Teaching Students to Write in Cursive

Earlier today, a classmate of mine shared a post about teaching cursive, and I had actually just finished writing about my experiences with the same thing. I’m going to share my words anyway in hopes that both will shed considerable light on the necessity of cursive in the academic lives of students.

I distinctly remember learning how to write in cursive in 2nd grade, and when I got to college I figured out that to many people, that seemed extremely early. I believe in teaching as many new concepts as possible to young children and so, I most certainly support K-2 teachers who work cursive writing into their curriculum.

The 2nd grade class with which I volunteer is almost halfway through learning cursive letters, and this week I was reminded of the joy and wonder young students feel from learning something new. As the teacher demonstrated the letters “d,” “k,” and “i” for the class, each new letter was met with the unmistakable “ooo” expressed by curious minds. But is 2nd grade too early?

This article is fascinating and does what many people throughout the country are starting to do: question whether or not cursive writing still needs to be taught. It argues that two of the main reasons cursive is still alive are “nostalgia and romanticism.” It also points out that cursive is not required by common core standards. What do you think?

Another article by the New York Post discusses the need for teaching cursive while also pointing to how cursive writing is not mandated for testing purposes, and is therefore often excluded from classroom time. It goes on to discuss how cursive promotes handwriting over typing, which essentially helps students retain more information. In this age of technology, this argument is an interesting one. Moreover, it mentions recess and compares the doing away of recess to that of cursive writing and how both are much more beneficial than they’re given credit for.


Credit: Google Images

Where do you stand? Were you one of those students who never had the chance to experience learning cursive at an early age, or were you, like me, taught to appreciate cursive writing during elementary school? I think, much like recess, there is a lot to say for the value of teaching cursive.

As I walked into the 3rd grade classroom in which I volunteer yesterday, I could barely believe that after having spent a good deal of this past week pondering the teaching of cursive, the current lesson was on just that. I started a conversation with the teacher on her feelings about cursive, and she agreed that its merits far outweigh its downfalls. I expressed that, in the least, there will always be one student in the class who picks up cursive and decides to use it indefinitely, to which she responded by nodding toward one of the boys and telling me that that’s exactly what he’s decided to do.

Is the lack of general appreciation for cursive writing representative of how American education is losing touch with its roots, or is it simply symbolic of how technological advances in the United States force us to make sacrifices? I would be interested to hear your personal experience with cursive writing, and whether or not you feel an appreciation for it, because it is certainly a topic that has reached a fork in the road. I believe the future of students’ learning cursive writing is extremely uncertain.

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2 Responses to Teaching Students to Write in Cursive

  1. kbuffett says:

    This was a great post, Hayden. Like you, I think that the future of cursive in American public schools is extremely uncertain.

    Based on my own elementary school experience, I can only recall being taught cursive during the third grade. Today, I can only really write my full name (and a handful of other words) in cursive. As tech literacy becomes more and more prioritized, I wonder if when and cursive will completely fall by the wayside.

    Once again, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. leighahall says:

    I think that the argument of cursive not being in CCSS – and therefore not needing to be taught – isn’t a strong one in and of itself. Handwriting is important, and it develops motor skills. And, as you note, it can help you remember things and learn things better as opposed to typing. That said, there’s not a lot of practical use for cursive these days. However, I’m not convinced that we should do away with it given that it has other benefits.

    Liked by 1 person

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