This is good news for those of us who agree that knowing cursive, even in this digital age, is a good thing. We’ve discussed before in this blog the advantages of this type of handwriting, including how studies are showing that writing in cursive helps train the brain, taps into intuition, and is a good cognitive exercise for helping keep the mind sharp.
If those weren’t good enough reasons to keep cursive in the classroom, there is also recent brain science that indicates the fluid motion employed when writing script enhances hand-eye coordination and develops fine motor skills, in turn promoting reading, writing and cognition skills.
The other side of learning cursive is being able to read it. So many of our historical documents and letters are written in cursive and if the ability to read cursive is lost, so will be the opportunity to learn from the wisdom of the people who came before us.
We’ve also talked here about the Common Core educational standards that were adopted by most of the U.S. states, which dropped any type of writing or penmanship class. Even the teachers who admit to believing in the importance of teaching handwriting are unable to since the new curriculum does not allow for more than 10 minutes a week to spend on penmanship.
However, as I said, there is now good news. Seven states – California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah – have moved to keep the cursive requirement.
As a matter of fact, legislation passed in these states couples cursive with memorization of multiplication tables as twin “back to basics” mandates. This is based on the belief that regardless of the convenience of typing emails and texting messages, and of using a calculator, the brain still requires exercise to be healthy.
Linden Bateman, a 72-year-old state representative from Idaho, says cursive conveys intelligence and grace, engages creativity and builds brain cells.
“Modern research indicates that more areas of the human brain are engaged when children use cursive handwriting than when they keyboard,” said Bateman, who handwrites 125 ornate letters each year. “We’re not thinking this through. It’s beyond belief to me that states have allowed cursive to slip from the standards.”
And what about this amazing development: Kathleen Wright, handwriting product manager for Zaner-Bloser, a Columbus, Ohio-based textbook publisher, said colleges of education that have focused on “whole language” education have turned out a crop of young teachers who are unable to either write or teach cursive writing themselves.
The move by the seven states to recognize the importance of cursive not only in our culture but in the health and development of our children, is commendable.