Cursive Handwriting: What are the Pros?

Lacy LangleyLife

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There has been much debate about whether or not cursive writing is still relevant in the digital age. Some supporters of the Common Core curriculum say that with the small amount of time in classrooms and higher testing standards than ever, that cursive is just something that needs to go in order to lighten the weight.

However, there are many who say that cursive is necessary. Cursive handwriting used to be thought of as a sign of intellect, education, and eloquence. Advocates, such as Linden Bateman, State Representative from Idaho, contend that cursive has proven necessary to good brain function. "Modern research indicates that more areas of the human brain are engaged when children use cursive handwriting than when they keyboard. We're not thinking this through. It's beyond belief to me that states have allowed cursive to slip from the standards."

"The Constitution of the United States is written in cursive. Think about that," Bateman said. Bateman, himself, habitually handwrites 125 beautiful letters each year.

This has become quite the consideration according to the Huffington Post. The Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights are all written in cursive. Not that the Constitution hasn't already been trampled, but these are supposed to be the documents that we are supposed to live by everyday. Future generations will only be able to read transcripts of these documents, and the awe and inspiration of the originals will be lost on them.

Now, seven states, California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah, have made it known that they are going to keep the cursive requirement, according to AP. This, along with the renewed requirement for students to memorize multiplication tables, is part of a growing "back to basics" movement.

Scholars argue that if cursive is allowed to fall by the wayside, their successors in the coming generations won't be able to read or translate valuable documents, letters or journals from the generations before. A link could be broken.

Cursive is also touted as being helpful to the creative process. Kristen Purcell is an associate director for research at Pew's Internet & American Life Project. She said fellow researchers found it shocking that 94 percent of the 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers that were surveyed said they "encourage their students to do at least some of their writing by hand."

The reasons for this, the teachers said, were that most standardized tests are still in paper-and-pencil format, and also teachers believe that having students write by hand helps them slow down their thinking. It also encourages deeper and better thinking.

Perhaps some deeper and better thinking is in order for those of us who have grown up learning cursive just like the generations before. Is it really unnecessary and dispensible, a waste of time?

Image via wikimedia commons

Lacy Langley

Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.