An article in today’s paper gave me pause. Cursive handwriting has one foot in the grave.
A debate wages as 45 states adopt school curriculum guidelines for 2014 that exclude cursive handwriting, but do require keyboard proficiency by the time students exit elementary school.
You can read the full article here, but some highlights are:
“ . . . it has teachers and students divided over the value of learning flowing script and looping signatures in the age of touchpads and mobile devices. Some see it as a waste of time, an anachronism in a digitized society where even signatures are electronic, but others see it as necessary so kids can hone fine motor skills, reinforce literacy, and develop their own unique stamp of identity.”
“When a kid can text 60 words a minute, that means we’re headed in a different direction. Cursive is becoming less important.”
“School assignments are required to be typed, and any personal note, such as thank yous and birthday cards are emails.”
“It’s not necessary to write in cursive. Whatever you write in, you say the same thing.”
“For kids, the only practical purpose for learning cursive may be to sign their name.”
Hmmm . . . I struggle with this on several levels.
Call me old-school, a fuddy-duddy, or stick-in-the-mud, but I think kids should learn the fine art of cursive handwriting. Why? Just because.
The days of handwritten letters are gone. I get that. However, I miss when letters were lovingly written on beautiful stationery and then bundled together with a satin ribbon and saved in a satin box. I have dozens of letters my mom, uncle, and grandmother exchanged before the electronic age. They are treasures. Some of these letters are 70 years old. I can hold them in my hand, see their personality in their handwriting, and read them when I am feeling nostalgic.
Now, we email, text, Tweet, and FaceBook Grandma rather than sending her a note on linen stationery and signed with a flourish. Maybe electronic notes will be saved in a file on Grandma’s computer, but do you think that years from now the next generation will consider a typed message as part of their legacy? Besides, technology will have advanced to such a degree that my grandkids won’t be able to open old word.docx files.
My husband and I insisted that our kids wrote their thank you notes in cursive. They cursed the cursive, but acquiesced after we tied them to the chair until the notes were properly written. Don’t worry, Child Protective Services never knocked on our door.
I recently showed the girls some of the thank you notes they wrote my folks. It was fun for them to read that Grandma gave them pink Barbie pajamas for Christmas in 1992. But it meant more to them that Grandma cared enough about their notes to save them. Can’t save a text message in a satin box.
If Shakespeare wrote his sonnets in block letters or on his iPad, some of the magic would have been lost.
I guess I am lamenting the loss of two things here . . . the art of letter writing and cursive handwriting.
Where do you stand on the demise of cursive handwriting? Is it dead, or should the patient be saved?