The Importance of Learning Cursive

January 5, 2015

Diego is in fourth grade.  As I watched him print his answers to a spelling test, I noticed several important things: he was gripping his pencil in a partial fist; he often reversed his b’s and d’s; his letters were of varying sizes, often above or below the line; and his printing overall was illegible.  Diego is a fairly typical example of the children I see who have symptoms of dyslexia, and who hate writing.  After a few weeks of practicing a form of cursive that was originally designed for dyslexic students, Diego was no longer confusing b’s and d’s, and his letters were the appropriate size.  His writing was not only legible but also looked good.  In addition, Diego felt pleased with himself and quite grown up to be writing in cursive.

 

There is a debate today in the educational community about whether to stop teaching cursive and focus on keyboarding.  In fact, the Common Core Curriculum has no cursive requirement.  So far 40 states have followed their lead, eliminating cursive from the curriculum.  There is, however, ample research to support not only keeping cursive in the schools, but even introducing it before printing.  Consider the following factors:

  1. Printing and cursive activate different parts of the brain. Cursive promotes cognitive development in the areas involved in thinking, language, working memory and recall, creativity, and fine motor skills.

  2. Writing cursive involves repeatedly crossing the midline, and strengthens communication between the right and left brain hemispheres.

  3. Cursive improves eye tracking skills, critical for reading and other activities.

  4. Cursive develops the brain-hand connection.Keyboarding does not.

  5. Cursive lines are easier for small hands to make, compared to the straight lines and circles used in printing. Also, a continuous, flowing movement is easier than the constant starting and stopping required in printing.

  6. Cursive is faster than printing.

  7. Studies show children who write in cursive score better on reading and spelling tests.

  8. Retention of information is greater with cursive than with keyboarding.

  9. Cursive works better than printing for children with dyslexia, and reduces letter reversals.

  10. Handwriting is a form of personal expression and can be a form of artistic expression.

 

Based on this information, it would be logical for students to learn and use cursive from an early age.  As school moves in the opposite direction, it falls to parents, individual teachers, and tutors to give their students the many benefits of cursive.  Abba’s Child Learning Center has a simple, effective method for teaching cursive, which can easily be implemented in the home or classroom.  Using this method, most children learn cursive fairly easily, even those children who have struggled with it in the past.  There are a few key difference from the cursive that has generally been taught in classrooms.  In this method,

  1. All lower case letters start on the line, so students don’t have to remember, or guess, where to start each letter.

  2. Letters are not learned in alphabetical order.The letters are grouped for teaching according to the type of movement involved in making the letter.

  3. Students are taught to make the letter “a”, “c”, “d”, “g”, and “o” using a method that crosses and re-crosses the midline.This promotes left-right brain hemisphere integration.

 

For more information on this method of teaching cursive, please contact us.

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