Sunday, May 01, 2011

Waning Interest in Cursive Writing

Students nationwide are still taught cursive, but many school districts are spending far less time teaching it and handwriting in general than they were years ago, said Steve Graham, a professor of education at Vanderbilt University. Most schools start teaching cursive in third grade, Professor Graham said. In the past, most would continue the study until the fifth or sixth grades — and some to the eighth grade — but many districts now teach cursive only in third grade, with fewer lessons.

“Schools today, we say we’re preparing our kids for the 21st century,” said Jacqueline DeChiaro, the principal of Van Schaick Elementary School in Cohoes, N.Y., who is debating whether to cut cursive. “Is cursive really a 21st-century skill?”
Read more here.

I gave up on cursive with my son. He prefers print, and we didn't pursue cursive past fifth grade. I was the same way in giving it up in middle school for print. I do miss seeing it, but not enough to pursue it in our homeschool. My parents and older sister still write letters in cursive. Sometimes it's difficult for my son to read the letters. We just don't see it enough in our everyday life to keep it as a practiced skill.


Otter Mom said...

My daughter is about to graduation high school and she still prefers print. She does know cursive, but she's much quicker when printing and it works for her so I don't worry about it.

Eva said...

I think that's very sad! I'm a big fan of cursive and my children are not allowed to print once they know cursive. (I know, I'm a mean mother :-)). I start with cursive in grade 1, after they have mastered manuscript writing. I do think, though, that most of the American cursive programs are way too frilly. We use the German "Lateinische Ausgangsschrift," which is somewhat like the Italic handwriting program. Did you know that a good cursive hand shows that a person connects easily with other people and sees connectiveness in life? You know, in Waldorf schools cursive is taught together with knitting and each one helps the other. Some Waldorf schools use the Vimala Alphabet. There is a whole theory behind that one. When I was little we learned cursive before we learned print. I think OLVS also starts cursive in first grade. My son struggles with pretty cursive, but when he makes an effort he can do it. Have you tried "Handwriting without Tears"? Maybe you want to check out SmithHand. Here is a review of the program and interview with the author. Don't give up!

Alexandra said...

I'm afraid at 45, I'm a lost cause! lol I have terrible handwriting, and have printed since my early adolescence. I think my son has inherited this trait. If I told him he had to repeat five years of cursive, he'd scream!

Maybe my daughter will be more attuned to cursive. We'll be using the Rod & Staff cursive program, just like we used for my son.

German cursive is indeed beautiful. My German MIL writes lovely cursive.

I recently read some research that handwriting actually using a specific part of the brain which enhances memory - more than key boarding. It referenced children, so maybe it makes a difference only(or mostly) in the developing brain.I'll have to try to find this again and post it. It didn't compare cursive vs. print, but that would be interesting to look up as well. Thanks for the info!

Eva said...

You could do it with him together. The SmithHand program is just a thin booklet, which should take not more than two or three months! The Getty-Dubay Italic program also has a book for older students and adults called "Write Now: The Complete Program for Better Handwriting." It could be like learning a new foreign alphabet:-).

Alexandra said...

I'll think about it. I've got the rest of my life after all - learning continues throughout your life no matter what your age. :) I liked the looks of that SmithHand program. Thanks for all the information.

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