Even though cursive writing, or script, seems to have gone the way of the telegraph in recent years, some states -- including, most recently, Tennessee -- are working to try and preserve it. A bill is about to go before their state House that would make it mandatory for children to learn how to write in script at school, most likely in the third grade. One lawmaker, who is also a teacher, was reportedly inspired to write the bill after he discovered only about half of all children in the state could read a teacher's writing if he or she wrote in cursive. The move is a step in the right direction -- now if only every state would jump on the script bandwagon.
Over the years, I've heard a few decent arguments for why cursive writing should be eliminated from the school curriculum:
It frees up more time in the day when kids could be learning math and science skills, which they severely lack.
Computers have replaced traditional writing.
Common Core ELA Standards don't address the need to teach cursive writing.
I get it -- but I feel these reasons are as valid as the ones I'm going to list for why children should absolutely learn to write in script:
- It's a skill that gives them access to history. Why shouldn't they be able to read historical documents as they appeared at that time -- or even old family letters?
- If teachers spend 20 minutes at the end of each school day teaching and letting kids practice cursive writing, it will in no way take away from the time they spend learning other subjects.
- Unlike typing, writing in script forces you to really stop and consider what you're putting down on paper. This isn't a bad thing!
- Cursive writing has been shown to help develop sensory skills.
- Most people over the age of 20 know how to read and write in script and write their signatures. Why would we willingly block this knowledge from our children? There simply is no good reason not to let them in on what so many others already know.
Children and teens may always choose to type their messages to friends. But they should be taught an alternative way to write, as well. You never know when they'll want to send an old-fashioned love letter or read their grandmother's diary. Don't laugh -- it could happen.
Do you want your children to learn cursive writing in school or do you feel it isn't an important skill?
Image via spiritinme/Flickr