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Why Bother? Cursive in a Digital Age


Teach Cursive or Not Teach Cursive?

Although I was extremely happy to read in this NPR article that some states are realizing cursive is valuable and have put it back into their school curriculum, it still isn’t taught in more than half of the states in our country. I find that very concerning. That’s a lot of children who won’t be able to sign their own name or read the documents written by those who founded our country.

What saddens me even more is that in the states where students are being taught cursive, not all of them are retaining it. All of our states should be teaching cursive and teaching it in a way that students retain it.

Why is Cursive So Important?

Everything can be done online. Who really needs to learn to sign their name when they can eSign? Is cursive really all that important?

I believe it is, and here are some of the reasons why:

  • With notes taken by hand, this study shows you why the process helps you retain the information better.
  • Cursive is faster to write than printing. When you’re trying to take notes (to better retain information), faster is always better.
  • Without learning cursive, you can’t sign your name. It’s true documents can be signed online, but not all of them. Official documents still need to be hand-written. And as far as identity theft goes, a signature is harder to forge than a printed name. I’ll stick with my signature, thanks.
  • Cursive develops fine motor skills and uses a different area of the brain than printing. Brain development? Yes, please!
  • Our country’s founding documents are written in cursive. How can our government and elected officials continue to uphold the things our country was founded on if they can’t read them?
  • Most often than not, handwritten letters are written in cursive. If you haven’t learned cursive, you’ll need to find someone who can read it to you or miss out on the contents.
  • Cursive can be a form of play and creativity. Once you know cursive, you can expand to faux calligraphy, calligraphy, or brush lettering to create your own art.

Whether cursive makes it back into the school curriculum for the rest of the country or not is still to be seen, as well as what the effects of students not learning cursive will be in the long run.

Schools Don’t Raise Children, Parents Do

Regardless of what is taught in school or not taught, we need to realize that teachers are there to work in collaboration with parents to prepare a child for their adult lives. Parents are a child’s first teacher, and learning still needs to start at home.

If you feel something is important for your child to learn, then you need to make sure they learn it. Only a parent can decide which values are important to their family and what skills they feel are important for their children to learn. For my family that includes learning how to sign your name.

So, the fact remains that preparing a child for the future comes down to the parent. If we want our children to be self-sufficient, responsible, thriving adults we need to teach them these things at home. Even at a young age, you can start teaching your child the skills you feel are important. Take a look at this Raising Families article to see how to start teaching small skills and build on them as your child grows.

Time won’t be reversed. Technology is here to stay. Even if text and email have become the main form of written communication, cursive is still beneficial and worthwhile to learn. Will your children know how to sign their own name?

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Carolyn Savage

Carolyn is a writer, proofreader, and editor. She has a background in wildlife management but pivoted to writing and editing when she became a mother.

In her "free time" she is a 4th Dan (degree) Kukkiwon certified black belt in Taekwondo, loves learning to craft from her enormously talented children, and then teaching what she's learned to her enormously talented grandmother. Read full bio >>