by Julia Buckley
But the value of cursive writing goes well beyond its seeming sophistication. Cursive writing IS more complex than printed writing, which is perhaps why signatures have to be written in cursive. Historical documents (including family letters) are written in cursive--perhaps most famously the one above. And yet, many school curriculums are dropping cursive writing, viewing it as an antediluvian skill that will have no place in the modern world of computers. The focus now is on keyboarding, reflecting, I think, the general short-sightedness of people in the computer-enhanced world.
According to an article William Klemm wrote for Psychology Today, Klemm says that scientists are learning that cursive writing is important for cognitive development. According to Klemm's research, when students write in cursive, "there is spill-over benefit for thinking skills used in reading and writing. To write legible cursive, fine motor control is needed over the fingers. Students have to pay attention and think about what and how they are doing it . . . brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding."
In fact, Klemm later reveals that cursive has a similar effect on the brain as does learning to play a musical instrument. In a science called "haptics," which includes the interactions of touch, hand movement, and brain function, it is clear that cursive helps a child with key skills including visual, tacticle, and motor dexterity (Klemm).
I could not agree with Klemm more when he concludes that "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."
Cursive is not an outdated skill. Some forms of learning should be left alone in the great sweep toward modernization, especially when those techniques have clear and lasting effects on growth and ability.
Has a child in your family already entered the non-cursive generation? What are your thoughts about it?