Why Care About Handwriting?
Why practice cursive now, in an age driven by technology? Because the human brain connects more (memory, creativity, original thought) in the tactile function of handwriting than it can with a keyboard or other electronic device, and that’s a fact!
Technology is wonderful, but it will not replace what handwriting provides. And, recognition software notwithstanding, our children still need to be able to write.
Campaign for Cursive believes that cursive practice is being eliminated from the public school curriculum without first making a thorough examination of the best-practiced research. The advantages to writing are far beyond being a written form of communication. It takes a mere fifteen minutes of practice a day to learn this important lifelong skill. There are many reasons why writing should remain in the curriculum as a foundational part of our kids' education (reading, writing and arithmetic.)
Check out the list of the top reasons why handwriting training and practice is still important:
Top Reasons to Learn Cursive
1. Improved neural connections in the brain. Cursive handwriting stimulates the brain in ways that typing cannot. It improves the dynamic interaction of the left and right cerebral hemispheres, helps build neural pathways, and increases mental effectiveness. According to Dr. Virginia Berninger, a research professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington:
“Pictures of brain activity have illustrated that sequential finger movements used in handwriting activated massive regions of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory. Handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential finger strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding only involves touching a key.”
2. Not dependent on technology. Handwriting does not require the use of computers or other technologies.
3. Faster than printing. The connectivity of a simple cursive style is faster than the stop-and-start strokes of printing.
4. Keeps students globally competitive. Many countries ensure that their students become proficient in cursive handwriting. The inability to write in cursive is perceived by many countries as the writer having received a lesser quality education.
5. Improved continuity and fluidity of written communication. Cursive handwriting involves connecting letters, which enables thoughts to flow more easily and be more efficiently organized. “The multi-sensory art of writing improves organizational skills.” (Jeanette Farmer, 2005)
6. Improved fine motor skills. Cursive handwriting naturally develops sensory skills. This physical and spatial awareness allows one to write, and more importantly, builds the neural foundation of sensory skills needed for a myriad of everyday tasks.
7. Improves reading and spelling ability. When printing, some children find it difficult to determine where one word ends and another begins. Cursive aids with spelling through the connectivity of the letters, as children are more easily able to see words as a whole, rather than seeing the separate letters, as in printing.
8. Self-discipline and focus. Cursive handwriting is a complex activity inherently associated with the development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This requires the writer to focus.
9. Handwriting humanizes a person and encourages individuality. Learning cursive helps children develop a sense of identity. A handwritten note is a far more personal expression of communication then email or texting.
10. Increased self-confidence. Mastering the skill to write clearly and fluidly improves the student’s confidence and enables him/her to communicate freely with the written word.
11. Handwriting is a vital life-skill. Throughout history, those who could write were always better off in society than those who could not.
12. Able to read cursive handwriting. Similar to when printing was first introduced into the public school curriculum less than 100 years ago, teachers and parents are finding that children who are unable to write in cursive are also unable to read anything written in cursive handwriting.
13. Ease of learning. Printing is more difficult due to the frequent stop-and-start motion when forming letters. In addition, some printed letters look similar and are easily reversed, like the ‘b’ and ‘d’, which is often confusing to children. Thus, cursive training is of particular value to children with learning challenges like Dyslexia and A.D.D.
14. Higher test scores. Research by Steve Graham, PhD, Vanderbilt University showed teachers gave higher grades to handwritten answers that were neatly written.
15. Handwritten signatures are legally binding. Signatures are regarded as marks of personal identity. Learning cursive allows more options for personal differentiation and expression.
Iris Hatfield, www.NewAmericanCursive.com
Edda Manley, firstname.lastname@example.org