There are some who feel that the teaching of cursive handwriting has lost its relevance in this day and age. Some say that it’s not a necessary or a required skill set for the 21st century.
It could be argued that due to the advances in technology all that’s really needed is training on keyboarding. Although technology is a great thing and being proficient in keyboarding is advantageous, cursive handwriting offers many benefits that I feel have been overlooked.
First, let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons for teaching cursive handwriting in our schools.
- Cursive handwriting stimulates the brain in ways that typing on a keyboard does not. It improves the interplay between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It increases mental effectiveness and builds neural pathways.
According to Virginia Berninger, a researcher and professor at the university of Washington stated, I quote, “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.” End quote.
- The improved ability to read cursive becomes evident. When you have individuals that cannot read cursive handwriting, then consequently, they’re cursively illiterate. Just look around at many different settings out there in society – the ability to read cursive writing is often times required.
- Cursive Writing is much faster than the start and stop strokes of actual printing. So, that being the case this affords individuals more fluidity in their writing and increases attention span. This means that greater amounts of writing can be done.
- The act of writing in cursive improves fine motor skills. It develops one’s sensory skills. It builds the neural foundation to be able to do many of the day-to-day things like button one’s shirt, fastening a sweater, and tying one’s shoes to name a few.
- There was a study done with college students and what they found was when these students wrote a paragraph in cursive one week later, they still retained the material much better as opposed to printing the material or using a keyboard.
- The ease of learning. Due to the stop and start of forming letters while printing is much more difficult than cursive writing. With respect to students with learning challenges such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and attention span issues, cursive is of particular value.
- Learning how to write in cursive increases self-discipline, because of its complexities. Cursive writing is associated with the development of fine motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination.
- Cursive leads to more improved legibility and spelling ability. Cursive requires kids to write from let to right so that the letters join in proper sequence and spacing.
- Cursive handwriting improves the legibility, fluidity, and the aesthetics of one’s signature.
- When an individual masters one’s cursive handwriting skills, it improves their confidence to communicate with the written word. Why cursive writing is good for the brain
In the 21st century many K-12 school systems around the world are phasing out cursive handwriting in favor of digital devices for remote and in-class learning.
According to Audrey Van der Meer, a neuropsychologist professor at NTNU in a news release stated the following: I quote. “The use of pen and paper gives the brain more “hooks” to hang your memories on. Writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain.” She added, “A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pencil or pen on paper, seeing the letters you write, and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning.” End quote.
I think a good take away here is that writing by hand helps the brain learn a lot better.
Let’s consider the 5 benefits of cursive writing:
- Stimulating the brain. It has been scientifically proven that cursive writing stimulates the brain in ways that typing on a keyboard cannot. And there’s quite a bit of research that supports that.
- Cursive develops motor skills – when children are actively using cursive, they begin to learn how to position their paper and pencil. Kids also learn how much pressure is needed to bear down on their paper and to form words and creating readable sentences.
- Self-discipline and professionalism – There are numerous benefits to cursive handwriting namely develops self-discipline because it takes work, lots of practice to form letters of the alphabet and to form words. Also, aids in the development of fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.
- There is a potential correlation between cursive handwriting and grammar, spelling and overall understanding. The reason for this stems from the fact that there’s a lot of repetition when learning how to form letters.
A study conducted in Quebec, Canada has shown that children who learn cursive at a young age are likely to become better spellers and writers. Moreover, this results in children and adults write faster and fluently.
- Children who suffer with dyslexia often times get their letters, and letter sounds mixed up. But the research has shown that cursive handwriting improves reading, spelling and sentence structure as well. In summary – I firmly believe that teaching our children cursive handwriting is just as important, if not more so than keyboarding. After all, the research bears this out. There’s been study after study showing how cursive interacts with the brain thereby making neural connections.