Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cursive Writing

Wow, I heard a news item on the radio today. Cursive writing is no longer being taught in many U.S. schools.

Here is a link (click here) to an article in the American-Statesman.
(If the page asks you to login, close the page, then click here again.)

Here are some quotes from the article:

"Today, written communication is increasingly being replaced by computer messages. And, while adding computer proficiency requirements, school districts across Texas and the nation are de-emphasizing cursive writing in elementary school training. In higher grades, teachers are seeing less work done in cursive and more in block lettering or on computer printouts."

"Furthermore, some teachers say that with the pressure to help students pass high-stakes achievement tests, they don't have time or classroom resources to ensure that students master all aspects of handwriting."

"Traditional penmanship, like calligraphy before it, is fast becoming a lost art."

I must confess that about 30 years ago I quit writing in cursive. My handwriting was so hard to read. If I have to write something out by hand I always print.

When I send someone a note through the postal mail I either print the note by hand or I type it on the computer, print it out, and sign it by hand. I do sometimes feel embarrassed using the computer in that way.

Here is a sample of my cursive handwriting (no laughing please!):
Click to enlarge

If you want to learn or teach cursive, here is an interesting link:
Handwriting For Kids

Maybe I am just thinking that if I had to suffer through learning cursive then so should my kids. My kids: well, at ages 20 and 17 I am quite aware that they failed to learn cursive. In fact, if my younger son ever writes using anything that does not have a built in spell checker then he is doomed.

What do you think about the demise of cursive writing?


At Thursday, January 12, 2006 5:02:00 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I am left handed and went through hell trying to learn writting in school. I basically have this odd style of print and write mixed together, It is also too perfect looking. My mother is also left handed and hers has the same sort of look. My dad on the other hand - lovely. Cant read it though.

Here in Japan kids are taught their kanji from a young age but due to most comic books being in the simplified hirigana and the use of computer, soooo many people have forgotten how to write some of the more difficult kanji and too many can not read it. Manga is actually killing the written word over here.

At Thursday, January 12, 2006 9:35:00 PM, Blogger L. said...

Cursive is alive and well at St. Finn Barr Catholic School, where my son got an "A" in handwriting.

And some Japanese public elementary schools, including ours, teach calligraphy. I think this is why my kids have such nice handwriting -- they`ve spent hours drawing characters over and over.

At Thursday, January 12, 2006 10:06:00 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

my husband had to do calligraphy in school as well and his writting is beautiful. His kanji is also beautiful.
My kanji totally sucks cause I am left handed and do it backwards.

At Friday, January 13, 2006 9:29:00 PM, Blogger Granny said...

I'm a southpaw changed to righthanded back in the days when they still did that. Result - I don't do well with either hand although I print nicely with my right.

I don't write anything I can type.

My dad, on the other hand, wrote beautiful Palmer method.

The girls are learning cursive but for them it seems to be printed letters strung togther like Andrea described.

If all the power goes out, we need to communicate but I don't think it matters if it's cursive or print.

At Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:39:00 AM, Blogger Andie D. said...

I had a difficult time writing in cursive for some reason. I stopped writing that way altogether once it was no longer required in school. I love my handwriting, as I don't have to actually think about it as I write and it's *legible*!

I don't have any problem with schools taking this out of their curriculum. One thought: How will kids learn to sign their names? Hm.

At Wednesday, January 18, 2006 12:52:00 AM, Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

I think it's sad to see it go. I learned both cursive and calligraphy in school. And here, years later I've found that since I do a lot of writing in print, that it's my printing that's hard to read. I've since picked back up on cursive again to keep in practice and because it's more legible. But then I think schools should teach latin and geography too (I didn't get either - don't ask my any state capitals).

Andie D has a good point about signatures.

At Saturday, November 10, 2007 8:11:00 PM, Blogger KateGladstone said...

As a handwriting instruction/improvement/curriculum specialist, I think we need to attend to the research findings (JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, May/June 1998 issue) showing that the fastest and most legible handwriters DO NOT adhere to cursive. (Neither, as it happens, do they really print.)

Highest-speed highest-legibility handwriters join some, not all, letters: making the easiest joins and skipping the rest. Also, highest-speed highest-legibility handwriters tend to use print-like shapes for letters that "disagree" between printing and cursive (even when the handwriter joins letters).

Regarding signatures: The legal sources (extensively researched by me and by my legal counsel) DO NOT justify the common assumption that signatures require cursive. The following material legally defining signatures and writing comes from definitions in BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY (eighth edition) and from definitions in the revised Uniform Commercial Code (law in all fifty USA states).

From the BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY entry for "Signature" -

"A signature may be written by hand, printed, stamped, typewritten, engraved, photographed, or cut from one instrument and attached to another, and a signature lithographed on an instrument by a party is sufficient for the purpose of signing it, it being immaterial with what kind of instrument a signature is made. ... whatever mark, symbol, or device one may choose to employ as a representative of himself is sufficient ... The name or mark of a person, written by that person at his or her direction. In commercial law, any name, word, or mark used with the intention to authenticate a writing constitutes a signature. UCC 1-201(39), 3-401(2). A signature is made by use of any name, including any trade or assumed name, upon an instrument, or by any word or mark used in lieu of a written signature."

From the BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY definition for "Writing" -

"The expression of ideas by letters visible to the eye."

Articles 1-201 (39) and 1-201 (46) of the revised Uniform Commercial Code :

(39) "Signed" includes any symbol executed or adopted by a party with present intention to authenticate a writing.

(46) "Written" or "Writing" includes printing, typewriting, or any other intentional reduction to tangible form.

Neither source mentions cursive as a requirement for signatures or for handwriting. Teachers must do many things, but must they lie to children about the law of the land? Every time a teacher says "Signatures must use cursive," that teacher has lied about the laws of the government under which we live.

For more information/resources on the above issues (and on other handwriting instruction/performance issues), visit my web-site at . You can also contact me via e-mail at or via phone at 518/482-6763. By the way ... teaching kids to READ cursive (whether or not they write it) takes an hour or less if done properly. I have taught five- and six-year-olds to read cursive, if they could read print.

At Tuesday, September 29, 2009 1:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your handwriting is fine for an adult. It's natural that it doesn't stay perfect as a child would write it. You've only used one typed letter( the "x"), but that is normal too. x, b,p,f,m are easiest in the typed simplified form. Caps too.

I think handwriting is important. Students should write by hand in school as using a computer modifies the process( try writing a personal letter both ways).


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