Is your state’s curriculum fully meeting the needs of your child? Odds are it isn’t. As of today, only 14 states require cursive handwriting to be taught in public schools. This means millions of children across the country are potentially missing out on a very important skill. Cursive writing “helps improve neural connections, increases writing speed, and improves fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination” (Toplansky). At DrawnToDiscover, we recognize the importance of teaching cursive, even if some state laws no longer require it.
Benefits to the Brain
Cursive has often been dismissed as an outdated skill. The logic is that with computers, people will no longer need to write by hand. As a side effect of this belief, students who were not taught cursive cannot even read a letter from their grandparents let alone a historical U.S. document. Moreover,, teaching both print and cursive handwriting is still a valuable tool for students because it impacts the development of their fine motor skills.
Cursive provides a flow of thought as well as a flow of words according to a number of studies (NH Bureau). Writing in cursive is able to create flow because of how our brains think. Humans think structurally and traditional block letters interrupt that thinking. Because cursive connects each letter of each word, the flow of writing is maintained. This flow allows the writer to stay focused on the content. In fact, College Board found that students taking the essay portion of the SAT scored slightly higher when writing in cursive than if they printed their answers (NH Bureau). Thus, learning cursive at a young age can have long-lasting benefits on a child’s educational career.
Writing and reading cursive activates the whole brain. Writing by hand helps you retain more information. Cursive and handwritten notes engage the brain which helps you remember more than if you had typed the notes.
Not teaching handwriting or cursive is a disservice to students. Cursive handwriting develops fine motor skills children will use for the rest of their lives. For people with developmental dysgraphia this can have a wide range of benefits to help improve their motor skills. Without cursive being taught in school, many kids are on their own to develop necessary fine motor skills. However, getting help from professional therapists can be expensive. In DrawnToDiscover, our curriculum uses drawing to teach cursive, pre-writing strokes, and to develop fine motor skills. Due to its benefit to fine motor development, cursive has the power to truly make a difference in children’s literacy.
Writing out words and thinking of them as a single unit means you’re more likely to retain their proper spelling than if you simply typed them. As a result, cursive writers tend to spell more accurately.The increased fluidity of a cursive writer’s thought process makes the writing automatic and allows for elaboration.
It is our duty to make sure children learn cursive and reap the benefits. A University of Washington professor who has co-authored studies on the topic followed the same children every year for five years to track their development. The study found that children taught cursive and handwriting in school were writing more words, writing faster, and expressing more ideas if they could use handwriting — printing or cursive — than if they used the keyboard (Helm). Join us at DrawnToDiscover to reap the benefits that cursive writing brings to students.
~Caleigh Cramer and Miss WEndy
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