Should We Let Cursive Writing Die?

By Olivia Kaiser on September 11, 2013

You learn it around the third grade, when you’re seven or eight years old, with all of its curly-q’s, elongated strokes, and precise pen placement, making the words slant slightly to the right.

You practice it every day in class, stroke-by-stroke, letter-by-letter, word-by-word, and your teacher walks around helping you when your pen misses a step, which let’s be honest happens all the time.

Or at least that’s how it used to be.

Dating back to the first evidence of writing, the words on the tablets and parchment have been perceived as art. A beautiful way to let others see what you’re thinking and wanting to say. And, an essential foundation to our country. However, many are now questioning whether or not cursive writing is a necessary skill to teach to this up and coming generation as well as the ones to follow. And the ones against it have some good arguments.

1. The Common Core Standards doesn’t require it to be taught. Their mission states, “The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

2. Technology is up and rising. If all papers, homework, and business life are on computer programs there’s no need to learn script. Computers are more efficient and realistic.

3. Teachers should be focusing their time on more important things, such as math, science, and again technology, and if they do that there should be no time for cursive writing instruction. Teaching cursive just is not an effective use of class time.

4. While penmanship is important, teaching both print and cursive is unnecessary.

However, others believe cursive writing is still an important skill to learn. Those that do will often make arguments such as:

1. As long as signatures are used, at least the basics of cursive writing should be taught. Print is both easy to write and easy to copy. No one wants forgery.

2. So many important documents are written in script. Sure, you can find them typed up, but it’s not the same as being able to read the actual document, for example, The Constitution of the United States.

3. If learning to write cursive becomes extinct so will the ability to be able to read cursive. Not only are many of this nation’s important documents written in script, but those cards from grandparents and great-grandparents are too.

4. Cursive writing helps kids develop fine motor skills, and helps with disabilities such as dyslexia.

Whether schools should or should not take cursive writing out of their curriculum has been a debate for a few years now. With many adults still writing in cursive and a new technology age on the rise, perhaps the answer is a transition period, where students learn to read cursive writing, but not longer go through the laborious task of process of learning to write it.

Though many parents would not be happy with this decision, it’s safe to say what we learn in elementary school we think of as the “basics” or the “building blocks” of what’s to come. So what would become of the old John Hancock if cursive writing were completely eliminated eventually? How would generations to come do without it? Maybe it’ll be as easy as a fingerprint scan, but maybe not. Seeing just how far technology goes will be the only way to tell.

I attend the University of Iowa, double majoring in Journalism and English. I enjoy reading the classics with a cup of coffee (hold the sugar, please!) and catching up on my fashion and gossip through magazines, like Cosmo and Vogue. I believe in leading a healthy and active lifestyle, with Track & Field being my favorite sport! I'm a small town girl with big city dreams!...Oh! and I love popcorn!

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