The Common Core State Standards, which help to guide what education is provided by our public school system, has left teaching cursive off the list. There are SO MANY REASONS to teach children cursive, and each is as compelling as the next.
- Helps children with spelling – Because the letters are connected, cursive helps children to learn common letter patterns. It also provides improved muscle memory which reinforces correct spelling over printing the words.
- Boosts their letter recognition – Cursive heightens the differences between letters that are more similar in print including ‘b’ and ‘d,’ or ‘p’ and ‘q.’ This provides a benefit to early reading skills.
- Fewer reversals and inversions – As cursive helps differentiate letters, children who learn cursive tend to make fewer reversals and inversions in their writing overtime. Children who rely on printing more commonly make these mistakes and do so over a longer period of time.
- Additional boosts to reading – When a child prints, they are thinking about reading one letter at a time. Cursive encourage the brain to think about whole words at a time. Reading with fluency requires children to take in and think about whole words.
- Often more legible than print – Because of the connections between the letters, cursive encourages more spatial planning between letters and words. This focus tends to make a child’s overall writing more legible.
- Increases their ability to concentrate – As cursive writing takes sustained effort and attention overtime, it gives children active practice at staying on task.
- Benefits to fine motor and visual-motor coordination – The start and stop movements of printing are very different from the flow of cursive writing. Cursive builds muscle endurance and dexterity beyond printing. These are all skills that are beneficial over their lifetime.
- Benefits brainstorming and note-taking – As cursive is faster and more efficient, it allows more flexibility in brainstorming and more detail in note-taking. Handwriting lecture notes is better than typing in that the physical process itself supports retaining information.
- Supports creative writing – Fourth grade students who write stories in cursive tend to write longer stories and express more complex ideas than students who keyboard.
- Higher SAT scores – As if those weren’t reason enough, it’s reported that students who write the essay portion of the SAT in cursive tend to score higher on that section than students who print. It may be that the writing itself is allowing students more time to focus on content.
Please, encourage your schools to teach your children cursive. If not, teach them cursive at home.
I’d also like to thank my 4th grade teacher Ms. Rhoda-Jo Stress for challenging and not so gently encouraging my cursive.