The New York Times had an interesting article about cursive handwriting on Wednesday: The Case for Cursive. Go read it. I'll wait. But if you hit the paywall, well, I'm sorry. And if you hit the paywall and really, really want to read it, email me and I'll send you the article!
Unsurprisingly, but apparently still newsworthy, the art of cursive handwriting is going down the drain as we all rely more and more on computers. In addition, the education system's current focus on standardized testing means that teachers are dedicating as much time as they can to topics covered by those tests, leaving very little time for handwriting classes.
I'm a little torn on how I feel about this. I remember being so excited about learning to write in cursive in second grade. And I remember being quite smug about how good my cursive was and the amount of praise I got from my second grade teacher for my handwriting. I continued to use cursive most of the time up until probably sometime in middle school. (I would give you an exact year, but sadly, my old yearbooks are stashed in my parents' house so I can't say for sure when I transitioned back to printing. Sad, right?) But since then? Printing all the way. And now that I'm not taking notes in class anymore, even my printing suffers on occasion.
Something about cursive still appeals to me though. It's pretty and fancy in a way that my printing will never be. And I like the fact that it looks a little old-fashioned to my modern sensibilities. And I chose to address all of our wedding invitations in cursive for both of those reasons and also because it felt proper to me--like my grandmother would have approved.
Despite the fact that I like the way it looks, it's not a skill that I need in everyday life, so I guess I'd be hard pressed to say that I think it's a terribly crucial skill for children to learn. The article does raise some interesting points though, particularly that kids who don't learn to write well in cursive have difficulty reading cursive, including important historical documents. This sounds a little crazy to me, until I remember that cursive writing looked like a mysterious secret code to me when I was in first grade. Will cursive handwriting become a skill that history students study in college in order to read primary sources?
Do you typically use cursive or printing? Do you think cursive is a skill that matters? Are you shrugging or appalled by the idea of the next generation not having cursive signatures?