I had the privilege and honor to "team teach" the importance of "cursive" writing for students of all ages and backgrounds. The group of participants was the Kansas Chapter of the International Graphoanalysis Society (KIGAS) which is really a group of people dedicated to all aspects of handwriting.
We usually talk about the personality aspects of handwriting but with the lack of interest in cursive writing in our society we find it necessary to try to reintroduce the importance of "cursive" writing. It seemed silly to me to be teaching our group about this subject because we were basically preaching to the choir.
How could we talk for six hours about this very simple subject and keep it interesting for the participants? Curtis Wilson (a fellow handwriting specialist) and I discussed it at great length and decided to have a dialogue back and forth and with the group. It worked out really well!
We shared with the group that 45 states have discontinued "cursive" writing in their school curriculum. We also discussed that when you type on a keyboard there is no real sense of accomplishment among students that is truly their own. Kids identify with what they produce in writings and drawings.
Art is very important and the use of "cursive" writing encourages the student to explore their creative side. Cursive handwriting encourages the mind to connect with the brain and puts thoughts in a connected fluid manner. It also encourages hand-eye coordination and the use of fine motor skills.
These skills are useful and necessary for mechanical engineers, surgeons, carpenters, mechanics, musicians, and artists of all kinds. Fine motor skills are very important….what better way to learn than by using "cursive" writing?
Cursive handwriting enables students to remember their lessons more than if they were using the keyboard system or printing. This was researched by Karin Harman James from Indiana.
Iris Hatfield from Louisville, Ky., sites 50 reasons to learn cursive, some of which I would like you to think about.
Cursive improves the neural connections in the brain. Writing cursive increases the ability to read cursive. Many high school students cannot read cursive. They are cursively illiterate in their own language.
With "cursive" writing there is improved continuity and fluidity of written communication. This involves connecting letters, which has been shown to increase both speed of writing and attention span during writing. This increases continuity and fluidity in writing, which in turn encourages greater amounts of writing.
Cursive helps students to learn easier because printing is more difficult due to the frequent stop and start motion when forming letters. In addition, some printed letters look similar and are easily reversed, like the 'b' and 'd', which is often confusing to children. This is of particular value to children with learning challenges like Dyslexia and A.D.D.
Page 2 of 2 - Cursive writing improves reading and spelling ability. When printing, some children write so erratically that it is difficult to determine where one word ends and another begins. Cursive on the other hand, requires children to write from left to right so that the letters will join in proper sequence; therefore, it is easier to read. It also aids with spelling through the connectivity of the letters.
These are just some of the reasons to consider pertaining to cursive writing. We realize that the technology world is important but we should never forget the importance of the written word…the handwritten word. What teacher or parent or grandparent would not appreciate a handwritten thank you note or a letter?
Handwritten notes and letters are almost extinct and a lost art. Let's revive this art before it is gone forever! We as parents and grandparents and even friends can teach penmanship…the lost art and bring some continuity back into the fragmented printing world.
Sanda Foote is a handwriting specialist/examiner from Superior, Neb. Her website can be found at www.writefacts.com.