In the previous article, we looked at some of the major reasons why certain schools and individuals are proposing that cursive writing be eliminated from modern-day schooling requirements. While we questioned the strength of those reasons, we believe that the reasons for keeping cursive handwriting skills are legitimately strong.
- Studies have shown that the cognitive skills required to form the loops and joins in cursive writing create connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. More regions of the brain are actually activated through using pen and paper to form the letters than through using a keyboard. (www.newamericancursive.com/learncursive, quoting Virginia Berninger, a researcher and educational psychology professor at the University of Washington, cited 1/20/14)
- Cursive writing improves students’ fine motor skills—the same skills that are used for picking up small objects, tying shoes, buttoning shirts, and copying words quickly. The physical act of writing also develops the physical-spatial awareness and sensory skills that are used for thinking and reading. Moreover, studies have shown that students who write study notes in class retain the information and understand the content better than students who type them on a computer or tablet.
- Cursive writing requires self-discipline and perseverance, which are character qualities all modern Americans can stand to develop.
- Failing to learn cursive writing almost inherently means failing to learn how to read cursive handwriting. We will raise up generations of readers who cannot decipher for themselves many historical documents like the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution in their original form. Yes, these documents have often been “translated” and republished in standard text for easier reading, but accuracy and understanding of nearly every pre-19th century document will be improved by being able to read the document in its original text. Face it, even letters from Grandpa and Grandma may be inaccessible to non-readers of cursive.
- There is a creative and artistic aspect to developing one’s own style of cursive writing and cursive fluidity that can never translate into texting or typing. In addition, students who write compositions by hand tend to write faster, write longer works, and express their ideas more clearly. (www.businessinsider.com/reason-to-learn-cursive, cited 1/20/14) Older students writing their essays in cursive for the SAT test scored slightly higher than printers (blogs.bostontestprep.com, cited 12/29/13). This may be because cursive writers can generally express their ideas more quickly, but it is a factor to consider nonetheless.