, but still have an opinion – LOL. I think it’s a good idea, though not necessarily because of the direct benefit of learning to write cursive. Having to spend time practicing helps develop discipline, aids in perfecting fine motor skills and shows the kids that something as mundane as writing can be…pretty. Admitedly, that last point is more for the girls than the boys.

    My own cursive is much more legible than my printing; of course, my dad had absolutely perfect penmanship. My mom on the other hand…our local paper had a “bad handwriting” contest when I was in college. I submitted a sample of hers – and won.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s funny!

      I’ve heard the fine motor skills argument and I get that, but it seems like there are lots of things kids could be doing to hone their fine motor skills- things they’ll actually use in the future.

      I like the look of cursive, I just find I’m not using it. I have mixed feelings about it dying out altogether. Whether I like it or not, it’s clearly happening- and I remember spending a LOT of time (and frustration) learning it in 3rd grade, so I’m now questioning whether that time could be better spent learning something else for today’s kids at that age.

      • Crystal Cattle says:

        Although, almost everything I do or send is through a computer, when the power goes out I am glad that I can keep on working. I also always use cursive for handwritten cards. Something else that isn’t done enough.¬†

    • MWJanet says:

      I think schools should switch to teaching Italic instead of the Palmer method. Both are ‘cursive’ and Italic is easier to use when you haven’t written in cursive in a while and don’t use it often. My Palmer method cursive has gotten rather sloppy over time, while if I’d learned Italic, it might still be legible.

      I think 2nd grade is too early. We learned in 3rd grade.
      I still think it’s a useful skill, and one that people do judge others on. Printing is important too. Sloppy printing marks you as a sloppy person, for good or ill, and computers will never completely replace handwritten communication, IMO.

  2. Somedaysoling says:

    I am not ready to give up on cursive yet. Neither is the greater world. I work in an office where nearly everyone who walks into it is required to use cursive. We hear mumbling about how long it’s been since they’ve used it, and many people never learned it to begin with. So I guess it is becoming obsolete. Replaced by computers. However, it is so much more useful than printing when one really needs to get something written down. And the truth is, people who know how to write in cursive tend to have clearer printing as well. The best way to learn to read cursive is to learn to write it.

    I’m not ready to give up teaching kids skills for a world that doesn’t a computer on every desk. But, then I may just be a grumpy old lady.

    • Anonymous says:

      What kind of business requires you to use cursive? I’m curious. ūüôā

      • Somedaysoling says:

        We give tests and certifications. Several of them require cursive. Specifically stated in the directions. We’ve expected that to change, but it hasn’t.

  3. Comfy Mom says:

    Apart from my¬† signature, which increasingly is on electronic pads that don’t care if I print or use cursive, I rarely use it. I’ve been known to print my signature on forms, both on the signature line and the ‘print name’ line. The fact that there is a ‘print name’ line on the signature line on forms says it all for me. Why should I have to write it twice? Just let me print it & get on with it

    My son gets to learn it this year in 3rd grade & is excited to do so.

    Personally I see no need for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think most of us have a scrawl for a signature anyway at this point- Who wants to waste time being neat for credit card slips?

      • Jessica says:

        Nooooo! Tell me most people don’t just scrawl their names! I get so sad when my husband does it (I make fun of how he writes one of our two last names, as it really looks like he’s calling himself a name since it appears that he only writes three of the seven letters, and it’s a common British insult), and my name is cursive (although my J is nothing like the cursive J is supposed to look, as it’s my own style) AND legible. (Note that “neat” and “legible” are two different things. My handwriting is definitely handwriting, but you can tell what my name is even though it’s not necessarily the neatest handwriting you’ll see.)

        *sighs* I miss the days when people would look at something and could identify whose handwriting it was (print or cursive).

  4. Erin says:

    I sat at the Chickfila the other day listening to a different group of moms blaming the fact that cursive wasn’t being taught anymore (I don’t know if it’s true) on what’s wrong with our schools today.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha! I’m not emotionally invested in cursive one way or another, but I do think it’s an interesting topic, particularly for those of us whose kids are having to learn it.

  5. Judy says:

    I’m a little confused. ¬†I’m older, so cursive just seems natural to me; I don’t even remember the process of learning it. ¬†I’m confused about signatures. ¬†Doesn’t everyone still have to be able to sign their name in cursive on legal documents? ¬†If we didn’t learn cursive, would we learn just to sign our own names? If a person doesn’t learn cursive, can they still read it? ¬†What if you are trying to make out old documents, diaries, letters, etc.? ¬†It seems there would be a big hole in a person’s literacy if they can’t read cursive. ¬†

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s why I think emphasis should be on reading cursive at a young age and writing it at a slightly older age, when handwriting skills are more easily learned. I never said that we’re ready yet to abandon it altogether- although I do think it’s on its way out. ūüôā

    • I do remember learning it, and loving it! But nowadays, with electronic payments replacing paper checks and e-signatures becoming more the norm, are our kids really going to need to know cursive, beyond the very occasional signature? I doubt it.

  6. Mjraube says:

    My son was in second grade last year and learned cursive, but it was not something he had to spend a lot of time on. Just a few homework papers and that was it! Hopefully, that will be the same for Punky.

    • Anonymous says:

      ¬†There’s a private school here in Nashville that teaches cursive in KINDERGARTEN. I have always thought that was strictly for the purposes of showing off.¬† ūüėÄ

  7. Avitable says:

    I use cursive in every card I give to someone. I think it still has some value. ¬†I learned it in 3-4th grade, and I think it’s done that way to get that motor memory ingrained so it becomes natural.

  8. We moved away and back during my one son’s 3rd grade year and in the process he missed most of the cursive instruction. He HATES writing, but is a keyboard whiz. His cursive sucks. And I’m not going to sweat it because by the time he hits high school the writing won’t really matter… THAT SAID, while I’m super-speedy on the keyboard I do love writing with a pen every now and again.

  9. My son is in 5th grade and, for the first time, he is required to write all of his assignments in cursive.  He first learned cursive in 2nd grade but there was never any emphasis placed on actually using it.  Now the poor little guy is having to concentrate so hard that his writing speed is equal to that of molasses.  

    I am not married to the idea that cursive handwriting should be mandatory. ¬†I think it’s fine if schools still want to teach cursive, but I think the main focus should be making sure that our children have neat and legible penmanship whether it be cursive, printing or a combination of the two. ¬†

    I would much rather have much son take a typing class, which honestly, I think is a much more valuable skill in todays world.  

  10. Anonymous says:

    Learning cursive was the worst aspect of my 23 years of schooling. I think that there is no greater waste of time. It should be replaced with keyboarding at an appropriate age. 

  11. I hated learning it while in school, but now that I’m grown up, I really wish I had worked harder at it. I don’t think it should be as big of a deal, but if they are going to learn how to write the alphabet, why not learn cursive at the same time? It makes sense to me, and while it may be old fashioned, it’s still beautiful and I use it all the time.

  12. Liz Miller says:

    My son loved learning it and still uses it more than printing (he’s entering fourth grade). It’s an excellent skill for muscle control and coordination and also helps with remembering to put spaces between words (still a problem for him).

  13. I HATED writing my name in cursive. ¬†The cursive T with the weird fish hook J, it was awful. ¬†I agree it’s going out. ¬†More emphasis on what your writing, less on how your writing. ¬†(can you tell I’m slightly bitter on getting my only B ever in handwriting)

    • Jessica says:

      But here’s the thing about writing (cursive or print): you make it your own. I don’t make my Ts or Fs as I was taught, but I do have a different cursive T and F than my print one. I hate cursive Qs, so I never use the cursive one. I do, however, write in cursive more than I print. The grade you learned was just to get by in the mechanics of reading and writing the cursive (I also got only Bs in handwriting and I was a perfectionist, so I understand your pain); however, once you get through that, making your handwriting your own was well worth the hassle. (A bunch of my capital letters are not as fancy in script as the cursive teaching or they are different and my own style. I could never get the hang of lower-cased rs either, so those are my own style as well. The best part of handwriting, especially cursive, is that it quickly becomes your own after you learn the basics.)

      I liken it to writing well. Once you know all the rules and mechanics of grammar and writing, you can break those rules to ensure your writing style is your own. Breaking them once you know them is different than getting them wrong just because you never learned differently. 

      What really makes me sad is that people don’t even know what their loved ones’ handwriting looks like anymore. I asked my husband to write me notes every so often, because I love having things written in his own writing (he usually only prints). My grandmother died in December, and I was looking through some things my mother gave me three or four years ago just in July. I suddenly saw handwriting that made me tear up: a recipe written in my grandmother’s own handwriting. I recognized her distinct Ms. She always wrote in cursive as well and the name she went by started with an M. I realized how little I had actually seen her handwriting growing up (I saw her enough that we didn’t need letters) but that seeing it brought back a ton of memories that I will always treasure. And what I treasure most is actually recognizing that THIS piece of paper, this little slip with her special icing recipe? Was handwritten by her especially for her daughter-in-law (my mom).

    • Jessica says:

      But here’s the thing about writing (cursive or print): you make it your own. I don’t make my Ts or Fs as I was taught, but I do have a different cursive T and F than my print one. I hate cursive Qs, so I never use the cursive one. I do, however, write in cursive more than I print. The grade you learned was just to get by in the mechanics of reading and writing the cursive (I also got only Bs in handwriting and I was a perfectionist, so I understand your pain); however, once you get through that, making your handwriting your own was well worth the hassle. (A bunch of my capital letters are not as fancy in script as the cursive teaching or they are different and my own style. I could never get the hang of lower-cased rs either, so those are my own style as well. The best part of handwriting, especially cursive, is that it quickly becomes your own after you learn the basics.)

      I liken it to writing well. Once you know all the rules and mechanics of grammar and writing, you can break those rules to ensure your writing style is your own. Breaking them once you know them is different than getting them wrong just because you never learned differently. 

      What really makes me sad is that people don’t even know what their loved ones’ handwriting looks like anymore. I asked my husband to write me notes every so often, because I love having things written in his own writing (he usually only prints). My grandmother died in December, and I was looking through some things my mother gave me three or four years ago just in July. I suddenly saw handwriting that made me tear up: a recipe written in my grandmother’s own handwriting. I recognized her distinct Ms. She always wrote in cursive as well and the name she went by started with an M. I realized how little I had actually seen her handwriting growing up (I saw her enough that we didn’t need letters) but that seeing it brought back a ton of memories that I will always treasure. And what I treasure most is actually recognizing that THIS piece of paper, this little slip with her special icing recipe? Was handwritten by her especially for her daughter-in-law (my mom).

  14. Liz Miller says:

    On the calligraphy front, one of my favorite books by E. L. Konigsburg is “The View From Saturday”, which features calligraphy pretty prominently.

  15. Melissa says:

    I personally think it’s great. And I’ll tell ya why: When I was in 6th grade, part way through the year the teachers announced that they had arranged for every class to have a cursive class once a week because so much of the handwriting was SO BAD that they literally could not read assignments and grade them. So why not teach our kids the mechanics of writing early on?

    • Anonymous says:

      Interestingly, by sixth grade, our kids will all be turning in papers written on the computer… It’s interesting to me how much things are changing in so little time.

  16. Carolyn R. says:

    Reasons for cursive (although better in third than second). ¬†Hand-eye-brain connections. ¬†By writing down the thoughts in your head through your hand connections are made in the brain that keyboarding can’t make. ¬†If/when they learn it instinctively they can then take notes in high school, write down grocery lists and then forget them at home, etc. ¬†OT’s are starting to realize the brain processes that our kids are losing when they don’t learn cursive. ¬†

    Taking notes by typing actually is not the same process and doesn’t help the memory process as much; the theory is that forming the words in one’s head cursively puts them more firmly in one’s head. ¬†
    I don’t really know – but it works for me.

    For me, it’s the memory issues that make this a problem. ¬†We’ve already given up on memorizing long poems – or poems of any kind and any length – because it’s useless. And now it’s not expected and an amazing thing when someone does. ¬†But a good memory is really useful – especially when you’re old! ¬†And spelling – well, why memorize or learn the hows or why’s when we all have spell check? ¬†Except that spell check doesn’t catch homonyms. ¬†And that can be a problem or just confusing. ¬†

    So losing another way to fix information in one’s brain seems short sighted to me. ¬†If you can’t function without your smartphone app then ouch, I’d rather you not work on me or my house.

    And memory is a muscle-type thing. ¬†If you don’t use it you do lose it.
     
    We give up these things so easily because it’s easier and not used but we have no idea what we’re really giving up and we won’t until Punky and my 10 yr old are in their fifties and paying the price.
    They are the ones we are experimenting on.

    The reasons for NOT learning cursive are primarily convenience and technology. 

    I’m just a mom with 24yrs/3 kids experience but the decline in our society of these “old” skills worry me – we still need nurses who can insert I.V. lines, surgeons that can use their hands, and many other tasks that the general public is willing to give up because it is hard. ¬†Hmmm.

    Yes, I could be wrong. ¬†But I’d rather hedge on the conservative side on this one. ¬†Just something to think about.

    By the way Рgreat blog.  Been reading for (!) years.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I see your points and thanks so much for commenting- I just wonder if there isn’t something more interesting and useful that kids could be doing to gain these skills… certain types of art, memorization games, etc. Cursive is a very boring “skill” to learn at the age of seven. And I don’t think our kids are at the point of not needing to know cursive at all- It just seems like they’d pick it up faster if they learned it later and spent the early years acquiring other skills. ūüôā

      • Carolyn R. says:

        There are several areas of disagreement about when to start – I agree seven is too young – they really need to improve their printing ability – but others don’t agree. ¬†My sister (older!) is an artist who teaches young children and her experience is like yours – older is better.¬†

        On the other hand – They do need to learn how to do boring things. ¬†It’s hard, but it’s the most valuable thing we can let them learn. ¬†My 10yr old has had several REALLY boring days – and finally became thankful for them (shocked me to pieces) because he engaged his brain. ¬†My 24 yr old has never really had to struggle with boredness – and does now because work can be boring. ¬†Life can be boring. ¬†But she’s bright and can figure it out – it’s just I wish I’d let her learn this earlier. ¬†It’s harder to see her struggle now (even though I’m proud of her) than it is to see my 10 yr old struggle.
        Also, if they learn to literally be bored in a constructive way it could potentially protect them from ¬†the constant urge to be entertained, which, in my opinion, leads to excess (video gaming, drugs, fast cars, etc.). ¬†It’s a leap and may not always happen but I’ve found that that attitude and decent parenting has (so far) kept my three out of real trouble. ¬†
        Just aside, my middle one (boy) is 20.  And he learned to be bored.  Also, all my kids have ADHD Рthe older two are inattentive type Рthe last has the hyper-activity.  
        Sorry, another long piece. Thanks.

  17. liz says:

    My boys are in college and I have no idea whether they use cursive or not.  Seriously.  They type their papers and text me.  

  18. NancyB says:

    I love cursive. ¬†I love my cursive writing – of course over the years it’s bastardized but I love to write. ¬†I think it should still be taught – my son is 21 and his cursive looks like a 2nd grader just learning. ¬†But his printing’s not much better….
    Anyway – if you compared my handwriting to my 2 sisters, my father’s and my mother’s ¬†you would be able to tell we are from the same family. ¬†There’s that much similarity – weird huh?

  19. Shelms says:

    there is a correlation between some types of cognitive development and cursive…it is more for brain development…it’s like algebra, even if you never use it, the things your brain has to do to learn it develops certain logical aspects of the brain…

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand this logic, but I’m guessing there are other exercises that develop the same part of their brains while also developing skills they’d use more often…

  20. Julie says:

    I think cursive will be here for many years to come…I come to this conclusion based on my son’s Grade 8 curriculum which includes Latin (public, non denominational school)!

  21. cheesehead4ever says:

    I believe that kids need to learn cursive, at some age.¬† Doesn’t have to be in 2nd grade.¬† I write in cursive every day and can write so much faster than I can print.¬† I write my shopping lists, birthday cards, thank you notes, etc.¬† Not everything is on the computer or smartphone.¬† Plus kids still take some written notes in high school don’t they?¬† I don’t think every kid in high school is taking notes on a laptop.

    I do agree with the posters that mentioned the emotional connection to handwriting.¬† My dad died five years ago and I still tear up when I see his handwriting.¬† Same with my grandmother’s handwriting.¬† I had my mom rewrite all of the recipes I wanted so I would have them in her writing and then I went and covered them in contact paper they wouldn’t get damaged.

  22. Brooks2 says:

    My daughter learned it last year in second grade. She loved it and was so excited to do it. They see it as a grown up way to write. I always use cursive when I write. She writes her name in script everywhere now.

    • Anonymous says:

      ¬†My daughter is excited too. I’m not upset about it, but it is becoming an issue as to whether or not cursive should still be taught, and I realized that I do think it’s becoming obsolete. It makes for an interesting discussion, that’s for sure!

  23. elzatelzabelz says:

    My daughter (now in 2nd grade) learned cursive starting in Kindergarten. They maintained that it was easier to teach cursive when they are younger and the writing all flows together. She has beautiful penmanship, so I can’t argue with it!

  24. Mandagray says:

    I don’t really have an opinion on cursive being taught in school but I personally have not written in cursive in well over 10 years and I even print my signature.¬† I am pretty sure there is no law that your signature must be written in cursive.¬† Why can’t we just all write the way we want ūüôā

  25. TDO says:

    I rarely print actually… ¬†I find cursive faster and I’ve used it since I learned it (in grade 3 for me). ¬†Everything I write nearly is in cursive (and I can write it with both hands too very easily which is great when my right hand is sore from holding a pen. ¬†When I print with my left hand it is not really that readable and it’s slow and I have trouble with it, but cursive is easy to switch back and forth… ¬†so it could be handy that way if the main hand is easy. ¬†

    As for learning to read it without learning to write it, I don’t see the point. ¬†Learning to write it is the easiest way to teach to learn to read it…. ¬†If they can write it, they’ll be able to read it. ¬†

  26. Jennifer says:

    My boys’ school teaches cursive first. ¬†For anyone who is interested in the logic and research behind it, here is why:¬†

    http://donpotter.net/PDF/Cursive%20First.pdff ¬†It is interesting, but I honestly don’t feel strongly one way or the other. ¬†They teach manuscript in the 4th, but most, if not all, already know it b/c they have been reading manuscript all along. ¬†¬†Me, personally … I have my own very strange combination of print and cursive. ¬†It’s truly odd. ¬†I’ve heard of many school districts dropping cursive all together for the reasons you stated. ¬†

  27. Miriam says:

    I think cursive is a valuable skill, even if the reason it was developed -less muscle strain/faster for writing long pieces by hand – is becoming obsolete. ¬†But, like all the arts it does have it’s own inherent artistic value. ¬†On the other hand, it can be learned later in life as well. My husband does calligraphy & illumination as a hobby. He knows several “hands” and produces beautiful work. ¬†

    Having said all that, it may come down to where it ranks in the triage created by all the cuts in education spending.  My kids school district has cut almost three weeks from the school year this year.  To me this puts a huge demand on the time they are there to learn essential skills leaving enrichment learning even more my responsibility as a parent.

  28. Mrsg1007 says:

    While I am not an advocate of abandoning cursive writing in general, I would gladly abandon it if public schools would teach proper spelling and grammar. There are more college graduates than ever before in America, and most of these supposedly highly educated people don’t have the grammar skills of a toddler. I see ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’ or ‘should’ve’ printed in books. Most of my children’s friends cannot properly use ‘then’ and ‘than’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, or ‘their’, ‘there’, and ‘they’re’. Most people seem not to know how to properly indicate a plural possessive, but if their cursive is acceptable all is well.

  29. Guest says:

    I can see why cursive MAY be somewhat useful for people to know, but I completely agree that there is much too much time in school devoted to it.  Personally, I would prefer they spend the time starting to learn typing and rudimentary computer skills. 

  30. Amy says:

    Cursive is a complete waste of time.

  31. […] called for a curse on cursive, was relieved to discover that my daughter wasn’t growing up quite as fast as I feared, and […]

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