Many government schools which have adopted Common Core, and even some private schools following their lead, have dropped cursive writing from their curriculum. This tragedy involves more than just penmanship. It affects how well students learn, think and write.
“Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual, and tactile information, and fine motor dexterity,” states Dr. William Klemm of Psychology Today. “School systems, driven by ill-informed ideologues and federal mandate, are becoming obsessed with testing knowledge at the expense of training kids to develop better capacity for acquiring knowledge.”
Penmanship is a foundational skill which allows students to acquire skills and integrate knowledge in reading, spelling, composition, critical thinking and memory. Brain scans have shown that when students write in cursive they use both hemispheres of their brain and activate the regions involved
in thinking, language and working memory. Writing in print and typing do not have the same effects.
Studies in Psychological Science have shown that students who write their class notes by hand have a higher retention rate than those who type their notes; higher retention shortens the time needed to review for tests. Researchers have also found that students who learn and use cursive writing have higher grades and long-term academic success.
Writing in cursive is faster than printing. Students can get their ideas on the page more quickly and organize their thoughts. University admissions and Advanced Placement tests often require handwritten sections. The inability to write in cursive can seriously hamper a student’s success on these tests.
There is also a concrete value in knowing how to read cursive. Historic documents, like the Declaration in Independence and the United States Constitution, are written in cursive. The value is also practical. Most American adults write in cursive. The inability to read cursive will preclude employment at doctors’ offices or law firms. It is an essential communication tool.
Cursive is a beautiful and practical art. It is essential for students to learn it, use it and see its benefits.