Cursive question

Why should children learn cursive writing when 99% of all that is written today is in print or type? I thought that maybe it had something to do with signing your name being the only legally binding way to put your mark on a contract or whatever. With the advent of fingerprint, retinal and facial recognition becoming electronic signatures why learn cursive? Children learn printing first before they learn cursive so why not just cut the cursive part out?

I think it’s just good to know how to do and how to read it. Also for many people they can write much faster that way.

Because then elderly people would never know the joy of a hand written letter?

No really. I always hand write all my personal letters - invitations, thank yous, etc. It’s a personal problem I have I guess.

As a possible guess, I think cursive helps to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. (Just as a WAG).

In the past, educators went through cycles of teaching and then not teaching cursive. I took a course in Russian with a guy who had hit one of the non-cursive phases so he couldn’t write cursive English. We learned how to write the Cyrillic alphabet in cursive so he could write cursive Russian.

I agree 100% with your logic, but I think this has about as much chance and will take as long as converting the ordinary US dweller to the metric system.

I either type or print everything. And the only thing I print by hand is the address on envelopes. As a result of that and advancing age, my handwriting has deteriorated quite a bit.

IMO cursive sucks.

I can NEVER read anyone’s sloppy cursive writing. Print looks so much better and it’s easy to read.

I have told my daughter to not get in the habit of writing in cursive.

I do not use cursive anymore either, I have found that sometimes I can barely read it, unless I write slow enough that I could go faster printing. And I don’t handwrite that much anymore, anyway. Can’t remember the last time I handwrote a letter as opposed to just e-mailing. I guess a birthday card or something, but that’s not much writing.

Might as well do away with cursive and teach children to type from an early age.

A thread came up before: Penmanship vs. keyboarding in school (Note that it’s in IMHO). The OP there specifically mentioned cursive, and though many people chimed in with the merits of legible handwriting, very few addressed cursive specifically. I believe that most people are like I, who am of the opinion that handwriting is crucial but that cursive is lacking in worth. However, there are a few defendants of cursive with several arguments, including:[ul][]Cursive is faster than print.[]Cursive is more personal than print, making personal letters more effective.Cursive is an art form that everyone can enjoy.[/ul]The OP also mentions cursive being the only legally binding way to sign a document. This has been addressed before too: Is it legal to print your signature? The short answer is yes.

I agree with Achernar, I think a teacher would say the reason is that cursive is faster (once you learn it), and therefore will be important for notetaking, etc.

My son has difficulties with printing (and he’s 13), and we’re trying to get him up to speed with typing and voice recognition, so that’s a whole other way of looking at it.

And why bother to learn to read and write at all since pretty soon voice recognition software will be perfected and we already have pretty good reading software. And hand arithmetic is utterly useless, since we all have calculators. I once saw someone use a calculator to divide 1250 by 10. And I once saw a graduate student in mathematics use a calculator to multiply 75 by 8.

Hari, you have a point, but some people are disabled and have more difficulty with some tasks than you apparently realize.

I think Hari is being sarcastic. Tell me you are, aren’t you?


I see what you’re saying, Hari - just because something used to be crucial to getting around, and is now semi-replaced with something else, doesn’t mean we should stop learning it. However, some things do get obsoleted, like slide rules. Also, in this case, I don’t think that cursive was ever crucial.

I tried to be one of those unique people that likes to only write in print. Couldn’t do it. My hand got too crampy. Cursive is just faster, more “flowy”, and easier on the hands.

I think everyone should be taught handwriting, but I think the ugly loopy copperplate hand taught in most American schools is horrible, horrible, horrible, and it’s the direct cause for ugly, illegible, loopy handwriting prevalent in the United States. Children should be taught a more natural script, like an Italic script. They should even be introduced to the joys of writing with pen and ink at an early age. Handwriting is an artform and a form of expression that everyone can practise on a daily basis just through the exercise of their everyday duties.

Yes, I was being sarcastic. But I do vigorously second the suggestion that more legible cursive scripts exist and ought to be taught. The script I learned was handsome if you wrote it according to the handwriting charts, but I only ever saw one person (my fifth grade teacher) who did. She did it even on the blackboard (which is rather harder in some ways, or anyway uses different muscles). But a good cursive is considerably faster than printing and can be quite legible.

It is always a problem when a new technology comes along whether to let the old go. I don’t miss quill pens (which I never used) nor steel pens (the kind you dip in inkwells and write a few words, dip again etc.) but I would regret seeing all handwriting disappear. Even today, I still do rough work with pencil and paper until I am ready to commit to computer. I could not imagine doing scratch mathematics without pencil and paper. I have not used a slide rule in decades, but I still do some simple arithmetic by hand if there is no calculator handy. I think kids who cannot do hand arithemtic cannot have the same familiarity with numbers that I have.

Do you have any sort of cite that script is in general faster than handwriting? I will certainly believe that it is for you, and I believe any number of personal anecdotes, but it is not true for me, so I would need some more general evidence before I believe that I’m the exception.

Also do you happen to have a scan of your handwriting? I want to see if it’s much different than what I was taught. I do algebra all the time on paper, and let me tell you, you do not want to be doing mathematics in script. You’ll wind up having to redo it.

Eh, I do algebra all the time on paper, and I put half of it in script and half of it in print, because all it takes is a little neatness and voila, twice as many symbols! :slight_smile:

I realize it’s only anecdotal, Achernar, but I also find cursive a bit faster and easier on my hands, and it’s only illegible when my handwriting gets excessively small (it’s pretty tiny as is). I don’t actually use it much, except for writing letters and the like, because as mentioned, cursive is more individual and seems a bit more personal than printing. On the other hand… it was never really all that useful for me in note taking, for whatever reason. Possibly that’s just because most of my classes in the last 8 years or so have been math or science type things, where most of the notes are just formulae with everything in printing?

There’s some information on Italic handwriting here –

Uh…a beautiful ‘hand’ is the mark of elegance and care? It is an art form that can be used everyday? It is enjoyable?

I do a fair amount of handwriting–cards, checks, grocery lists, notes to myself, etc. I use either a ‘dip pen’, of which I have several different and lovely ones, or a fine-point rollerball. I can’t stand ballpoints–ugh!

Because getting a hand written letter, on good paper, in good cursive, is a joy. It shows that care and time was taken in expressing the thoughts on the page. Writing anything by hand is a fast dying art. More’s the pity.