Educational Editorial: Cursive writing in schools

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Someone recently asked me, "What ever happened to cursive writing?" You remember, the flowing letters that gave visual cadence to written communication.

During the 1940s and 50s, two hours a week would be spent teaching young people in elementary schools the art of penmanship.

In a USA Today article a Florida administrator said, "With all the other subjects we have to teach, we don't spend a lot of time on cursive…Kid's just don't write letters now. They send emails or text messages. A lot of those old ways are going away."

While I am fascinated by the speed, agility and efficiency of our new technologies, I also wonder what we must forgo. My brother, a physician, recently sent a text message that he had "spoken" into his new smart phone.

The cursive issue is not so much about a single skill as it is about a shift in communication. A Vanderbilt national study reflected that 90 percent of the teachers said that they focus on cursive writing for about 15 minutes a day.

A Fairfax teacher, as quoted in the Washington Post noted that she teaches cursive writing but believes that it really is not important.

Now, the graduate students that I teach are probably laughing at this editorial because they know that my scrawl leaves much to be desired. They frequently ask for translations of the comments that are written all over their papers.

With the need for remediation cited, I keep note pads in the desk because of the need to balance "high tech" and "high touch."

When the first essay was required for the SAT, only 15 percent of the 1.5 million students who were tested used cursive.

Some would say that it should not matter…but the cursive notes on my recent Father's Day cards brought both warmth and style to the words, "We love you."

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