Is Cursive Obsolete?

In the news this week, Indiana’s Department of Education announced that schools would no longer need to teach cursive penmanship in schools. They would, however, let schools decide for themselves. It’s part of the common-core curriculum to phase out cursive in favor of digital skills. I disagree.

According to the WSJ, which has a good piece on writing in cursive, it’s still an important and relevant skill. It’s even good for aging adults and helps with learning, memory, and ideation. Ironically, the article cites a study in favor of cursive writing from Indiana University.

There are several debates going on.

One is that teachers who do believe in cursive, have certain preferences as to what ‘style’ of cursive is being taught. Now that, to me, is simply a debate about aesthetic preferences. We do no write in the same script Thomas Jefferson did when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

The second debate is whether or not cursive writing itself is irrelevant. Some educators believe it should go the way of the dodo bird. Others, like me, believe it should be taught. I have no problems with children reverting back to printing later on.

For struggling writers, cursive allows them to be more fluent and thus lets their ideas flow on the page more readily. If you integrate penmanship with other literacy activities, the formation of letters really does make a difference in the way kids retain information. Even in a one-to-one laptop school, teachers ask children to write a lot by hand (journals, responses to prompts, note taking, etc.). My school is not a one-to-one school, and I don’t think it needs to be. Pre-K students do not need their own devices. The ‘worry’ about kids not being able to type is a silly one. I didn’t learn how to type until I was in college (yes, I know I didn’t need it in the era I grew up), but with a simple software tool, I taught myself and was typing about 90 words a minute in two weeks.

Sure, I barely use cursive now. Emails, these blog posts, report cards, texting, etc. are all part of today’s reality. And it depends on the situation. On my laptop, I’ll type. But even on my Ipad, I prefer using a stylus and taking notes by hand, even though my cursive (once beautiful) is barely legible.

Kids will drop cursive writing if they see its need go away , but that’s not the point. It’s what they’re learning simultaneously when engaged in learning cursive. Purposeful formation of letters has to have some intrinsic value, let alone stimulate all kinds of connections in the brain. When, for example, do we stop teaching kids how to tell time on an analog clock? Even though I haven’t worn a watch in the past 6 to 7 years, I hope the answer is never. If nothing else, reading dials is an important skill.

Will a simple handwritten note look like hieroglyphics to the next generation?


543 thoughts on “Is Cursive Obsolete?

  1. Pingback: Is Cursive Obsolete? | Γονείς σε Δράση

    • As a fresh teenager myself I think you’re absolutely right and as writers it does help ideas flow faster. I can write faster and smoother in cursive than in print. We at my school began learning our letters in cursive in Pre-K. Not all need to start that early. But I think it still needs to be learned by the kids and taught throughout the schools. As for the style of cursive I’m at a lost. I can’t say all teens of my generation would agree with me on keeping cursive in schools, actually most I know would be against me, but it’s still important and I can’t take serious the opinions of my piers who tlk lyk ths ”nnd thnk its gr8 all the tyme. Personally, that hurts my eyes and I’m totally going to go write something in cursive after this. -eshy.

    • As a high school student, I am one of the only people in my school that still writes in cursive. And I do it sparingly (usually when I want to impress the teachers that read my notes). Which leads me to the fact that my friends and teachers are in some respect moved just by the fact that I don’t write in print. I wish everyone wrote in cursive it makes even the simplest sentence ring with a kind of aesthetic eloquence. But it’s useless trying to stop the churning juggernaut that is technology. All we can do is watch while we slowly turn into museum exhibits.

    • I was picked in fifth grade to submit my writing to a cursive contest. Didn’t win, but I remember it…. 🙂
      The thought that immediately popped into my head when reading your post was what will people do about required signatures on legal documents, checks, etc?

      • You’re assuming, of course, that legal signatures won’t also go the way of the dinosaur. Signatures are relatively easy to forge for most purposes. I can make lots of changes due to my bank account using just my PIN or online password, but if I were to post a note to my bank that contained instructions plus my signature at the bottom, I seriously hope they WOULD’T take action without contacting me first. This thought has actually made me kind of uneasy now.

      • It often seems that signatures are going the way of the Dodo bird. I think I’m one of the few people whose signature can be read by someone else. Most of the time, when I see people signing things in stores &c, it’s a rapidly-drawn squiggle. It’s practically a return to the Chinese or Japanese signature-seal. That might not be a bad idea, but in this age of identity-theft, it would be extremely impractical.

    • Take a look at the book “Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head” by Carla Hannaford, PH.D, It’s got some really great science and physiology behind learning, of which writing and expressing are central tenants. There are also studied and observed tangible differences with cursive writing being more similar both in patterning and methodology to both speech and thought, allowing people (especially children) the chance and challenge of more complex and fulfilling self expression. Doesn’t mean it works for everyone, especially those with Sensory Integration Disorders and fine-motor skills deficiencies who have trouble with fine movements. Personally I learned cursive later on and now I write in a cursive-print mix which I can put down almost as fast as I can think, it sure is ugly but it works!

    • I beg to differ that cursive helps with the flow of ideas. I will agree that it is imperative because it helps a person indentify themselves with someting as simple as a signature. I remember when I attended school that if you didn’t know how to write in cursive, the teacher would take her time to teach you. So if she felt it was important to teach you to excel in her class, it’s obviously an important tool to have in life. I’m just saying.

    • For many of the students I teach your comments about greater fluency through handwriting is just not true. Those who struggle to get ideas down on paper find digital media far easier to use, and as a result their work improves. Rather than battling with a medium which does not suit their learning style, word processing documents are a great equaliser, with everyone’s print looking the same rather than highlighting a dyspraxic’s difficulties with fine motor skills, for example.

    • I agree with the author; cursive is something I believe should continue to be taught in schools and used on a regular basis in everyday life. I went to a Catholic elementary school and had nuns ( who, by the way, were excellent teachers ), and learned script, as we used to call it, beginning in the 4th or 5th grades. I often ask the question, ” What happens if the whole digital thing breaks down? ” Cursive is as important as spelling, which I have more concerns about (the nuns are turning over in ther graves! ) I’m appalled at the lack of regard for proper spelling and punctuation on the Internet and even some websites I’ve visited for employment that have incorrect spelling and punctuation; don’t they realize that this is a reflection of their businesses? There are people out there making hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly who are poor spellers; literacy in America has been going down the toilet for some time now.

    • I can’t understand why cursive still has a place in any school’s curriculum, unless it’s for the historical value. It ends up being something you have to break yourself of after you’ve graduated from school, anyway. It’s simply not used in the real world anymore.

    • My 2nd year in college as I struggled to take notes fast enough (we didn’t have laptops back then) I noticed the girl next to me writing in all caps. I started writing that way and never looked back. This year I went back to writing cursive, so foreign! I forgot how to write a few letters!

    • I agree that cursive has its own place in learning and it should continue to be taught. It’s like music – you don’t need to be a musician but there’s something about learning music that enriches the neural pathways in the brain, and I suspect there’s something about cursive that does this, too.

    • It’s not obsolete at all. It’s frankly the most stupid idea I have ever read – and it’s had some competition. These people are educators who have voted for this?

      Frankly this is criminally negligent on their part and should be overturned by a higher authority. I’m usually very happy to see two sides to an argument but this one is ridiculous.

      Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll just be off to write a journal entry about this…with a pen…in cursive writing!

      Corporate trainer
      (Who’s delegates really need to be able to write quickly and smoothly to keep up!)

    • I love cursive writing because it is an art form. There is a little of my soul that flows through the pen onto the paper and I wouldn’t ever want to trade my own JOHN HANCOCK for that of a digital writer’s!

    • Agreed! I am more traditional myself. I find cursive to not only be aesthetically pleasing, but more efficient when it comes to learning. A tangible piece of paper and actual ink holds value personally. More senses are engaged, thus a better source of learning would be to keep pen and ink traditional cursive – right?

      Check out my blog:

    • I’m a high school grad going into college, and my personal handwriting is a print-cursive hybrid. I like parts of cursive, mostly how it’s all connected, because it makes it easier for note taking and things like that. However, I do love decorative and artistic writing. I even have a calligraphy pen I write with on occasion just because I think it looks cool to write in a very aesthetic way. I don’t know any of the technical and scientific reasons cursive is important, but I know personally I love it because I slowly added it into my handwriting for ease and efficiency, as well as a personal touch and uniqueness. Cursive is a great thing to learn because it can add a little unique touch to writing and also lead to a creative outlet for a lot of people, or even lead to an interest in writing just because of the diversity of physical styles you can write in. I hope good old ink and paper stay around for a while. A long while.

    • Hey, I just graduated high school in Germany, where I have lived all my life. I find it difficult and fascinating at once to deal with American handwriting, now that I work in the US. For my German eye, this cursive handwriting is not easy to read. But it’s beautiful. German handwriting is very effective, clean and simple. American handwriting is indivdual, stylish and interesting. And for me challenging, too. The American people go nuts about their flag, their anthem and whatever nationalistic symbol you can find. But I think, the American handwriting is much more a symbol for American culture. A flag doesn’t say a lot. Even though most Americans would probably disagree: at the end of the day, a flag is just a piece of cloth or paper. But handwriting is culture. It always changes, it’s very indidual, and almost everybody has one. Therefore it connects people all across the country in a very subtle way. Most Americans don’t recognize that. I do.

  2. I also think that eliminating cursive can pose problems in the long run. As I watch my children learning it, I watch them integrate fine motor skills that they need. For me and my children, we will still be writing in cursive.

    • Agreed. Me and mine will as well, although my older son (13) prefers printing. He does know how to write in cursive though.

      I think cursive is beautiful. It would be a shame to see it die out. I have noticed depending on a persons age you can tell where they learned to handwrite—women of my Grandmother’s age all have this beautiful, flowing script. My Mom’s is less fancy but still pretty. My own, while pretty, is not quite as nice as theirs. My children haven’t been required to learn, but I am teaching them myself at home.

      • I agree completely.. I get such a thrill when I receive a hand-written letter, or card that is written in cursive. It has so much personality and emotion in it that you just don’t receive in an email, or frankly with fonts. This thought struck me years ago, as I was touched when I received a heart-felt card, but with a cursive message on the side. Much to think about… are we losing emotion and personality with just typing?

        Check out a blog I wrote years ago and others related:

    • I still write letters and have some stationary. I use cursive. I don’t know of anyone else that writes letters, however. After 33 years in the class room, mostly 11th grade, I could not read at lest 25% of the students’ cursive writing. They also invent letters or at least the shape of letters. Printing reduces that problem . Printed text is computer form. That form may as well invade everything else. There is little room for electives any more because of endless drill in core courses for state and federal testing so simple penmanship has no slot to practice. I certainly lament the evaporation of cursive writing but it has no place in the world of communication and data sharing.

      • Carl – I respectfully disagree. While cursive is somewhat obsolete in a world of emails, I don’t believe you can write a love e-mail or a text of condolences. The deepest human feelings just need the little “extra” from handwriting, and the flow of cursive – at least in my opinion – both helps you focus on your thoughts and phrasing them and aids in reaching the proper form and wording.

        Though for the latter you may need another thing that a lot of people feel obsolete nowadays: scratch paper. 😦

      • I still write letters to mom, dad, siblings and friends. I love to write in cursive. Though I have my ipad I write my journal in cursive.I use my ipad to type in, to send emails and sometimes to write notes. I prefer to write in cursive. The flow of thoughts in the form of words – the journey is incredible though it is for a few seconds as the next thought follows. To capture it in cursive writing is the best thing to do. It is irreplaceable. I hope they wont take it off the curriculum. I hope to see my children and grandchildren learning to write in cursive.

    • I agree! Not only are fine motor skills necessary in and of themselves, they are indicators of reading proficiency as well. I agree that later on, children (grown ups) will revert to a style of handwriting all their own (mine is now a combination of print and cursive), but the exercise of learning to write in cursive is incredibly valuable.

    • My grandmother had a type writer with the fingers, not the ball, that had cursive fonts… it was a classic.

      I always write in cursive, never print except for forms. Here’s a question, how do the younger generation sign there name??

  3. yikes- one of the few things I was able to master as a student was “text book” printing and cursive- now they are becoming obsolete? Good thing I work with kindergarteners and they still have to learn to print. 🙂
    On a side note, when I was in Kenya the children were learning to print and do cursive and it was perfect- you could not tell which child did the writing because the standard was to all look “perfect”. Part of the check list for moving up in their school system, age does not determine grade, skill does.

  4. Becky and Renplus,
    Thanks for your comments. Currently we teach cursive at our school in third grade. I’m hoping we can change that and start teaching it in 2nd.

  5. I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. As a professional writer, I would consider myself a lover of the written word — handwritten words are even more powerful! I can’t even imagine the next generation not learning or appreciating this special form of art.

    Sad. 😦

      • because it’s the most important way we have to express our innermost thoughts? Is a diary kept on the computer as personal as one handwritten and locked away in your drawer?

      • Agreed. I’m a writer as well, and while many writers are more at ease writing longhand, plenty of others prefer to type. I think cursive is valuable for fine motor function and an increase of fluency between thought and writing, but I think it’s a mistake to conflate love of handwriting with love of the written word.

  6. I think this is crazy! I heard about this too a few months back and I was not in agreement with it. Our education system has to step up!

  7. When in graduate school I had a fellowship to study Medieval and Renaissance paleography–so this post fascinates me. I have also taught college writing/composition and always insist students write by hand in class–actually forming the letters allows students to connect more tangibly with the texts they create!
    And congrats on Freshly Pressed! This is an important post!

  8. And, how intelligent will we look to the rest of the world if our upcoming generations of future leaders can not sign their name? Or read the Declaration of Independence? The dumbing down of America is dangerous.

  9. I can’t remember the last time I used proper cursive. Anytime I actually write anything on paper now, I always end up using a mix of cursive and printing until it looks like a horrid mess. I’m not sure I can even write proper cursive anymore…how sad is that??

    Great post and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  10. This post fascinates me, as I had a fellowship while in graduate school to study Medieval and Renaissance paleography. When I have taught college writing/composition I always insisted students write by hand–actually forming the letters allows them a more tangible connection with the texts they create.

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed! This is an important post!


    • I never thought of that aspect to cursive writing–writing by hand allowing a more tangible connection with what they are writing. Excellent point!

  11. I love my cursive handwriting! Over the last few months, I too have been lamenting this dying art form. I don’t understand the argument that cursive handwriting is “irrelevant”. I agree with renplus — our children learn fine motor skills through the practice of handwriting. I also work with disabled adults and we stress the importance of having them write their name on a sign-in sheet every morning when they come to work. The process of handwriting accesses several parts of our brain which are essential in developing a variety of motor skills.

  12. Cursive is only relevant to sign your name. Other than that, it’s obsolete. Almost nobody my age (25) or under writes in cursive.

    • I write in cursive almost exclusively, and I’m 24.

      If you write in kiddy print (ahem, that’s what I call it anyway), its because you don’t write a lot at all. There are distinct advantages to using cursive over print — one being, of course, that it is significantly faster once you learn to write in it, and it stesses your hand less.

    • Joshw24 is a good example of the results of dumbing down. He can’t write, how sad is that. Writing will never become obsolete because it’s our highest form of communication.
      Josh, can you read and write?
      Well I can read and print.
      Thank you Josh, next.

    • I don’t know how many of you guys on here have recently taken the SAT, or have kids or family members or friends who have taken it, but there’s a privacy statement where you are agreeing to the terms of the test, and you need to write that in cursive. I was appalled at how many other test takers had trouble writing that paragraph in cursive. EVEN if you don’t use cursive for every little thing you write, you NEED to know it for that one paragraph.
      Besides, my friends and I write letters in cursive. We’re all in high school. I think you’d be surprised how many of us still use cursive.

  13. I sincerely hope that the answer to your question is no, or else I’ve spent the past 12-15 years keeping journals for nothing. I view my journals as my legacy and if nobody can read them, then that would be sad. I don’t understand why children shouldn’t be taught cursive…just because it’s not technological, does that make it any less important? Not everything in life centers on computers. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  14. I have no dog in this race: I’m left-handed, and cursive has been a useless, smear-filled struggle for me since I was a toddler. If it weren’t for block capitals, nothing I wrote would be even vaguely readable.

    • My 7 YO son is left-handed and he is loving writing cursive. I think he sees it almost as a rite of passage. It makes him feel like a big kid and he truly is excited to practice it (which says a lot because he doesn’t like to practice ANYTHING). ~Shauna (Vonn’s Mom, see his post below)

    • I’m left-handed and have very pretty cursive! Cursive to me falls in the same camp as the social skills classes they teach at MIT these days–as we get more digitally streamlined, we’re going to miss out on some important skills unless we make the conscious effort to keep them in our lives. The fluency of language and writing that cursive offers is going to stay relevant, even if handwriting itself is less important than it used to be.

    • Good point!
      Or…perhaps lefties should be taught to write backwards on transparent sheets of paper so the righty-reader can just flip it over–convenient for everyone! 🙂

      • Honestly, I’ve tried that — writing backwards. It surprised the bejeezus out of me when my handwriting instantly looked EXACTLY like the penmanship guides I remember said it should, just mirrored. Seriously — when flipped, my cursive penmanship was immediately perfect.

        This was a big part of what convinced me that the whole thing was arbitrary and stacked against me out of the gate, and that I was not going to put forth effort on something that was stacked against me when there were other more interesting things to learn, like math and music. Though it may cause the downfall of Western civilization, and mark me as slow, disrespectful, and unartistic, this MS in physics who writes her own music and has sold art pieces thinks keyboards rule. 🙂

      • I know I commented on an earlier comment, but I figured I’d add this- my cursive is more legible than my print, just barely, and is really pretty if I slant the page before starting. I’m left handed. Cursive is worthwhile to me.

      • Dear fireandair – You, unknowingly, have done exactly what Leonardo da Vinci did, with his so-called “mirror writing.” In his day, the only pen was a quill, and it worked best when the nib was pulled over the surface of the paper. But as a left-hander, he had to push it, and it spluttered and splattered and offended his sense of aesthetics. Once he began writing backwards, with his left hand, he could pull the nib over the paper and he was able to achieve a clean, legible script, albeit most people had to hold his writing up to a mirror to see it.


  15. A couple of years ago I had this same debate, mostly because I was trying to decide whether to teach cursive to my then 1st grader. She’s very artistic, and at the end of 1st grade she had mastered print and began putting extra curls and swirls all over her printed letters, pretending to write in cursive because she liked that it was fancier. That — plus the fact that she had trouble reading the handwritten cursive notes from her grandparents — was enough for me to decide cursive is still very relevant and very much worth the effort. In our homeschool we used A Reason for Handwriting’s Cursive Transition book for 2nd grade, and now she writes cursive beautifully. I am delighted and surprised by what a blessing the outcome of her hard work is. Cursive is a lovely form of writing. Should every student work extra, extra hard to write perfectly in cursive? No. My own handwriting is usually in print or a hybrid of print and cursive. But should every student at least know how to read cursive? Absolutely!

  16. I use cursive whenever I write by hand, which is many times a day. I barely do any writing digitally. Cursive helps me concentrate and it is fun to use. If they are still teaching it when my six-year-old gets to the proper grade to learn it, I will encourage it wholeheartedly.

  17. Learning to use cursive provides children with one of the best opportunities to concentrate during their primary years. Also, as others have mentioned it does promote the development of fine motor skills.

    It helps any child who will draw or paint as an adult, as a hobby or profession. After the camera was invented, we didn’t stop teaching children to paint and draw. Why end cursive? It’s not that time consuming or expensive to teach.

      • Well actually, far fewer people learn to paint and draw than before photography. It’s one less niche occupied by those skills. I can’t draw to save my life, but can play around with digital graphics pretty well. We’re talking about different skills for different purposes. Cursive is for handwriting where speed is important, nothing else. Shorthand would be more useful for that. Any writing that’s important will be typed up before it’s considered finished. For handwriting just because there’s no computer handy, hand printing serves well enough, and is much easier to learn. If you can scrawl cursively as fast as the words come to you, you’re probably not taking time to think it through before writing.

  18. Thought provoking! I teach 7th grade English. By the time kids get to me, they no longer receive explicit handwriting instruction. I just ask my students to write neatly. Although, truthfully, many of my students could probably benefit from more printing and cursive instruction. Something to think about!*

  19. Actually, while Jefferson wrote out the first draft of the declaration, the scribe/clerk for the Continental Congress Timothy Matlack was the one who actually wrote out the final draft that was signed and is now on display.

    I liked your arguments for handwriting, indeed Matlack’s fine proficiency in English Roundhand, just one type of handwriting, inspired the well-used copperplate fonts for modern digital writing. While most of my novels have been penned using my laptop, the notes for each book and the planning stages have all been done in a rather messy scrawl in a composition book. The main reason is that it is highly satisfying to write the sentences out, and then cross out the ones that don’t make the cut. It is simply part of my own creative process; whether or not the school requires it, my four children all have their notebooks and are encouraged to put down their thoughts by hand, pen to paper.

    As an afterthought, today’s documents might have a bit more meaning and beauty if they were handwritten as elegantly as Matlack was able. In some things, ‘old-fashioned’ is actually better,

  20. Very interesting post. I think children should be taught both and then left to use which ever is more comfortable. My oldest daughter learned cursive but now uses print, unless she is in a rush. When she was younger her handwriting wasn’t very neat and she struggled, but now that she prints it is very pretty.

    On the other hand, my youngest daughter spent first grade in the UK where they teach printing. My daughter was very behind, (we had just come from Chile) and I couldn’t understand why the children in her class were learning to “spell” words correctly when their handwriting was barely readable. When we came back to Chile she started first grade again and here they teach cursive. Her handwriting is very good, and much better than her sister at the same age. I don’t know if it because she learned the letters printing in the UK or because she is older.

    Different countries have different systems. In Chile from first grade the children use specially lined notebooks to practice handwriting, or copy.

    • I’ve seen those notebooks (being Chilean myself) they definitely help when it comes to writing neatly. I agree that they should be taught both and left to choose which they prefer.

  21. I have heard about this before and agree with you. Cursive is an important skill on many levels and it’s a shame that people do not understand it’s intrinsic value. My daughter started learning it in the 3rd grade and I’m impressed with now much more legible her cursive is compared to her printing, mainly because she is required to slow down and properly form her letters. Communication has become so fast paced, that slowing down and carefully crafting your words has almost become a thing of the past, with the exception of those that understand the value in well written document.

    Thank you for taking the time and presenting this issue.


    • It would seem that by involving both the brain and the body in the process of learning, the information is retained much better because of the extra time the hand takes, which more precisely focuses the mind. Writing, especially using cursive, which does flow, seems to more deeply impress information on the brain.

      And this is not just the case with cursive writing. A friend who works with blind students has noticed that those who can read Braille are much more literate than those who rely only on audio input for information. The Braille readers’ spelling and grammar are much better, they write more clearly and concisely, and they are better able to analyze the material they read.

      Digital may be easier, but is it better? Long live cursive!


      • Kathryn,
        That tid bit about Braille readers is interesting. Thank you for sharing. 🙂


  22. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have noticed this trend since high school into college. It is a pity that formal writing assignments are now only being accepted in digital format. These days drafts are usually typed rather than handwritten to be typed. I definitely agree with the above points regarding the ease of forming ideas with handwritten words. I will take a look at the article you mentioned.

  23. Cursive has been antiquated for years. Nobody uses it in their day to day lives except for their signatures. We can’t just stick with it because “It looks pretty”.The people who first saw electricity might have thought “Oh no! What will we do about candles and lamps? They look SO much better than those lightbulbs! What will we do?”

    If you like the art of cursive, learn it on your own time. Kids need to learn what is important, not something that will barely ever be used in life.

  24. I love hand-writing in my journal, and even use a fountain pen whenever possible. It is the feel of the ink gliding onto paper. I truly believe cursive should be taught, even if they abandon it after 3rd or 4th grade. Most schools now require a second language at some point — the ability to write/read cursive is just as important.

  25. You sound like the same people who want to keep teaching Latin. Language changes!!!! and those who want to read archival information can choose to take cursive as an elective.

    It is more important that students learn information literacy, computer programming, physics, and science!!!

    • Cursive is a stepping stone. Learning cursive uses a section of the brain that otherwise would not be utilized (think eye-hand-brain coordination). Just as science and physics (your example) use Latin as a base (again, your example), learning Latin would greatly increase one’s ability to understand the basics of science and our English language. Learning cursive, then, could help students become more fluid in their thoughts and written word–no deleting or spell check. It is the culmination of several skills that make up the person we become.

  26. I’m an elementary school teacher and I’d like to know how many times I get asked “do we have to write in cursive” or I’m told “I can’t read it, it’s in cursive”. I believe in cursive writing. I think it’s a shame that kids are pretty much told it’s not important. It is.

  27. I was taught cursive in Kindergarten, and I honestly hate cursive with a passion. I’m left-handed and my teachers neither knew how to deal with me, nor did they have an ability to comprehend that I didn’t have the motor skills for cursive at the time.

    I think learning to read and write it is a good thing for older children who have the coordination and motor skills, but I think it’s cruel to force children to constantly use it after they’ve learned it if it’s uncomfortable for them. I’ve created my own style that works well for me, in addition to being able to write in different languages’ alphabets, and has been complimented–so I’m not a complete loss.

    I think good instruction is important as well as not forcing people to use only cursive.

  28. I only write in cursive. It annoys all of my teachers, but I prefer it to print. People tell me all the time that I’m the only person they know of that still uses cursive handwriting. Oh well, I won’t stop any time soon.

  29. I still continue to take notes with a pad of paper, a pen, and in cursive. It is true that your idea’s flow more than – for me at least – when typing. I never bring my laptop to class, and if i do it’s with pens and paper. I love mixing the two as well, cursive and print depending on how fast i’m writing. IN my journal i handwrite… I do not agree with those who think it should be extinct. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my junior-K class with the oversized lined notebook and learning how to do the cursive upper/lower case letters of the entire alphabet. I love writing.

  30. I like the Analog-digital clock analogy you made here. They should at the very least teach them how to read cursive for the sake of being historically cultured, but writing is a natural extension of that.

    But everything in curriculums needs its prioritization, and perhaps it’s wiser now to spend MORE time and emphasis on computer literacy skills than handwriting. I remember being graded every year on handwriting in elementary school and sucking at it.

  31. I definitely appreciate cursive writing. I loved learning it as a child because I thought it was something grown-ups did. When I do write now, however, I blend print and cursive. I think I may integrate some calligraphy that I learned in high school. If anything, it helps you have a signature. I’ve seen people print their name for their signature when they make a transaction and I have to do a double-take, like “What? did you just…what?”. In fact, I had a note laying around my house that was written in cursive and my brother-in-law who is ten years younger said he couldn’t quite read it. Again, “What?” I hope cursive is still taught in classrooms when I have my own children. If anything, it’ll be a place where they can’t do something so fast that they’re not really thinking. A place where they can slow down and see what it means to know they have fine motor skills If not, I will teach it to them. I think it’s artistic, creative, personal, and is something that should not be lost.

    • I thought I was the only one out there that blends print and cursive! I actually have caught myself doing it within a single word. Crazy…

      I do live in Indiana and it is a shame to see that our school systems may be dropping cursive. My 13 year old knows how to write in cursive and does so for the most part. His writing is not the most beautiful in the world, but alas, what 13 year old boy has beautiful writing? I really do hope that they don’t let penmanship and cursive go by the wayside. There is definitely something to be said for the fine motor skills it helps with. My son is an aspie and I know it takes some concentration to write in cursive. He is very deliberate in what he writes. Nothing superfluous and nothing he doesn’t mean to say gets written.

  32. My school system is one of the top in my state, and within the past couple of years, they got rid of cursive for the same reasons you mentioned. But you know– I see the pros and the cons to this situation. I see the cons as you do (how it will effect learning abilities, children should still learn it and use it if they feel they need too, etc etc) but when I look at the pros of getting rid of cursive,
    I think back to my own personal experiences. I started learning cursive well before anyone else in my class. I had work books starting 1st or 2nd grade that I practiced in (because I loved workbooks for whatever reason) so that by the time 3rd grade rolled around, I pretty much was set and ready to go before they even started teaching cursive. However, I was the rare exception. Many of my classmates struggled with cursive A LOT and with the size of my class, it was nearly impossible for everyone to get the practice they needed and the attention they needed. I’m pretty sure 3rd grade is where they teach it and leave it there and expect children to know it for life. Afterwards, I remember being forced to do EVERY writing piece in cursive, from about 5th grade through 10th grade. Even though I was good at it, I dreaded it. My print was much better, much faster, and I personally had an easier time putting my thoughts on paper in print because I wasn’t worried about screwing up how I was writing something in cursive (it was a secondary form of writing for me and therefore awkward and foreign, regardless of how good I was at it.)
    By the time 10th-11th grade rolled around, all the teachers wanted everything in digital format, because a) it was easier, more time efficient, understandable, and more versatile for both the student and teacher, b) allowed for better literary editing and better understanding of the corrections made, and c) connected with the changes the world was making. In my opinion, all of this allowed for better literary progress, understanding, and development. Understanding what you’re writing and why you are writing it because you can go back and edit edit edit, is more important than the hassles of cursive.
    Now in my college classes, I have pretty much reverted to a sloppy print-cursive mixture because I am rushed to write down notes. If I had as much time to write notes in class as I wanted, it was be typed or a neat print because I (like most students) understand that best. Even as I type this I know that if it was in cursive instead, I would not be able to change many things I wrote and it would be far from cohesive and understandable.

    That’s just my 2 (very long) cents! Fabulous article you wrote and is something that I have been thinking about lately too! 🙂

  33. From a totally different perspective, I’m probably a stereotypable 20-something guy in the ways that I have trouble making meaningful relationships with girls. I wrote a note in cursive to a girl a few weeks ago and mailed it to her. In an unusual turn of events (for me), she seemed to genuinely appreciate it. Cursive beats out the facebook in this case.

  34. Pingback: Is Cursive Obsolete? (via Seconds) « Earth Calling Lisa

  35. Later down the road, how will the children sign their names when applying for loans? They will need to learn how to write cursive. When I learned, I was fascinated and practiced until my handwriting was perfect. Since I began typing up everything, I’ve seen my writing atrophy in handwriting. I even began misspelling some basic words. Now, I’m retraining myself on how to write.

  36. Its such a beautiful form of writing but sadly the world is heading digital… most kids write in print in their jotters once they stop being forced to join anyways…

  37. Really interesting post, I agree with you completely. Sometimes it’s not the actual cursive that is important, it’s the skills you are unknowingly gaining while learning the cursive writing.

  38. Thank you for the work you do and all other teachers that care about our kids. I have a granddaughter entering third grade. One of her most anticipated activities is learning cursive. She already reads anything, uses a keyboard with programs, shows indications of promising artistic talent, and writes stories into her personal journal every day. She told me that cursive would be awesome because it was a combination of sharing ideas in English and Art. As others have mentioned, the development of find motor skills is mandatory in hundreds of life activities. Our society needs to keep in mind that fine motor skills is one of the major differences between humans and all other mammals. It is incomprehensible to purposefully shrink that difference! How can parents help to keep cursive in the schools?

  39. I absolutely adore cursive & I’m so grateful to have learnt it. It would be a real pity if this beautiful form of writing dies out. My journals are filled with cursive. Just typing doesn’t do it for me.

    By the way your penmenship is gorgeous.

  40. I think its essential to learn cursive early on. Its like learning to write letters in school. We don’t yet ask them to begin practicing emails initially although that’s what they will end up doing.
    Cursive helps kids write tidy. Although it might start of as squiggly, the eventual grace that cursive demands will later transcend into block printing as well.

  41. I had not heard about schools doing away with teaching cursive, but I am appalled that they would consider such a thing. Two of my kids have learned how to print and one should be learning cursive this year; I get quite a bit of correspondence that’s written in cursive and when I show it to my kids, they insist they can’t read it because they haven’t yet learned cursive. I feel that it is an important skill for them to have, along with the skill to properly write a letter, which apparently very few college students even know how to do anymore.

    As a writer, I love words and feel very connected to them. I have several friends who also write, but I am the only one I know who still prefers to put pencil to paper in my efforts to tell a story. It’s more personal that way and there’s nothing quite like reviewing a handwritten manuscript. The day they stop teaching kids how to write in school will be a very sad day indeed.

  42. I think cursive writing is cool and I’m learning it at 7 because I like it a lot. Good blog post. -Vonn (

  43. my nephew has had a special typewriter at school since he was in elementary because his hand writing was so bad … so how is that supposed to help?

  44. As a physician, I lived up to the stereotype of unreadable “cursive” while my artistic sister writes with the most beautiful cursive script. I am happy that I have both print, cursive and digital in my expressive “toolbox” thanks to an excellent private school education. My parents opted out of the public school system early which is why I hit the “lottery of great parents”.

  45. Congrats!!! You were freshly pressed!! And, I also think cursive is an important skill to learn.

  46. This is my 3rd attempt at writing a comment, but I will try one more time! 🙂 I use cursive daily–in my “to do” lists, when journaling, handwriting friends notes, post-its, everything. It saddens me to think that generations to come might not have the opportunity to learn something our forefathers/mothers have used for centuries.

    Cursive has inherent personality to each writer, whereas text is standardized. Both are important, but I hope that other schools choose to continue teaching cursive, even if as an art, because it is valuable.

  47. As a fellow word nerd, I’m with this crowd. The written word is a beautiful thing. There’s something to be said for being able to sit down and create something in a script that is uniquely you rather than the ice cold words on a monitor. I still have letters written by old beaus and friends and relatives who have passed away. Those letters are a living memento of those moments, those people, and my life as a collected narrative. I can see my grandmother’s curly “q” or recognize the blocky “A” of the man I nearly married. To give that up in favor of keyboarding just seems to be limiting students; teachers can’t give up on something as fundamental as this!

  48. It would be a pretty unintelligent decision to eliminate cursive.
    Change is good. But not always and not those which are unnecessary.

  49. I type so much I hardly think about whether I I write in print or in cursive. But looking at a few pages of notes in my calendar, I see that I actually write in an odd combination of a print/cursive mix. Some words are in cursive and others in print within the same thought. I even see a few times where a single word is mixed between the two. I wonder how common that it. I attribute it to not having to handwrite anything since middle school.

  50. I find it difficult to grasp the concept of eliminating cursive writing. As a writer, I often type my stories because, yes, it is faster and easier to edit. However, there are still days where I have that distinct urge to just grab a notebook and write. That’s a sensation that people should be able to feel. We should not lose it.

  51. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! You definitely deserve it. I read about the phasing out of cursive recently and I couldn’t believe it. It’s very sad. I agree that it is similar to not teaching children how to read an analog clock. I also think that it is good for hand-eye coordination and for retaining information, like lecture notes. Thanks again for a great post!

  52. I eliminated – or rather “merged” – cursive on my own when I was in junior high well over twenty years ago. This greatly annoyed my teachers and got me a little trouble, but I refused to budge. Eventually the teachers who pushed me to continue using cursive gave up, and by the time I went to high school, not a single teacher made any comment about my lack of standard cursive – or the lack of cursive among many students.

    My handwriting is a mixture of my own personality/script and that which I saw of my mother and father’s writing when I was younger. I suspect that for some – if not many – the same holds true if they were to compare their handwriting to that of their parents. My father wrote strictly print, often all capitals or with a very mild inclusion of cursive. His writing is tight and untidy, small and masculine. My mother writes in cursive but there is an element of print in it. Her writing is tight, yet clean, feminine but not overly so. My handwriting is a mixture of cursive and print and get’s smaller and more printed the more time I take to write. It gets larger and sloppier the faster I write and less truly printed, but it does not become “cursive” either.

    I have on occasion tried to write in cursive, and other than a few capital letters, I remember my cursive. However, it’s a pain for me to write in strict cursive and it looks absolutely childish. It looks about the same as my cursive did when I was in elementary school… which isn’t surprising since I gave it up around seventh grade!

    I still write handwritten letters on occasion, along with the normal notes and such one writes on a daily basis. I type a lot more now than I used to as a younger person.

    If it doesn’t take too much effort for the elementary teacher to teach cursive, then let the schools determine if they should keep it – or ask the parents.

    When I was in high school, from what I recall, I saw few if any boys who wrote in cursive, while virtually every girl wrote in cursive, most with grand curves and loops – ubergirly.

    Cursive isn’t that hard to teach. It’s just a matter of practice and repetition. Much like riding a bicycle, you really don’t forget it, it seems.

  53. I remember learning cursive in second grade. Granted, it seems like nowadays it is a skill that does not get used very often by people in my generation. However, I do still think kids should learn it; if only to learn how to do their signature, which they need to do to sign all the forms and things they need to when they get older. A signature to me should not be just a scribble. I do agree with the motor skills point, and I think it helps kids with their printing too. Great job on being Freshly Pressed!

  54. I hate to see this art form go away. I remember back to the days when I was learning cursive in grade school. This is going away since most people communicate online either with a home PC, Laptop, Smartphones and IPads etc.

  55. Great post! I was just having this conversation the other day. I’m sad to see that a lot my fellow students in college have to ask, “What letter is that?” Granted I’m 10 years older than most of them. I remember Sister Patricia smacking my had and correcting the way I held my pencil during the class session. It paid off in high school as other students would recruit me to write their letters for them. I will be teaching my child cursive because I think it’s a very important skill.

  56. Very thoughtful post! It appears that cursive might become rare, if not obsolete, but I do hope it sticks around. I have lost much of my knack for writing in cursive over the years, but I always admire those with lovely penmanship. It is truly an art-form.
    Educators are probably right to spend less time on cursive handwriting than they would have a generation ago. After all, there just seems to be so much to learn, so quickly these days. It’s like Latin, beneficial to know it and understand its roots in our language today, but many schools have stopped teaching it simply because demand for other languages or ‘elective’ courses forced Latin to the back of the line.
    The comment on analog watches made me think, will we also stop teaching Roman Numerals? How will we ever tell when a movie was made?

  57. I think cursive is beautiful and should be taught! Typing, too! Can’t we learn more than 1 thing! How about being bi-lingual like most of the rest of the world!

  58. I’m left-handed and mainly write in cursive. Many people comment on how pretty it looks. I too enjoy the hand-written word and have a goal to master calligraphy. Hand writing is a form of art. I believe it also is important for developing fine motor skills. It’s good for us to make ourselves learn something new. Yes it is difficult at first but I’m glad my curriculum “made” me learn it. I learned typing in high school on an electric typewriter. But I didn’t have access to a computer at home. I’m now one of the top people in our company that understand computer and many programs. I can keep up with speakers during meetings. But children today will be able to pick up typing as a natural skill like learning to talk. They will not need extra classes. So cursive deserves its place.

  59. We all do what’s easiest for us–fair enough, right? As a writing teacher, I usually find it much easier to write on the board in cursive. Occasionally a student will say he or she cannot understand. I will take a second look at my scrawl to make sure it is legible, fix a letter or two, and then leave it that way. If people are adaptable enough to learn text messaging terms and, in other countries, grow up speaking three or four languages (Morocco), why not at least be able to read both cursive and print?

  60. The art of hand written letters and invitations is diminishing sadly. I am disappointed when I get digitally created Thank Yous, etc for personal gifts. I would rather receive a hard to read letter written in cursive than something typed or block written. It seems so much more personal.

    Yes, I think that cursive writing should still be taught.

    Congrats on the Freshly Pressed.

  61. Pingback: Is Cursive Obsolete? (via Seconds) | Odds 'N Ends

  62. Thank you for this post. I homeschooled my daughter, and, although she did not learn cursive in the formal manner in which I learned it from Catholic school nuns in the 1960s, she enjoyed being initiated into the mystery and intensity of the art. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to fall in love with loops and swirls. Since the advent of mass production, we don’t *have* to knit our own clothes anymore, but we still do. Since the invention of the camera, we don’t *have* to paint portraits, but we still do. Cursive writing is a beautiful piece of human behavior. I’m glad its part of your pupils’ lives.

    • These sorts of ridiculous decisions are one of the reasons that I,too, chose to homeschool my daughter. Learning cursive is much more than just learning a method of communication. There are underlying skills that will be lost if the public schools quit teaching it. It wouldn’t suprise me, though. Most public schools are all about teaching to the tests… (even though our homeschooled kids aren’t taught that way and consistantly score higher on standardized tests…but that’s a post for another day) My daughter is 13 and I have her hand-write thank you notes and letters to family and friends… it is so much more of a “personal” way to reach out to someone, and it is truly appreciated by those who receive these notes. I believe our technology is wonderful, and yet I think we’ve really lost some social kindnesses along with it.

  63. Being able to write is much more than communcating or copying notes or something. Its a part of our subconcious mind, Its a part of our identity….

  64. Wow, what a thought provoking entry. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you and congrats on freshly pressed. I think cursive writing should always be taught and when I was in college I used to sometimes take notes in cursive, just for a nice change. How will anyone know how to sign their name on important documents or for their credit card?

  65. This is just sad. I can’t believe cursive is not required to be taught! I learned it in preschool, and I still simply love writing with it. It is a beautiful and unique form of writing, much unlike this mediocre type.

  66. I’m actually glad to see cursive writing being phased out of children’s education. In high school, I tutored kids after school at our local Boys & Girls Club and I was astounded at how second and third graders struggled with their math and reading skills. I can see how schools might be reluctant to teach children two styles of writing when they can barely grasp reading and multiplication.

    Another factor you have to consider is that computer classes (typing skills, searching the Internet safely, etc) are often considered the replacement of cursive instruction because of the two of them, computer skills are more relevant. I say that as long as kids can print well enough to read and express their thoughts to teachers, let’s work on bringing all of the other more necessary skills up to par. Cursive can always be a side interest of the students who WANT to learn it and find it helpful in their writing, much like a foreign language might be.

  67. First off, congrats on freshly pressed! Secondly, as someone of the “new generation” of texting and growing up with typing and computers (I’m 21) I still write in cursive. It’s definitely a rarity in people my age, but mostly because schools in my area stopped requiring cursive work in middle school. I get constant compliments on my handwritten notes when I pass them on to classmates and think that from an adult standpoint there’s still a place for cursive.

    As someone who’s worked in childcare and early childhood education in the past, I can see how helpful cursive is to young writers. From developing motor skills to increasing fluidity and enabling easier flow in writing for young students. I definitely think it would be a big mistake to eliminate cursive from the curriculum.

  68. As a letter writer, I can’t imagine the repercussions of this idiotic idea. I receive thank you’s over and over for mailing handwritten notes and letters (particularly to elderly folks); oftentimes, it’s the only “human” contact they have. Something very wrong is happening here. I hope people’s eyeballs and attention aren’t glued to their “devices” so intently that this comes to pass.

    Thanks for speaking out — and for being Freshly Pressed!

  69. The fact that it ever came to discussion is a shame itself. Technology is just a way to do things, not the only way. What about when eletronic devices are not available, will people be unable to comunicate by writing? I honestly can’t imagine parents supporting it!

  70. I’m not too filled in with news, or how things are in the school system now. Cursive has been obsolete (or along those lines) for a long time. I was one of the fews in most of my classes (middle school, high school, and college) who wrote in cursive. I’m originally from Dominican Republic where you are taught cursive (there’s no such thing as choice), and seldom do kids (or even adults for that matter) type in print. Print seems to be the norm in the US — and it really sucks, because it all looks the same. There is no sense of identity. Everyone I’ve been around writes circly, bubbly-printed letters :-/
    To quote Becky :”Part of the check list for moving up in their school system, age does not determine grade, skill does.” << It doesn't seem to be that way here. There are a lot of flaws with the American school system when compared to foreign school systems…
    Anyways, cursive should be kept but I'm afraid we are a tad too late.

  71. Wonderful post! Not only do I love to write in cursive, I have a fountain pen (several, actually) and I love the feel of the nib on the paper. My mom worked many hours to get me to write in legible cursive. It is not only a fine motor skill, but it takes some time and effort (no “del” key!), and so ideas must be processed at a slower pace – so, not only a fine motor skill, but also a fine creative and processing skill. Long live cursive writing!

  72. You say that “the purposeful formation of letters has to have some intrinsic value”, but does printing lack purpose? I was taught cursive in second grade, hated it, and only used it when I had to, dropping it entirely in fifth grade. Now, although I can still decipher it, it was a struggle to recall how to write in it when I had to copy a statement on the SAT, and the rest of my test room was in the same boat. Yes, cursive can be beautiful, but that doesn’t make it a necessary skill. Honestly, I understand where you’re coming from, I really do, but I think it’s just nostalgia talking. I often wish people still wrote letters and tire of ceaseless digital exchanges getting labeled as legitimate interaction when in fact they are a poor substitute for actual human contact. However, the sad fact is that our schools are struggling deeply, and we need to have our priorities straight in order to react with grace. If our kids had all the time in the world, cursive would be a fine skill to learn. But when 25% of American students can’t even pass a simple geography test, eliminating cursive is an intelligent and necessary move.

  73. Honestly, my handwriting has turned into a mixture between cursive and printing. But as a writer, I find that knowing cursive REALLY helps me get my thoughts down quickly. I learned it about 17 years ago in elementary school, and it’s been a Godsend. And I think it’s prettier, anyway. It’s a shame that we’re eliminating it in so many schools.

  74. Also, I’ve never seen WordPress Freshly Press a post from weeks ago. You must’ve stuck in someone’s mind! Congrats 🙂

  75. My husband is from the Netherlands. When he was in school, printing was never taught. He learned cursive from the very beginning. Children were taught to recognize printed letters so that they could read of course. The interesting thing is that at some point, he taught himself to print and now never uses cursive.

  76. The article you cite is about the benefits of handwriting, not writing in cursive. It is the act of writing things by hand (in printed letter, cursive, even Chinese) that stimulates the brain. Personally, I don’t find it important or relevant any more. We have to remember that it’s now *optional* for schools, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re removing all the cursive lessons…

  77. I think the days of pen and paper are on their way out (unfortunately). Pretty soon our youth will be carrying around iPads and a stylus for their note-taking and all of their books will be on the device.

    We are inching closer and closer to a paperless society and I don’t think that is such a good thing…


  78. I learned cursive in third grade, at a time when computers were just starting to take over “task doing” so to speak. I can even remember my teacher at the time saying if you don’t do your high school/college papers in cursive, you’ll automatically fail. Yeah, right, which is why now teachers require 12, Times New Roman, double-space for everything!

  79. Thanks for taking the time to post on this subject. As a former 2nd/3rd grade teacher I am in total agreement with you. I have taught many students with handwriting issues that found success with cursive. We shouldn’t be so bold as to assert what children will or will not need in the future. Education shouldn’t be a straight path to a certain end. It should meander down many paths giving children a choice in what their future should look like. Besides, isn’t handwriting is a beautiful extension of personality?

  80. Hello,

    In my humble opinion, there is more to good communication than simply the words we used. I remember getting letters from my college girlfriend in the summertime when we were apart a long time ago and the penmanship mattered a great deal. Evolution cycles back and forth on many things, and while we have made great leaps forward technologically enabling people to be more verbose, I feel we are actually being less expressive. It is not just the politician who are saying less with more words.

  81. I love cursive and anything I write is in cursive. It’s faster than print, it looks better and it flows so nicely. I can’t believe it may become obsolete…how sad.

  82. My handwriting is far from perfect. My grandmother chides me about it all the time (she’s a former teacher and advocate of cursive), but I could never get my tiny letters to look textbook. And I didn’t really want to. Handwriting is a way to express personality, even if it’s an unintentional outlet. That’s why I use it for personal writing still. I’m proud of the fact that I can still write in cursive, regardless of the scraggly letters most people need a microscope to read. It is rather unfortunate that it’s being edged out.

  83. I admit that I hardly use cursive, but it still has an essential place in our society. Many of my students are unable to sign their names. How is this next generation going to confirm signatures if they, for example, work in a bank?

  84. They are not thinking strait for saying that, this is very important for all o us and I think that it should stay with us for a little longer…

  85. In my opinion, if we are going to teach cursive, then the students cannot learn it once and be expected to remember it for the rest of their lives. We must nurture the skills of cursive. If they are not nurtured, they won’t be remembered. What is the point in teaching something that will never be remembered? Either continue to teach it after 4th or 5th grade, or drop it from the curriculum.

    • Your post brings up a point I’ve never thought about. Since cursive is taught between second and fourth grade, most pupils have another eight to twelve+ years of classes that require written communication. To me, cursive quickly became a part of my thinking process – I doodled as I thought! It wasn’t memorization at all, but as natural as speech. I learned Gregg Shorthand in high school. Thankfully, that skill allowed me to earn more money for years – until the personal computer, which helped even more!

  86. Next thing we know they will burn the books on calligraphy and then where would we be when wedding seasons come around? lol. People are ridiculous, but I am serious about the need for cursive and handwritten skills. It really is beautiful when people are good at it not to mention I miss a real hand written letter from time to time… need to bust out the stationary!

  87. I learned cursive in school, dropped it for several years, and retaught it to myself. I like my cursive much better than my printing. I feel like my writing has identity now, like a fingerprint. Plus, I think it’s important to be able to write quickly and competently without having to rely on electricity or stare at a screen.
    The “obsoloete” thing about cursive is the notion that it has to be, as you said, all flowery and perfect like the writing they used in 1776. Everyone has their own style of penmanship, and that’s the point of something being hand-written. If we all wrote in exactly the same way, it’s no longer our own, it’s no longer personal, and we might as well be typing.

  88. My mother had me writing cursive the year before I attend kindergarten and I must say having it removed from core curriculum will not have any beneficial long term development. Parents, urge your schools to keep it in and let your children learn the beautiful tradition of cursive writing.

  89. As a software engineer I am surrounded by standard text all day long, a condition that has gone on for over 30 years now. So I am already at the point where it is difficult for me to read cursive. My wife writes beautifully in cursive, but I have to stare at it for ages to derive words and meaning from it. It has become a slow and painful process for me, as reading cursive, like everything else, needs to be exercised in order to remain proficient.

    My mother-in-law is German and grew up writing in the cursive script they used in Germany before the war. They no longer teach it and unless you learned it in school, it might as well be written in another language. I don’t think English cursive writing will become that opaque to us, the script to which I refer used nearly a different character set, but more and more people will end up like me, able to read what Hallmark put on the greeting card, but unable to decipher the personal message written below.

  90. I think it’s just the act of learning. Technology does most the work for us. Granted it took some smarts to tell the technology what needs to happen and how, but we wouldn’t have made these advances if people didn’t ask questions then get to work finding the answers. They had to learn first; learn the principles of math; learn the theories in electronics; learn the scientific method and how to research and test! Cursive, like reading an analog clock, to me is just another part of learning. We at least owe it to future generations to keep some basics around so they’re practiced at practicing, at working to obtain something.
    I’m done ranting now. Great post. Important questions!

  91. My mom still reminds me when I received a penmanship award in 4th grade. “What’s happened”, she says. It’s pretty sorry now. I sometimes can’t even read it myself. Very proud that my kids are learning (and improving) their written skills with much kudos to their teacher, my wife.

  92. There are valid points in both your article as well as some of the comments to your post, but ultimately I think that the answer to you post’s title is yes, cursive is obsolete. There is so much work being done on computers that almost nothing is even handwritten anymore. I don’t even remember how to make many of the cursive letters anymore, and the only time that I write anything in cursive anymore is when I sign a check. For most people this isn’t even needed because we have direct deposit for our paychecks and most people just use debit or credit cards to pay for everything. I can still read cursive when I see it, but I don’t think I’ve consistently written in cursive since I was last required to in I think 5th grade.

  93. I remember “cursing” cursive in junior high. A teacher made me stick to it though and I continue to use cursive every single day. I plan on making sure my kids use it every day too. Let’s hope it never disappears.

  94. I find this sad. The artistic stylings of one’s own personal handwriting will be flushed down the toilet, once again in favor of digital formats. The new generations will no longer be able to sign their names in various crazy ways much like John Hancock.

  95. My parents were both teachers. The small motor skills achieved by practicing the control of proper cursive was not only taught for conveyance of information; but it was an art form also. My dad taught business subjects in high school and shorthand was one of the subjects. He left notes to himself on the kitchen counter that were so beautiful, yet a mystery as to what they said. Mom taught 3rd & 4th grade and would comment on the consistency of a page in well executed cursive. I appreciate the enlightenment you have given me today on the possibility of losing this communication technique. I believe I’ll go write a snail mail letter to my kids and you know what? They will delight in receiving a hand-written note from me along with all their bills.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  96. I learned cursive in school but never use it anymore. My writing is more like a cross between printing and cursive- very sloppy. Nearly everything I “write” is actually typed. So I think in that regard, cursive is sort of obsolete. But maybe the other “lessons” learning cursive teaches are not obsolete. Is there some other way we could have this brain stimulation while learning something students actually will use?

  97. If you believe anything regarding graphology [handwriting analysis], people who write in cursive are shown to have better relationships on average, than this is sort of a scary revelation.

  98. I love being able to write cursive. It’s elegant and beautiful and it’s a well worth it skill to have. It adds a bit of professionalism to your notes and even though many of us print, I think it’s nice to have the option of being able to write cursive, so that we don’t all look like we’re in grade 3.

  99. In my family it has always been a firm belief that young adults, and adults alike, who cannot write in cursive hand have been either lazy in school or poorly educated- or both.
    I’m 19, and where I come from cursive is taught (by the way of the wooden ruler across the knuckles) right from the beginning. I refuse to believe that good handwriting will be a thing of the past because it’s such a personal skill and tells so much about the writer. Letters written in cursive are just that much more intimate.
    Or maybe I’m just an old-fashioned romantic clinging to old ideals. Who knows.

  100. Wow! I do not believe they should stop teaching cursive writing. I believe it helps students have diversity. I do believe they should have a choice whether to write in cursive or print

  101. As a student and one the loves to read and write, I agree completely with the author. I have found the cursive has helped me in many ways. Most of my teachers Write on the bord in cursive and some kids will ask me what it says and i think, Honestly it is sad to think that some kids can’t read one simple word in cursive. In my school it is not demanded we know cursive, but I know it helps me.

  102. How about teaching cursive writing with a stylus on the tablet. Then when you have to sign your name for a credit card transaction the writing will not look like you are on something.

  103. Hi, I was looking at my Watermans fountain pen as I was reading your blog. What you say is worthy of consideration. You’d get the impression that the people who voted for this are part of the ‘playstation community’. I’ve always thought that ‘penning’ something down made us realise what we were thinking. Keep shouting oh comrade!

  104. You pose no real argument. You’ve simply said that it’s important because it “forms connections” and students learn “other things” while learning and writing cursive. Be more specific! What does a student learn while writing cursive?

    Currently, I disagree with you. But I’m open-minded and ready to be persuaded. I know there are studies, but I don’t have access to those studies. What did they say? Again…be specific.

  105. I don’t think cursive will ever be obsolete. I’m a university student at the moment. All of my classmates know that writing aids us in memorizing the information we need to know, and the professors also like us to write on paper when it comes to exams. Cursive is more like a part of human civilization; it has its own purposes and meanings. It can never be replaced by typing.

  106. As an avid journal keeper for my entire life, writing out thoughts is a form of expression. Cursive tends to get me though when my entries get long as there is significantly less lifting of the pen. Printing and cursive are both still very important, especially seeing as how computers are a luxury item and still at the mercy of power-outages, hardware failure, etc. Perhaps with the advent and widespread use of computers cursive may not be as everyday useful as it once was, but penmanship is still an indication to me of a well-rounded education. I’m sad to see it going to way of calligraphy.

  107. I enjoy writing in cursive and use it for most all of my personal notes and journal-ing and for most letters as well. I believe it has an interesting aesthetic and it feels nice and fluid. However, sometimes I wonder if it isn’t selfish of me to use cursive when others may need to read my handwriting. It seems that even though cursive was taught to all my peers when they were in grade school (I am 26), most of them have trouble reading my handwriting, and I don’t think it’s because my handwriting is necessarily poor, because the ones that regularly use cursive seem to have no trouble reading my cursive.
    In many cultures where latin-based languages are spoken (and for Russia), whether someone writes in print or cursive is a sheer indicator of their level of education; a person only writes in print if they never stayed in school long enough to learn cursive. Perhaps it would help remove part of a class barrier if we all wrote in print.
    Regardless, if I had my say, school children would still be required to learn cursive. It just looks more enticing!

    • Oh and my point about non-cursive users (who were, however, taught at some point) having trouble reading cursive was that maybe reading and writing cursive is a skill that must be practiced in order to be retained and that perhaps our educators are wasting their time teaching students to write cursive when it isn’t used past 5th grade.

  108. While we want children to be computer literate, one typewriting class is certainly enough. What happens when the power goes down? Will our children not know how to write? What if one generation writes their wills and family history in cursive, will the next generation not be able to decipher it? Teaching cursive in schools is certainly one of the most important things for cognitive/creative thinking skills in my opinion. Thanks for writing this blog…I hope this does not become an obsolete teaching.

  109. Thanks for your post and you are so right that cursive is a great debate. I am a educator who whole heartedly believes in teaching cursive. Like you, I believe having students learn cursive helps fine motor skills, retaining information and helps students learn to spell. I have taught fourth grade for the past five years and have taught cursive each year. Most of my students enjoyed learning and were excited to practice it. Will their cursive writing continue as they get older? Probably not, but at least they were taught and learned many other skills along with the lessons.
    Great post.

  110. The English language is already so abstract that to further alienate the developing child from Its physical relationship to its environment is a crime. Hand crafts may go some way towards tactile integration and holistic experience but it is not language. Language must be somehow related to physical reality and personality to properly integrate the developing child.

  111. Great post! I have 3 teens and not one of them uses cursive. My youngest taught herself to type in 4th grade so her papers looked more proffesional and she could use spell check. Oh and for the record, my 2 younger ones refuse to read an analogue clock too.

  112. I wonder if someday handwriting altogether will be obsolete. Maybe we’ll type everything. Can you imagine how horribly dry that would make letters?

  113. I disagree. I think cursive is falling victim to supply and demand: so few people can produce it well, and there are easier, quicker, cheaper alternatives, there is a low supply and an even lower demand. While I do think that learning cursive is an activity that will stimulate children’s brains, I don’t think it should be a priority, especially since learning any new skill can be equally as stimulating. I would like to see more time dedicated to mathematics and reading skills, since those are skills that students will absolutely need.
    Personally, I found writing in cursive to be time-consuming and I felt like it made my writing less intuitive, and while that may not be true for every student, I don’t think that teaching a student cursive is going to make him or her a better writer.
    I think the difference between cursive and telling time on an analog clock is that cursive is not required anywhere past grade school- it has been taught inconsistently for so long that cursive cannot compete with the uniformity created by a computer (the problem there being teachers and grading standards, not cursive itself). Analog clocks are like manual transmission; they are less common than their simpler alternatives, but on occasion they are the only option available. It makes more sense to continue teaching those skills because they may be necessary, while cursive will probably never be necessary again.

  114. To be honest, I have not written in cursive since I was in the eighth grade. Cursive is a beautiful form through which many personality traits may be observed. I believe that it should be taught because sometimes an email is just insufficient.

  115. Cursive writing is an art form. No two hands area alike, even lefties can do it (sorry fireandair, I’ve seen some lovely script by lefties). It will be another skill our children will miss.

  116. Congratulations on being freshly pressed. I hope calligraphy never makes to ‘Top 10 Things Today’s Kids Will Never Experience’.

  117. As a calligrapher, I’m firmly in favor of keeping around as many different ways of writing as possible. Each one has its place to shine. Great post! Live the cursive dream!!

  118. I just spoke about this with my brother!

    I like your analogy to learning about telling time. It makes me wonder how far away we are from teaching basic math skills using only a calculator. Children need hands-on learning to really integrate the material. This is one reason I love Waldorf education.

  119. Try reading historical letters or other documents written in cursive if you’ve never learned cursive yourself! It’s currently the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and there are lots of letters out there that students would find fascinating – if they could read them.

  120. This is a really interesting scenario I hadn’t considered before, but I can see how one day cursive may be perceived as having an old-fashioned, almost fussy, elegance.

  121. In school, our teachers prefer for us to not write in cursive, because it changes from writer to writer. I think that penmanship in general will be irrelevant in a couple of years. We use laptops for everything. Even as a writer, cursive has not helped me.

  122. I am young, but love journaling in cursive with a fountain pen. I want my kids to see my own handwriting. It is also more powerful to see someone’s painstaking, handwritten note than a printed letter, or email. I am in favor of keeping cursive!

  123. I’ve honestly thought in the more recent years, even up until 5 minutes ago, that teaching cursive in elementary school is a waste of precious curriculum time, time that could be used for real knowledge and practice. I mean, from where I stand as a high school educator, they mainly type and when they do right in cursive it’s illegible. Moreover, I’ve come to the conclusion that the end result is not a 21st century skill that is required. HOWEVER, upon reading your thoughts, I am seeing the value and rethinking my perspective, moving from being on the lose it side of the fence, to straddling the fence and saying, let it be part of the elective or extra activities, something fun to learn and do in class, but not a part of the grading process. Thanks for the fresh outlook.

  124. I think it’s sad that the powers that be have taken it upon themselves to devalue a skill that clearly deserves a place in everyone’s curriculum (Geez Louise, how will future generations “sign” paychecks properly?!).

    That said, I have 10-year-old twins who desperately want to learn “…how to write like you, Mom,” both of whom are counting on me to teach them this summer since it’s long been removed from their school’s academic program (i.e. I think it used to be taught in 2nd or 3rd grade). At any rate, I agree with your view on the notion of fluidity and whatnot, and I can certainly identify with your frustration. In fact, I’ll mention a similar frustration with the Department of Education in a post next week (at entitled: “The Remains of Summer.” I hope you find time to drop by and read it. 😀

  125. I am not sure if I see the difference between cursive and plain handwriting (and I can’t imagine being unable to write by hand, that sounds like a handicap). Cursive is nothing, after all, but writing adapted to the human hand… so you don’t have to take your pen on and off the paper for every letter, as you would if you made the effort to write in “print”. I mean, it’s definitely one big extra effort for the human hand to use printing versus cursive.

    Why do they want to make things even harder than they already are? In France we’re learning cursive in first grade, and in second grade it’s small cursive for everyone (ie same as you’ll still be writing when you’re at university: the longer you practice, the easier it gets). They don’t even bother with printing because that’s just one extra bother and a waste of time. Only illustrators and such need to know how to draw print (’cause that’s an art, right, to be able to write like a computer?).

  126. You admit in your article that handwriting is a private activity for you. But you want to encourage curriculum time for it?

    Hey, paper making, or constructing quill pens is also really cool, an art form, and once you’ve done it, you’ll enjoy doing it for life. One of my hobbies is bookbinding. My dad learned that in school as part of the curriculum. Let’s bring that back too. And Latin, definitely Latin.

    Teaching children to use the appropriate tool for the job will always be the best approach. If typing at 90wpm only takes a couple of weeks to learn – that’s awesome, because the rest of the year spent not wasting time learning to make marks that form readable words at 30wpm can be spent learning how to communicate more effectively using the extra 60.

    If handwriting isn’t the most appropriate tool for your everyday written communication, then foisting on your students is curriculum by nostalgia. We learned it, so should they. Its sadly a common tendency in education. And it means the countries that do push for universal access to tech in schools will continue to expand the rather hefty educational gap they’ve already got.

    • Incidentally, I realise that one’s first comment on a blog is probably better if not quite so ascerbic. Please take it in the interest of a healthy debate on the issue, I do appreciate your blog. This is just my pet peeve.

  127. I grew up in Central Europe, Hungary to be exact… where kids never even learn to print. Yes, we learn cursive straight away (but we only start reading and writing in 1st grade), and to encourage it, a lot of our children’s books are printed in cursive, too. We were never allowed to use computers for our hand-ins/essays until college. Yes, we had to write a 3-5 page essay as our high school graduation in cursive. Scandal, I know 🙂
    I wonder how they didn’t realize that they had to use cursive to pass this bill… Because I don’t think the Governor printed his name on the bottom – and your signature is usually some sort of a cursive. So by killing cursive, we doom the next generation to not be able to sign a contract or endorse a check.

    Great post, I wholeheartedly agree, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  128. Interesting post. Having had arthritis as a child I have terrible joined up handwriting, but I nonetheless value being able to write fluidly…

  129. I absolutely believe that kids should learn cursive–just like they should learn to do math without a calculator. And it seems I’m of the unpopular opinion among my peers; I’m only 19.

  130. I agree with the good reasons and purposes stated above for keeping cursive in the school curriculum, and will add more. These apply whether you are left handed or right handed.
    Besides being important to motor skill development, learning cursive is a tool for developing eye-hand coordination. In the development of eye hand coordination and fine motor skills, it also stimulates brain function of both sides of the brain, simultaneously. The loss of cursive as a learning tool combined with the decreases in visual art curriculums, I believe, will deprive children and young people of self-disciplinery skills and aesthetic values required to function and communicate in a global human world. Learning cursive requires and develops visual discernment, learning spatial and shape relationships. As an artist (and former art teacher) I believe removing cursive from the school curriculum will be a huge disservice to our children. And you lefties? Did it ever occur to you that 1.) maybe you had not the best teachers? and 2.)Now that you are adults, have you tried to learn it again? I have taught many lefties to write cursive well, simply by teaching them to draw! 🙂

    • I agree with all of these as well, also as an art instructor, but additionally emphasize the value of the whole brain development it stimulates because I am the mom of a dyslexic child. Even a simplified italic cursive, which mostly just joins stylized print letters, is a huge help in decreasing a dyslexic student’s reversals. The flowing script not only smooths and challenges fine motor skills, but demands a greater differentiation of the letters and standardized entrances and exits. Dyslexics struggle with the great similarity of so many print letters, and will start the same print letter in several different locations without any self-correcting mechanism in the writing, making it much easier to substitute the wrong letter-forms. Students should at least have the instruction in cursive to allow them the option of a potentially better handwriting form. My son wasn’t allowed to use his italic cursive before second grade, even though he could, but they certainly felt free to mark and make him correct, ad nauseum, his reversals.

  131. A great topic indeed. I have been wondering about this whole cursive or no cursive debate for a while. I do not write in cursive much but I do believe it is a beautiful and creative skill students should continue to learn. A cursive handwritten note just has a certain charm that a printed or computer generated type will never have. I vote to keep cursive!

  132. Great argument. I am in my twenties and did not learn how to write in cursive in elementary school. My parents ended up teaching me. I printed for years and now that I am in university I almost always write in cursive. I prefer taking notes in a notebook and typing them up later. Nothing can beat putting a pen to paper.

  133. I can’t remember the last time I wrote in cursive. 20 years, probably. But if we stop teaching cursive…we’ll have to eliminate all those cursive fonts because no one will know how to read them! But the world would still turn.

  134. I only wish I had retained my cursive style when I was in school, once I was given the option of print or cursive, I took print – It was a big mistake. Looking at my fathers beautiful script with my jaw on the table I can only marvel at the flow of the letters, it’s so beautiful. Penmanship is a great skill to have and one I definitely wish I had in my arsenal, I’m all for it being taught in schools and think it should be made compulsory for all english essays.

  135. I love cursive… It would be sad in the future to see it absolutely dissolved.

  136. Yes, Cursive was obsolete when i was in school. My brother used that exact phrase too. It was a useless skill. The only real use for it these days is maybe when sorting though genealogy records from the 1800’s.

  137. I went to Catholic schools for 12 years where cursive was considered an art form. I use it every day as a writer as I still take a lot of notes by hand. My cursive isn’t as great and fluid as it once was but it never even crossed my mind it might be deemed obsolete some day. Makes me feel definitely old.

  138. i love writing in cursive! when i student taught in 5th grade, i purposefully wrote with it on the board to remind the students what it looks like and that it can be used. i still remember their exclamations when i first wrote in cursive, “what does that say!?” “oh yeah, i remember that!” “i can’t read it.” “oh no wait, i guess i can read it; i just can’t write it.”

    all my journal writing and letter writing (yes, i still do that with my pen pal!) is in cursive. i think it’s beautiful and unique because not many people use it.

  139. It’s sad that kids are being taught to focus on their typing skills rather than handwriting or printing. I remember fifteen years ago when I was in elementary school that writing cursive meant you wrote like a “grown-up” (since that was all the fifth-graders were allowed to write.) It still comes in pretty handy when I don’t feel like pulling the computer out to type but want to get ideas down more quickly and legibly than printing. It definitely shouldn’t be pulled from the schools.

  140. I have recently been bemoaning the fact that, my once lovely handwriting has deteriorated from lack of use. I have promised myself, and have started, writing whenever possible, including writing – rather than printing – when journalling. I like cursive, but love printing – at times printing faster than writing cursive. However, I definitely do not want to lose my skill, at least as long as actually signing my name is required – versus electronic signatures. And the value of cursive as a motor skill set remains high, especially when working with individuals recovering from (numerous kinds of) injury – mental or physical. And when working with certain individuals with special needs.

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  142. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂 Interesting post!

    I think cursive should be taught for the purpose of reading older texts and our peer’s handwriting. Also, it should be taught for the sake of diversity. But there shouldn’t be all too much focus on it past the necessary- there are more relevant skills to teach.

    I am an avid reader. I love art and beauty. I love how cursive looks and I wish I could write like that. However, there are some serious assumptions going on in here.

    1) That all print is ugly. It’s not true. I have seen amazingly neat and pretty print. It’s not all chickenscratch.

    2) That for a note to be ‘intimate’ and ‘unique’, it must be in cursive. Hardly! Even print is intimate. Even print is unique to the writer. What makes the note intimate is not what the writing looks like but the effort put into it, the personality of the writing, and, you know, what the person is actually saying. To say that something’s intimacy is based on appearance seems rather superficial.

    It should be noted that print has not hindered my writing process or thinking process what so ever. And I write most of my thoughts on paper. Every person is different, thus generalizations are useless.

    The right way to go is moderation, balance, and diversity. No handwriting is superior to the other. Cursive is just another way to write, although a pretty way. It should be taught because I think the schools should never teach just one way to do something. If you want to write cursive, that is fine and dandy, but because someone doesn’t write cursive shouldn’t make them ‘lazy’. Really, cursive only has two functional purposes- to read old documents and to sign things. Everything else is extra. If it came down to kids learning cursive, learning how to write a check, or learning how to add without a calculator, I’d choose the last two. This doesn’t make cursive useless, just not as functional as other skills.

    Obviously, this over-long shpeal is for debate purposes. Nothing is personal. 🙂

    (A final musing– English is already one of the hardest languages to learn. For people learning English as a second or third language, is cursive a giant pain in the rear?)

  143. I think it is still a good discipline. My son, 8, can’t wait to start 3rd grade so he can learn cursive. Like a fingerprint, your cursive is your own and no two cursive handwritings look alike. I mostly write on the computer as a freelance writer. But writing in a journal forces you to slow down. The act of writing in cursive is an art, it is cathartic. It’s also special to receive a hand written note or letter. I wrote about the loss of love letter writing in my blog and it has gotten more hits than any other post on my blog. So, keep teaching that cursive!

  144. I learned cursive in grade school and am super thankful that I did. Yes, I would much rather use print but cursive like you said is a skill that allows ideas to flow better and I think it’s just nice to know. There is something about writing neat and fancy that appeals to the brain.

  145. Honestly, I prefer printed handwriting because it’s more readable but I strongly believe that schools should allow students to choose among themselves if they want to write in cursive or printed, because for sure, they will choose where they are comfortable with. 🙂

  146. Its about time. I learned it 4 or 5 years ago and I haven’t used it once since.

  147. I think kids these days are losing touch with a lot since it’s the “digital age.” You pose a good point – do we stop teaching them how to read analog clocks just because there are digital ones? Kids need to learn more structure, not how to do things more easily – ie typing something rather than handwriting.

  148. Thanks to all for your comments both in agreement and opposed. I think dissenting voices are important as it makes me reflect on a point of view you I have missed. Honestly, I used to think cursive was obsolete, but have evolved to think differently. Not because I think all kids should write in cursive. If I was a high school English teacher, I would much prefer papers either typed or turned in digitally. I just think there are other applications as many have mentioned here, like fine motor skills, and other developmental skills. Thanks to the comments from the person from Eastern Europe and the one from Russia. It’s true, they don’t even learn how to print. As for the analogy with Latin (I have to disagree with that comment). It’s actually a good analogy for teaching cursive. No one who takes Latin in school takes it to ‘speak’ it, but knowing the etymology of words and any study in grammar increases ones vocabulary and usage immensely. I never took Latin, but wish I had.

    Thank you all again! I’m overwhelmed.

    • The analog clock analogy is the best one, because people talked about ending that when I was little, and it used to frustrate me to think that the kids around me really struggled to read the classroom clock. It didn’t seem that difficult to me.

      In contrast, I did not learn cursive handwriting the correct way because I had chicken pox while it was taught, so I almost never use it, but the important points have already been spelled out- without cursive, how will one make a signature? Should typical handwriting to become unreadable? I couldn’t tell cursive writing from scribbling before I was forced to learn the cursive letters from the chart over the chalkboard. Should a student or writer be completely out of luck if a wireless/laptop/touchpad battery dies? There is still a place in this world for Shorthand!

  149. I am really sort of surprised that people are so passionate about this. I’ve never been a fan of cursive but it has a nice ascetic. If done correctly by an adult, it’s probably the sexiest form of writing in english.

    But we have to face facts, we don’t use quills anymore. We hardly even use pens anymore. Cursive will eventually become a relic like calligraphy, an art-form any joe-smo can learn in adult ed if they get bored enough.

  150. I love cursive writing. I think it teaches hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and appreciation for beauty. I have 3 types of handwriting: block capitals (which I use the least), regular printing (upper and lower case) and cursive. When I handwrite a note (a thank-you note, or a card) I use cursive. Of course, I don’t use it nearly as much now as I used to, but still enjoy writing a hand-written note. Had an artist friends years ago who used to use snippets of my letters to her in her collages because she thought my handwriting was pretty.

  151. I was so impressed by my kid’s school teaching handwriting. It was awesome. I can actually read their writing in cursive better than print. I think it teaches the beauty of the written word.

  152. Cursive is a personal expression of physiolinguistic beauty that print can rarely achieve. It’s more individual than Helvetica or Times New Roman, and connects the mind directly to verbal expression. Perhaps like calligraphy, cursive handwriting will become an archaic art form rather than a regular method of written expression. In my classroom, I use cursive about 90% of the time that I write by hand, including notes in French on my whiteboards and chalkboards. Often for computerized presentations, I use cursive style fonts just to push the envelope. Interestingly, many of my students transition to using cursive in their work. Because I require handwritten drafts prepared in class to cutback on the use of online translations, I see more and more use of cursive by the end of a term. We still use computers extensively for our classwork and projects, but for day to day assignments, students usually follow the example they’re given.

  153. I keep hearing things about print being “computer,” but one of the things that made Apple’s program unique, according to Steve Jobs in a graduation speech he gave once, was the variety of fonts available which (guess what) was then imitating by Microsoft. Apparently Steve Jobs touched upon the ideas of different types of fonts, including script, from taking a calligraphy course. So, as you can see, being digitally aware doesn’t necessarily mean that we are then relegated to print–which, in handwriting anyway, is a slower process. Granted, I don’t know anyone who actually uses shorthand anymore, and it used to be that all secretaries needed to know shorthand and take dictation. However, in the fast and easy age of email, shorthand is simply not needed. But we still may need to take notes in a class or quickly communicate with someone without taking our laptops out. I don’t see why handwriting needs to become obsolete in order to fit into someone’s idea of what “the 21st century technology” skills will look like.

  154. When I’m actually writing vs. the keyboard I use a mix of block and cursive just for the speed factor.

    But put a keyboard in front of me and I’m way over the 90WPM limit and I don’t have to look at the keys AT ALL.

    Been using a keyboard since I was 13 years old, and that was 33 years ago. My home keys are NOT the ones they teach you in a typing class either.

  155. Great post! Handwriting is an essential and unique component of our identity. Relinquishing a unique identifier in a world of privacy concerns is concerning–digital age or not.

  156. It is very sad that people find cursive to be obsolete. When I took my SAT, there was a part of it that was REQUIRED to be written in cursive and no one in my room knew how to write in cursive! I was shocked. I know how to write in cursive and try to use it everyday. It might seem old-fashioned but I enjoy hand-writing letters. I know a 13 year old who has no idea how to write in cursive, not even his name. It looks like a lot of the things I was taught are now being cut out and that is wrong. Students should at least know how to write in cursive. It’s their choice whether they use it later in life or not.

    • I so agree… I actually had a coworker when I worked at a chain retail store who couldn’t deposit his first paycheck at the bank – he couldn’t sign his name, only print it, and the bank obviously wouldn’t accept that…

    • I so agree… I actually had a coworker when I worked at a chain retail store who couldn’t deposit his first paycheck at the bank – he couldn’t sign his name, only print it, and the bank obviously wouldn’t accept that… And he was in college.

  157. I don’t do much cursive writing anymore, but I believe that it SHOULD be taught to students. It made my life/taking notes more efficient. In fact sometimes, if I am writing, I prefer cursive over printing any day. Teach it, and let the people decide, but we shouldn’t take that option away, ever.

  158. I do not mourn the obsolescence of cursive script or penmanship, so much as the passing of a gracious way of living. Gone are the days of diary keeping and letter writing, gone the days of eagerly awaiting the postman’s arrival for a missive from a friend or relative. All we get nowadays are e-mails and tweets online, bills and circulars in the mail. Sad …

  159. Cursive writing should not be taken out of the curriculum because today most students text, email, use PCs, tablets and the like. Cursive writing not only teaches a communication method, it also helps develop fine motor skills. Phonics was removed from elementary school and today we have many people who have an incomplete understanding of the English language and can’t read. Whoever put taking cursive writing out of the curriculum is short-sighted.

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  161. Really interesting post. I never think about a world without cursive. I still use my cursive everyday. But I can see where perhaps it’s not necessary anymore, especially with how prevalent typing, texting and technology is.

  162. Coming from a public school employee—– I am absolutely appalled at the fact that this is something even being considered!! If we no longer teach cursive to children, who is going to be able to read our historic documents in the future? The Declaration of Independence for example is written completely in cursive— its going to look like a foreign language to someone who has never been taught it.

  163. This is just another example reflecting the degree of intelligence, and the lack of awareness that is driving the educational process as we know it. We are progressively creating curriculums based on brain dead ideas that will eventually lead to even more brain dead students.

    I recently heard they wanted to start children at even younger ages in the educational process [pre kindergarten] – what’s next, exponents for grade one students? I never thought I would say this, but the more I think about the “three R’s philosophy”, the more it makes sense not only from an intellectual level, but also from a developmental viewpoint.

    We are failing our children as we type; as we lose touch with the implementation of elemental fundamentals [reading, writing, arithmetic, visual arts, physical education etc], in favor of “advanced”, sanitized, specializations, our children become dumber, fatter, and less engaged in a critical stage of their development/maturation, and people wonder why we have problems in the world…

    • You are absolutely correct. They are dumbing us down will trying to tell us it is advancement. You know they want the children at an earlier age to indoctrinate them easier! Have you noticed how your child’s thought patterns change after being exposed to public school?

  164. Personally, this falls in my category of personal preference. Much like religion (albeit not exactly the same ballpark), it’s one of those things that I’d rather leave up to the individual. I don’t think it’s necessary to teach kids these things, but it can’t hurt if they want to learn it. Most people probably won’t ever use it, but if you do want to use it, you’ll probably learn it yourself. A matter of need, really.

    Maybe it is helpful for learning, though. But I don’t think it’s the utmost important skill, as much as a preference or sideskill.

  165. When my Grandmother worked at the local high school a few years back, she was horrified to find that when students were asked to sign their names to claim the trimester’s books, nearly all of them were unable to do so. She came home on several occasions ranting about how kids had become totally incompetent. I remember her mentioning a friend of mine’s younger sister who had made the first couple of letters in her name cursive and then reverted back to printing. It looked like a scrambled mess.

    I personally feel that if you possess a skill, you are more likely to use it. When it isn’t reinforced, of course it won’t be upheld. I definitely use cursive all the time. Anytime I write a formal thank you card, invitation, letter, or check. I sign my name several times a day at work or elsewhere. I think it’s rather sad when people (of all ages and generations) struggle not only with cursive but with doing cursive properly. A scribble on a page is not a signature, it’s lazy, unless you have an impairment of some kind.

    Anyway, to make a long rant a whole lot shorter, I agree with you. Congrats on freshly pressed!

  166. I tutor an autistic boy, and although he never learned to write in cursive, he is able to read my writing (a cursive/print hybrid – because I didn’t learn it properly myself!). I think his ability to read cursive writing is a very important skill for him.

    • I agree–I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and cursive is sooooo important to me. Your student may still learn to use it one day, but even if he can only read it (and so many kids can’t do that anymore), any and all possible communication skills are good for us.

  167. I am so happy to hear that schools are starting to drop cursive. I hated learning cursive but I was expected to use it, so I did. I spent so much time trying to master this form of writing. Year after year, I would submit my assignments and I would always get comments back from my teachers telling me to be neater. I would get so frustrated. So now I rejoice. Cursive writing is dying.

    Think about it, how many men do you know write in cursive? Why teach something that will be discarded by half of the people that learn it? We are wasting time teaching this archaic form of writing. Their are better and more important things to learn.

  168. It’s encouraging to see that there are still so many supporters of handwriting, penmanship, etc. I had read the WSJ article on cursive writing and also left my comments there …
    I love handwriting/pensmanship, I do calligraphy, I type 90 wpm, and in my early days took dictation in shorthand. Yes, one can do it all, it’s just what you consider of value to you. Perhaps cursive writing or handwriting will evolve into an art form – in which case then perhaps it won’t really die out.
    And while technology makes everything easier, faster, etc., it is not available in every part of the world – in which case, the handwritten form is still the means to communicate. It’s rather hard to jot down a quick note or reminder when one does not have a phone to type a note for oneself 🙂
    Yes, you can use different fonts in a word document, but it still does not replace the special and personal touch that a handwritten note gives to the receiver.

  169. I agree. Cursive writing enables free flow of thought as it’s faster and less obtrusive. It also is unique to every individual. I wonder if this move is a small step towards a world where people will lose their individuality and become numbers instead.

  170. Love letters definitely look better in cursive…

    gosh, when I was a kid, they taught us how to hold a pen, how to write correctly and I would love my kid to know all this too. Unfortunately, it looks like any handwriting will do now…:-(

    Great post! Thank you!

  171. This is one of so many important questions we’re facing as a society in our education system. Obviously things have the need to evolve with the times and technology, but how do we determine which things to take out to make room for the new? I love cursive, and I hope it never goes away. You make some valid and really interesting points about the additional skill set being learned along with cursive that I think is important not to overlook. Thanks for the post!

  172. I don’t think cursive is obsolete. I believe it is more of a case that modern generation has lost the ability to produce such a style of writing properly since they spend most of the time on the keyboards.

  173. I think cursive should be mandatory. Growing up, my school made it mandatory to write in cursive starting from grade three. We were not allowed to type any written assignments (although we had typing classes starting from kindergarten), and as a result today, I can write (in cursive) just as fast as the average person’s typing speed. It helped A LOT in high school classes.

    I was annoyed about the whole ‘style’ debate though. We HAD TO use the ‘standard’ cursive (don’t remember the actual name). But even as a kid, I liked that John-Hancock writing. As soon as I used that style though, the teacher would make me re-write the whole thing.

  174. Cursive should still be taught. The creative process needs a variety of mediums with which to channel energy, thought, and emotion from brain to paper/screen/etc. The ‘dance’ of pen and paper must remain part of our modern culture as its loss would diminish our creqtive experience.
    Thanks for your insight. Congrats on being fresh-pressed.

  175. Writing is just another luxury that we will leave behind when we cannot afford it. What if we stopped teaching children to draw and paint, or to read Latin, or to plant a garden, repair a guitar, read music and sing, just because they are not skills that are needed in modern employment? What if we got computers to answer our phones with recorded messages? Would these things detract from our quality of life? What if everybody moved to the cities, and no-one wanted to live in the country and make food? What if we lit the skies with electric light so that people could live and die without ever seeing a sky filled with stars. What if we all drove and knowing and riding a horse became only a leisure pursuit?
    I have turned off the television for two months and seen how my children learned how to converse better in just two weeks. There are so many losses we take for granted now – writing is just the next in a long long list.
    Can you imagine what the world was like before electricity. So much is lost, but now we have this conversation, that would never have happened. Best to be positive and hope for new creativity and beauty in a new world. Young artists painting on computer tablets, better writing content, instead of better handwriting perhaps?

  176. I write all the time in cursive. My son was taught cursive in school a few years ago, but they stopped teaching it, so he prints. He does not like to write in cursive. I used to work at a police station and we had to type all the police reports handed in by the officers. Let me tell you, they all write awful. It was so hard to read it. I would make people that came in to fill out a form to tell me basically their story. They cannot write good either or spell. I think it will go away because they don’t make you use it in school. They want their stuff typed out and handed in. I am sure it is because they can’t read the writing if it is in cursive.

  177. i myself still prefer writting to typic as it lets you feel connected iwth what you are saying. I really hope that cursive writting still remains part of the education system in the USA. I hope here in Europe people don’t suddenly get these weird ideas as well, because that would be a sad sad time for creativity.

  178. It is really important that children learn cursive. I think we don’t truly understand yet, but these things affect the way our brain is wired, and its probably a very essential skill. I can’t imagine an entire generation growing up without learning cursive.

  179. In England I rarely meet people who use cursive, which they call “joined-up writing.” For some reason it appears to be more of an American thing, but I’m not sure why. Personally I think it’s easier to write in cursive rather than writing every letter out individually, but apparently a lot of people don’t agree!

  180. I teach in the UK and most schools now have interactive whiteboards which are not accurate enough to pick up cursive writing, so I have reverted to printing or typing on the board. I noticed that my children’s writing was deteriorating as a result so I started a conscious effort to write letters and worksheets by hand and to write on the ‘old-fashioned’ dry-wipe board more often. It’s made a huge difference to their writing as they can see what I actually expect. Children don’t see much handwritten writing any more so they don’t see the need for it.

  181. Other languages also have equivalents of cursive that are more valued as art forms, and those who know them are revered as people of education. I taught an ESL course to a group of Libyan doctors, and one of the subjects they requested to learn was the art of English cursive. Cursive isn’t for everyone, but neither is computer programming and IT. Why should our children possibly be forced to stifle their creative identity just to accommodate the growing ideal of technological modernity? I am not from the old generations. I am 24 and use cursive daily. I even make money on the side by writing event invitations for friends and colleagues. Children should be taught cursive then choose for themselves, just like with IT programming classes that are becoming more common in high schools.

  182. unfortunately i was never thought cursive when i was a kid. but i think its beautiful even though most times i can’t read it. chinese calligraphy is a lost art too and even though i took lessons when i was a child, i can’t remember it. i do, however, remember that it takes a LOT of patience. I wish my parents had insisted I keep working on it, if only so that my patience will be better than it is now.

  183. I remember spending an hour or so a day on cursive in 2nd grade or so, that adds up. Couldn’t that time be better spent on say, learning Spanish? I haven’t written in cursive in nearly 20 years. If I’d have learned Spanish at a young age I’d use it all the time.

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  185. Getting rid of cursive writing to me, is akin to getting rid of identity. You can type anything and there is little proof of originality. When something is hand written there is often a sense of care and authenticity involved. I am not surprised by schools getting rid of it though. Nothing much surprises me these days.

  186. I am also an educator, although I have only taught grades in which cursive was not yet introduced. But, I did notice when my daughter was in about 3rd grade(she will be in 6th this year)that she wasn’t doing much cursive. This has continued on, and last year I asked her teacher about it. I could tell he wasn’t all that pleased with the lack of time for cursive/handwriting instruction. Yes, my suspicions were right, it is not as important or needed I guess, as it use to be.
    Not needing to teach it myself, I had not considered the other skills my child would be learning as she practiced daily penmenship. Although I would like her to learn the basics of cursive.
    Here is another reason…
    She can’t read it either. She can’t read a card that her grandmother sends her, because it is written in cursive. I’ve noticed when we have been in museums, that she can’t read old documents that are on display.
    Children today may not need to write cursive, but they sure better be able to read it. Time to get working on that practice book!


  188. I hated cursive. I went from private school to public school in the third grade, and the public school kids already had a year of cursive under their belts. I struggled with it. My parents bought writing practice pads and even the cursive wall poster for me o learn. Major pain in the butt. For what? So I could learn cursive and drop it three years later when we didn’t have to use it any more?
    It can be beautiful, and maybe even faster thank block printing. my style of writing is no a combination – block prints with some “flowy bits” that allow my letters to run into each other. Most people would call it “chicken scratches”.
    I’m on the fence with this. I can see the point of not wasting time on it, but a part of me says keep teaching it, just so kids who WANT to use it, can. Some children will use it and enjoy it, and I think they all need to learn to read it.

  189. Very interesting article. I remember back in primary which was only a decade ago, we learnt the standard QLD cursive/print script (it had entries and exists but not connected) in grade two, soon I was trying my best to imitate my grade 3 sister’s cursive writing (which was connected).
    Now when I write notes, I hate to write it in print because I feel that cursive just looks a lot more beautiful. However I must admit that I use to have much neater cursive handwriting.

    Oh and can I just point out how funny it is that nowadays we still see cursive, even on computers, but only where elegance/sophistication and the like is involved. You know stuff like wedding cards and fancy cooking websites…

  190. Wow. I never even thought of the possibility of cursive becoming obsolete. The skills attached to cursive writing and learning to do it well are valuable to school-aged children. I do agree that cursive writing is rarely used with most people using print. I used all caps in my regular writing. When I’m scribbling, I use messy print that’s half-connected so it becomes a cursive-print hybrid. I save my cursive for nice notes and greeting cards. Everything in its place, I believe.

  191. Cursive should still be taught. The creative process needs a variety of mediums with which to channel energy, thought, and emotion from brain to paper/screen/etc. The ‘dance’ of pen and paper must remain part of our modern culture as its loss would diminish our creative experience.
    Thanks for your insight. Congrats on being fresh-pressed.

  192. I think it’s slowly (sadly) dying, but I’ll probably always use it for some things. I try to write a handwritten letter each week, and although my handwriting is awful I do enjoy doing it (and I think people enjoy receiving a handwritten letter).

  193. I enjoyed reading this blog because I’ve been wondering about this very thing lately. I remember cursive being mandatory when I was in elementary in the 70’s. They would NOT let anyone out of 3rd grade without knowing how to write decent cursive. Now, it’s sort of a “nice to have” in all school systems, but definitely not mandatory. When my two boys were attempting to learn it, they struggled, and were given a pass at school on the cursive. As a result, they both print when they write and the teachers are fine with that. I do wonder if we’re losing something by not pushing cursive, but at the same time, almost no one writes anymore–they type on a keyboard. So, I flip flop on the issue…Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

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  195. Wow! I am from Indiana and am highly disappointed in the decision made here. This is truly a shame. Cursive is beautiful, valuable, useful. I learned it in the 3rd grade at my Indianapolis school and have used it quite often ever since. I know for certain that in the future, when I have kids, if their schools don’t teach them how to write in cursive, I certainly will.

  196. Hmmmm I don’t agree with dropping it entirely, because it has its uses, but I don’t think it should be encouraged as the standard way of writing. I live in Germany where it’s still standard to write in cursive, and people sometimes treat me like I’m some uneducated moron because I can barely write in cursive. Well, that’s not my fault. I DID learn it and I CAN do it (though not prettily), but I have no use for cursive and haven’t had one since I was about 12 (which as about the last time I used it), when I started typing my assignments. In Canada generally high schools and universities prefer all assignments typed (even if you don’t have a computer, you can access one), and all exams MUST be printed. Also, all official documents MUST be printed. This makes sense to me because it’s easier to read and makes the job of the person marking or filing a lot easier. Cursive may be useful for personal use to get ideas down quicker but as an “official” form of writing it’s silly. I hate that here, whenever I read something handwritten I have to struggle to understand it, because if you have halfways messy writing in cursive, it’s just impossible.
    My two cents.

  197. Here, we won’t teach you how to write with a 20 cent pen and a 1 cent piece of paper, use this $700 ipad instead.

  198. well in my opinion, we should be happy as long as writing itself doesn’t become obsolete soon, what with most of the schools using computers, smart boards and the internet to teach children.. Also the long distance and online education systems are done mostly via computers and there is very limited scope for the students to actually write something..


  199. You say “teach them cursive, even if they revert to print later”. But their’s a third option – writing in all lowercase without cursive (like printing in lowercase).. My Chemistry teachers taught me this “neat trick” in 11th grade. His logic was very simple – if you print in lowercase, not only can you write extremely fast, but your handwriting will always be legible.

    Personally, I think that cursive should definitely be taught – and definitely *not* enforced.

  200. The loss of cursive handwriting would be a great loss. For many years at school, I resolutely hand-wrote essays before typing as it helped me formulate my ideas. I have a keen interest in Latin palaeography and what it can teach us about ancient societies. Without cursive handwriting, it makes me wonder would future generations would learn about our society today, without the personal flare and idiosyncrasies which can only be produced with pen and paper.

  201. I don’t know if cursive is becoming obsolete, but I think it will have to be sacrificed at the elementary school level if the United States wants to be economically competitive. While I hold degrees in English, I strongly support increased science and math education partly on the grounds that I feel I did not receive strong enough foundations in those subjects (and I attended school in the 90s). I think exchanging cursive teaching for extra hours spent developing math fundamentals is a fair trade. As to whether cursive should be taught and when? It could be taught as a related arts course and be done a couple days a week. I had lessons five days a week in elementary school, and I think that was excessive because my cursive developed into its own strain, anyway. The same happens with print. In the end, I feel this debate is but a single grain of sand on the coastline of education reform that will most likely end up being swept out to sea.

  202. I was under the impression that we teach kids to write in print first because it’s difficult to read a beginner’s “cursive”, because of the motor skills involved. If the argument here is to drop cursive, then it argument is to drop writing altogether, as cursive is actually a much better form (it’s faster, less stressful on the hands, and can be more legible for long-term reading).

  203. I agree. When I went to open a bank account with my two children last summer, my nine-year old daughter could not “sign” her name is script and my 11-year old son had to ask his teacher to show him how to write in script.

  204. First off, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    I think it is disappointing that cursive is being phased out. I remember being 3 years old when my mother taught me herself how to write cursive… my first word was copper.

    Some people have argued that cursive has no place in our digital world… I disagree. Look at the number of cursive fonts you have on your computer. Sure they are outnumbered by print fonts, but they are still there and that says something.

    I also wonder if eliminating cursive would have repercussions for later in life. I attended many university courses where computers could not be used in note taking. There were courses where professors simply disallowed the use of laptops on the argument that they are distracting not only for the student using, but the students around them. There are also some courses where laptops simply aren’t practical because you are required to quickly jot down diagrams or mathematical formula. In those cases, being able to write fast was essential, and writing in at least partial cursive (I believe they call that print-type) was a great skill.

    And that brings me back to the thought that sometimes advocating computers isn’t the greatest thing. In university I remember being easily distracted by games and the internet and I always did much better in the classes where I was required to hand write my notes, even if only for the reason that I had to go home and rewrite the notes again because my writing was sloppy. 🙂

  205. There are a lot of subjects being cut from schools– art, music… and here we go with cursive. As an artist, I don’t know what I would’ve done without those subjects. They are what got me through. While our lives are becoming more and more digitized, I still can’t help but think that it’s a bit lazy and convenient to drop cursive. I think that it’s important to be able to quickly and easily articulate your thoughts in a way that your thoughts can be kept private. Computers are never completely private and you may never know who has eyes on what you’ve written– I could delve deeper here about that but I hope that people can just think and realize the ramifications on their own. What happens when none of your thoughts are private? Is that ok with the next generation?

  206. I think that cursive is a good thing to learn (I can write in it and we don’t get taught it in British schools) but as a stylistic preference I go for italics above cursive.

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  208. I’ve just returned from taking notes of a meeting. It would be hard to do this without being able to jot some key sentences down on paper; and printing out each letter as an alternative to handwriting is far too slow (try it!). Moreover, there are many occasions on which one has to read handwriting which must be hard if one hasn’t learnt how to do it. Children not taught basic handwriting will be seriously disadvantaged in years to come, in many jobs and situations.

  209. I have always loved cursive & my daughter who is 9 loves it too! We will keep it alive!

  210. As an educator, I believe cursive is a vital and important skill. I believe that we fail to see the benefits of learning cursive writing, because we have a difficult time looking past the surface of things. Sure, more kids are texting and typing, sure fewer and fewer kids are acutely handwriting things anymore, but does that mean that it isn’t an important skill? I believe there are parts of the brain that are activated by cursive handwriting and those parts connect to and open up other parts – by not making cursive part of the process of learning I think we are shutting off those connections; permanently altering those neural pathways. Technological progressives ay to do away with handwriting because it has become obsolete, but I believe there is more to it than just a fancy form of communication. If we turn it off completely – we will fundamentally alter the way people learn, connect, problem solve, appreciate, consider, and understand. Why? because a few powerful people think it is “too hard” and obsolete. And they have a huge number of people who agree, because we have become a society that gives up on something when it is too hard. Mark my words, generations from now we will again explore cursive handwriting when we realize what happened. IMHO

  211. I know I am sentimental, and that I haven’t used an astrolabe, an abacus, or a sundial lately, but I hate to see any skill set completely leave society. Plus, as many have said before, cursive is pretty. Surely it will not completely die as an art form. And inevitably, young people will feel nostalgic about obsolete things and a few will use them. I have seen it in my own generation with knitting and in the one behind me as a fascination with VHS and typewriters.

  212. No! Despite the relevance of going digital cursive writing is a unique way for someone to express themselves! Well I personally still try and write by hand as much as I can and I’m only 16 so meh. You do miss the feeling of a pencil/pen in your hand and the feel of writing on paper after using the computer 24/7 (my school is a 1:1 laptop school where laptops are compulsory for all classes and used often)

  213. My school district teaches cursive. I just graduated from high school. It was ridiculous. They taught us in fourth grade and said to “get used to it now, you’ll write everything in it for sixth grade!”
    We didn’t. They told us to “practice it, you’ll write all your papers in cursive in middle school!”
    We didn’t. They said, “Once high school rolls around you’ll wish you wrote in cursive.”
    We didn’t. It’s obsolete simply because I only use it to do my signature. It’s not as if, were it not for cursive, I’d never actually write. I write all the time and do my best thinking with words on paper, brainstorming. Cursive is an extremely slow process for me, though. No one in my senior class really remembered how to do all of the letters, it’s clunky, I can’t read what I (or even the three girls in my graduating senior class who never stopped writing in it) wrote. To me and the vast majority of kids in my AP classes, it was just an extreme waste of time, and a need to worry about something that never warranted worrying about. Although I understand that it may be faster for those who practiced it back then, it’s slower than a snail’s pace for me. I write in print much faster, more legibly, and more concisely. Also, I don’t lose the idea I’m trying to get down just because I can’t remember how a cursive z looks.

    Now, kids do NOT need to be taught typewriting. That’s ridiculous. We’re raised with it from day one and teachers think they can teach us how to use it better? If necessary, in high school require them to do a one semester class where each kid can get focused learning.

    Cursive, while a skill everyone is appreciative of being taught, is something no one uses anymore. And often the cursive that is used by the girls is defined as “illegible” by my teachers (they write really small and with huge loops and mostly slanted words, you can’t till an “of” from an “if”).

    I don’t mean to shoot down your article. Cursive may be valuable to some people. But I wanted to give the opinions of kids in my state that have learned cursive but never use it and think it’s a waste of their time. This is probably the opinion of the majority of high school graduates out there nowadays. (At least, everyone who I’ve talked to about the subject agrees.) I feel like things should be taught as for how important and valuable they are to use, not just for principle’s sake or because it’s good for the brain. (A lot of things are good for the brain that aren’t taught in schools.)

  214. Although cursive is no longer used as frequently as it used to be, it is for sure an indispensible skill which is part of literacy. I personally would consider someone not capable of handwriting as someone who is illiterate, no matter how good they are at typing. One skill does not exclude the other and they are complementary. In addition, kids who do not learn at an early age how to write, will probably never learn it. Just imagine not being able to sign your name or not be able to write a post-it note.

    I wrote on my blog about whether we are forgetting how to write by hand only a few months ago: Would be happy to hear your comments on my blog post!

  215. How much are we trying to dumb up the public??? My seven year old can read but can not read cursive because she does not know it. Even though it might be the same language it will still look foreign if we do not teach it to our children. Why are we teaching them keyboarding and texting and twittering in school? I think this is STUPID! Yes I know that they are used frequently in our world but we are forgetting the basics. The basics are the beginning building blocks that we need. What if something happens and we no longer have computers or texting? I’m sorry but I can not write because I have a machine do it for me– how do you think civilizations were lost in the past ??

    My children go to an Indiana public school and my heart is VERY sad to hear they want to do away with cursive. My seven year old was asking the other day how to write in cursive. I guess we will be the ones to teach her!! So what are they learning in school?

  216. Well, when I went to school, I was forced to spend endless hours training my penmanship (with little positive effect, I might add). In contrast, we spent possibly two hours getting a rough introduction to touch typing. Since I left school, by necessity, the vast majority of all my writing is done on a keyboard…

    What modern students should be taught is strong touch typing and sufficient handwriting skills (not specifically cursive). If they want to take handwriting further, they can do so on their own time: A key truth to schooling is that there are thousands of topics that would be worthy of inclusion or preservation (in the eyes of at least some), but that time and resources are limited. Schools have a duty to give the students value for their efforts and must make compromises.

    Incidentally, those who learn block letters will move more or less automatically to cursive if they do spend a lot of time writing by hand. (I would even consider it plausible that a focus on good block letters is more beneficial for those wanting to write well in cursive than specific “cursive exercises”.) Thus, the extensive teaching of cursive is wasteful even among those who will eventually need it…

  217. All I can say is this: if it were not for the computer…I would not be a writer of any description. I would survive just fine if all reference to “cursive” were struck from my memory including all the strikes on my knuckles with the sharp edge of a ruler by Sister Leotine (what a fucking name…does anyone know what it means? Misguided bitch of some misidentified deity most likey to be found in someplace very much like we think of as hell) But I do print quite well and legibly. My cursive skills began to deteriorate when I was about 25 and maybe it was my way of saying sayonara to all memories of all nuns…don’t know….but I don’t miss cursive or the nuns. Do I write ok?

  218. I grew up in the 70’s and I was always a cursive writer. I continued to write cursive through college. I don’t know when I stopped doing so, but suddenly I stopped writing cursive. Now when I try to write cursive, my writing is disjointed and almost unreadable. Cursive allows your thoughts to flow just as the words flow in cursive. I regret losing this skill, and unfortunately, today’s kids not be being taught cursive spells the end of the ability to write in this form. That is sad!

  219. I always take notes by hand in class (in cursive) rather than bring my laptop to class. Also, I still hand-write letters to friends/family, and write English assignments by hand before putting them into my computer. It helps me personally remember things from class earlier and it also forces me to self correct rather than have a machine do it for me. I think it’s better for people write by hand -whether it be cursive or not.

  220. Although the majority of my friends and relatives use email and instant messenger, I still will write a letter and mail it to them.


    Because there is something intimate about writing and sending a written note. There is also something intimate about receiving a written note.

    I can instantly get an idea of how a person is feeling while reading a written note. More so than reading an email or instant message. Please, there is that aspect of caring that is found in a written note. It is like the person is saying, “I know it would be easier to send an email, but I want you to know that I care so much, I wanted to write a letter to you.”

    Technology is great, but it isn’t everything. It is so impersonal compared to writing something, whether a story, note, letter, or whatever.

    • `Please, there is that aspect of caring that is found in a written note. It is like the person is saying, “I know it would be easier to send an email, but I want you to know that I care so much, I wanted to write a letter to you.” ‘

      I see it the other way around (on those very rare occasions) when I receive hand-written letters: The author put his or her own convenience (seeing that most people are still weak typists) over mine, leaving me to deal with the problem of interpreting the writing. (Between individual variation and the repeated changes to what is considered “standard” cursive over time, this can be an issue even where good penmanship is concerned.) Further, it leaves me with a text that is likely to be less thought-through and edited than a letter written on a computer. When we go a step further and compare emails to hand-written letters, there is the additional complication that my ability to answer, quote, reference, and re-distribute in an efficient manner is restricted for no good reason.

      Correspondingly, to me, a hand-written text of a non-trival size is disrespectful, bordering on rude. (Excluding cases with legitimate reasons, say a sender who does not have access to computers at the moment or who is too old for computer skills to be expected.)


      In a bigger context, I note that a number of commenters express the opinion that cursive would be a vital skill, an important part of writing, whatnot—without in anyway substantiating that claim. These I ask to beware that there is nothing magical about cursive writing, but that it just happens to be a convention, something we are used to. This reminds me of the complaint that the children of today would only learn how to read a digital clock and not a “real” clock—yet, there is nothing real about an analog clock that is not real about a digital clock. That someone grow up with analog clocks and only encountered digital ones as an adult may explain a personal preference. This preference, however, is personal and subjective—and none of the two types of clocks is any more or less real than the other.

      The loss of cursive writing may be negative, but considering the opportunity cost of spending time and money on cursive writing (cf. my earlier comment) there really is no case: There are thousand of topics, skills, whatnot, that are valuable and beneficial. Not all of them can be mastered in a life-time, let alone in school. Further, cursive writing is certainly not the most important of these.

  221. Wow! so many comments here; and I’m sure I’ll likely say something that’s already been said. Whether print or cursive, good hand-writing skills simply CANNOT go the way of the dinosaur. With everything in our world going digital, we’ve simply got to make sure that our children are still capable of putting thoughts and ideas onto paper, creating notes that can still be handed to someone you love or admire, still tangible and stashable, to be found later in a box or a drawer. The same can be said for photographs, too. (My congrats, too, on making “Freshly Pressed.”)

  222. Pingback: Cursive Goes the Way of the Dinosaur « Doree Weller's Blog

  223. If for no other reason, forming letters, whether printing or writing them, is a good mechanical activity for the brain. Did this article say anything about dropping the teaching to print letters?

    I am left handed, and was first well taught how to write using cursive script in 3rd grade. I switched schools after that, and a teacher insisted on teaching me how to write right-handed with my left hand, so the clarity of my writing became bad.

    These days, I use a combination of writing out printed-looking characters with some cursive characters. I can write that way very quickly. If I take my time, it is legible.

  224. Pingback: Odds and ends | Suddenly they all died. The end.

  225. Without cursive wriiting, what will the forms that require a signature say, print and print instead of print and sign? What about the use of bank drawn checks, I had a check returned because I absently minded printed in the signature block. instead of signing.Checks are becoming obsolete in favor of debit cards like the typewriter has been replaced by the computer.

  226. I didn’t skim through the zillion comments you already have to check and see if someone else has already mentioned this, but there are also quite a few schools in South Carolina that are not teaching kids cursive anymore. I don’t think it’s official or anything, but it’s still going on. It is very sad and a bit troubling.

  227. I myself think the entire ‘language’ is a bit messy. Why do M’s have three humps and N’s have two? That’s unnecessary bulk; those two letters could’ve been left the same way, right?

    I also noticed that, even though I technically learned cursive at a young age, I actually couldn’t read anyone else’s cursive because they tried to write really fast or their style was different…or it was just like the writing you see in cartoons (lots of humps?)

    Also, I think print looks much more stylish and formal. If your webpage was in cursive, I would look at it and say “What..?” and probably would take four times as long to read it. It simply looks better to have a bold, font size 14 “Chapter 1” followed by font size 10 body text…not in cursive, of course. I think print is easier to read, easier to write, and overall more effective and it looks pretty sexy.

    Teaching children cursive for the motor skills it develops isn’t bad, though. I think it sounds legitimate, but I also believe there’s an easier way to do this teaching. It doesn’t have to be cursive to teach these skills, does it? Certainly there’s another way that’s not teaching you an obsolete language but still developing the brain?

    I actually thought of this a while ago, but I don’t really have a blog devoted specifically to my thoughts…so I didn’t write it.

  228. I love cursive, but most kids today can neither read nor write cursive. When I was a freshman in college back in 1993, one of my roommates did not know cursive (I am not even kidding!).

    There is something to be said, though, for learning to write only once. I’ve been learning Sanskrit over the past few years, and the letters are what they are. You learn to write them and then you know. I think the same is true for languages like Urdu, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Japanese, etc. It’s hard on kids to spend all that time learning to write and then a few years start from the letter “A” and have to learn to write all over again. I can see the sense in only learning to write once. Maybe cursive could be taught from the outset?

  229. Just shows that writing is an art…and we all know how the school system likes to control our kids. I give my 7 yr old son and even my 2 yr old any marker or paint or scrap of paper with a pencil and let them do whatever they want….even my camera.

    Writing is life!

    Thanks for sharing!

  230. Definitely there is a need to keep handwriting in the schools. I do think that students should be able to develop their own personal style once they’ve learned the basics. I struggled in elementary school with being forced to write right handed while suffering the impatience of not being able to put my ideas down as quickly as my mind came up with them. One afternoon at work, during lunch, I sat down and worked out my own script style which I use to this day whenever I’m not at a keyboard. It’s legible and useful. I can’t imagine anybody having the excuse that they can’t produce a message because their cell phone is out of power and they left their laptop at home (or nobody carries a pen).

  231. I agree with you–I just wrote a post on this topic not very long ago. Writing by hand, in cursive, allows me to articulate and pace my thoughts when I’m struggling like nothing else can. Technology has given us a lot of great things, especially for people with disabilities that impact communication, and I’m all in favor of people being able to use whatever works best for themselves. But for some students, that’ll be cursive, and to stop teaching it at all will rob a lot of kids of a powerful tool for communication and self-understanding.

  232. Does the school system think there isn’t enough time in the day to teach cursive writing? What is their problem with teaching cursive? Pen, paper and the formation of letters & words are fundamental building blocks to literacy. If a child doesn’t want to continue to write in cursive later on they can certainly choose to print or type. For myself and my close friends, developing a cursive style was part of the process of developing our personal identity. We made choices about how we wanted our handwriting to look. Handwriting styles reflect personality traits, so every persons signature is as unique as they are. It seems so senseless to rob our children of this early developmental experience.

  233. When I first learned to write I fell in love with the double “L”. It flowed beautifully. Cursive writing was itself a “right of passage” from child to young adult when I was first exposed to it. We were then trusted with the use of indelible ink in lieu of erasable lead pencil. At the centre of the debate over wheather to teach cursive or not is the factor of time. In much the same way that we concoct to feed chickens to grow heavier sooner to bring them to market sooner we are rushing the process of teaching. We want to get our children through school and into the job market sooner so that we can enjoy the empty nest sooner. Oddly when we meet these same children in their service positions at their “Mac-jobs” we complain that their skills as workers are lacking and blame their lack of education. We did not give them the time to develop those skills or the education to use them. Cursive writing involves work and repetition and helps build a personal flair that can help a child learn while he matures. Terrific blog post topic. Well done.

  234. For better or for worse, I do believe that enventually cursive will go the way of typing on the typewriter and tapping out a message on a telegraph largely because the speed of life no longer makes room for the things kids used to do to prepare them to learn to write. Already, they don’t spend the time generations past spent on playing – not Wii, not Nintendo DS, and not even computer games on the keyboard, but actually playing, yes folks, with toys. Kids literally do not develop the hand control they once did by kindergarten often because they spend much less time using their fingers and hands in the kinds of play tasks we spent hours doing every day as children. Learning to print without fatigueing in the first five minutes of the task is a hill too many kids are finding difficult to climb and when they reach second or third grade and have to learn cursive that hill becomes a mountain. Is it worth spending precious educational time trying to get kids to develop a skill many may never master, at least not at levels considered anywhere near functional? It’s a question parents and educators are already facing with strong reactions on both sides of the argument. My take? Introduce it, encourage it, but be ready to shelf it in favor of developing skills that will never becomes obsolete, like learning to plan, prioritize, organize, and work as a team with peers – skills still not reflected in my state’s curriculum standards.

  235. I thorougly enjoyed reading this post, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I remember when I was taught to write cursively, in primary school at the age of around 5/6. If we didn’t master our handwriting, we would have to write in pencil until we did. I’ve always thought of it as a necessary skill, and never actually thought that it would be a skill affected by technologies we see today. That’s worrying, personally. It’s a fundamental form of communication, throughout history – if generations developed without the skill, we’d simply revert back to basic skills and a reliance on machines to do it for us. Handwriting is also a snap shot of each individuals personality – if everything was written through technology, our characters would be more similar to each other. Through university, I find jotting my notes down in hand written form deems more helpful, and interesting, than saving a word document. It’s a shame, and slightly shocking, that cursive writing as a skill is no longer viewed as necessary!

  236. I myself never mastered cursive at that early age when everyone used to learn cursive (second grade, I believe), only taking on the basic rudiments of script, but never committing myself to its everyday use. After college, however, I began to write in a journal, and decided to commit myself to not only writing in cursive, but also developing my own script, my own flourishes, which make cursive not only my own, but also more enjoyable to write.

  237. Growing up, I envy my grandparents’ and parents’ cursive handwritings. I couldn’t read them so I want to learn how to write that way. I still use cursive and I’m on my 20’s. How are they going to read the documents of old if they couldn’t read cursive handwritings?

  238. “For struggling writers, cursive allows them to be more fluent and thus lets their ideas flow on the page more readily.”

    Sounds great, it actually resonates with how I feel.

    Is it true?

    I doubt there are any studies on this, much less studies that correlate the use of cursive handwriting to the ability to effectively allow “ideas to flow on the page” (which I’m thinking means, “the ability for a person to effectively communicate with another, in a manner which possibly not only conveys information but also emotional states”).

    Color me wrong, I’d love to see some science to back up how I feel about cursive writing.

    “If you integrate penmanship with other literacy activities, the formation of letters really does make a difference in the way kids retain information.”

    Well, I’m not aware of any studies that have done so.

    Again, I’m biased here, I want to believe training and ability in cursive writing makes a difference in information transmittal and retention.

    As much as this post sings, it’s mostly opinion. Which is fine, we’ve all opinions.

    But proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I think this post is lovable but half-baked.

    — Andy

    • Some thoughts…

      Andy…I don’t know about studies…but I do know that most of the creative people I know (I am a graphic designer and so I work with both the right-brained (artists/graphic designers/game designers) as well as the left-brained (programmers). My experience tells me that the creative lot writes cursive and the logical lot seldom gets down to writing anything.

      I find myself agreeing with the author of this post. Cursive is faster – because you don’t lift the pen from the paper, and your mind doesn’t have engage in that tiny bit of calculation for the spacing of every letter. Try to write cursive with your eyes closed and then try printing. What’s easier?

  239. Since school i have been taught writing cursive and never stopped using it. Besides the art it represents, the intellectual benefits like mind-flow fluency you mentiones cannot be ignored. I think it should be continued in schools to at least give or future generations the option of learning it or not.

  240. I enjoyed your article. I can only hope that the school district keeps writing in cursive as part of their curriculum. If not, then I will talk to my children about teaching it to their children and on. I retain more when I take notes by hand as opposed to taking notes on my laptop when in class.

  241. It’s funny, but when I first started reading this post, I was thinking I would disagree with your premise that cursive is necessary. I should say, in full disclosure, that I am a teacher as well, but I teach GED classes to adults who often barely can write, let alone write in cursive. That said, after reflecting on your post, I realized that I am a big stickler for having my students learn their times-tables by having them write their tables (I also push them to say the numbers out loud as they write). I believe this is the most effective way for them to learn for the same reasons you list above. There is just something about the physicality of pen/pencil on paper that helps the brain.

    Of course, as I say this, I do wonder if we are in the minority. And to be honest, there is a trade-off. The children who grow up tapping away on computers and I-Pads do seem to be so quick to grasp things that I find to be very difficult. Where I teach, there is a young man who can’t spell to save his life, but he can edit film on Final Cut and music on some Adobe program that looks extremely complicated.

    Maybe it’s not an either/or.

  242. I am disabled and cannot write in any form of cursive script and the longer I print the worse my handwriting gets. That being said, I do not believe cursive should be discontinued in the classroom/ I find as much joy in a written letter in an email, and probably more from a letter. To make up for the fact that I can’t use cursive myself I routinely use a script font while typing.

  243. I know in the medical profession they are working to try and get doctors to print and move them over to digital input. I would imagine this would be a good thing considering I still can’t figure out how pharmacists read prescriptions

  244. In our country, Philippines, cursive is a must by the DepEd from early grades until high school. But I personally think that cursive is a helpful *stuff* for me and my studies. I don’t know why but my brain is running faster when I’m in cursive. My teacher also told us that cursive makes you more patient or something like that:) It would be sad if they stop using cursive without thinking of its benifits:\

  245. Great post, I believe it is very important, as writers, we still engage this in journals, and personal love letters, and such, print writing maybe going out, maybe because most Poets hate hand printing, but thats just from my experiences, and real writer new or old will love cursive regardless of what these folk say, and thanks for a great post, be well, WS

  246. Writing by hand is still a better thing than typing. I mean, there’s a personal touch to it. When we type, there’s nothing there that represents us. The content, of course, but that’s not the point. Everything else in the web are typewritten. They’re all identical. When we write by hand, the appearance is hardly similar to anyone else’s. It makes our thoughts even more unique, even more ‘us’. So, I think that although we are living in a digital world, it is important to retain the art of writing by hand. I mean, like you said, learning how to type is pretty easy. Anybody, especially the kids of today, can learn that in a mere 30 minutes (or even less).

    Interesting post! 🙂

  247. Great article. Long live cursive! Tesla’s ghost, I’ve been looking for a good book to help me improve my cursive style.

  248. I grew up with cursive (nobody tols us what it was, it was just the way people wrote). Several years ago (having may more under my belt by then), I found that my writing was getting harder to read. I switched to printing, and have done that ever since. The only thing I have left to write in cursive is my signature – which everybody can write, unlike many signatures, which seem more like a scribble than a name. Of course, if your name is Alexander Liederkranz-Schwartzmann, you’re not going to like having to sign it a lot.

    “… Even in a one-to-one laptop school, teachers ask children to write a lot by hand …”

    I definitely believe that children should learn to write by hand. Handwriting reflects personality. (Another odd fact is that your handwriting looks the same, whether you write a line on paper, or giant letters on a blackboard. It also develops those muscles used in writing. renplus noted that, too.)

    Which brings up a point I’ve noticed recently: how people hold pencils. In my day (when we walked 10 miles to school, in the snow, barefoot, and it was uphill both ways), we held it resting on the 2dn finger, with the 1st finger along the length, and the thumb on the inside. Today’s kids (and older) hold it with the middle finger along the barrel, 1st finger and thumb higher up.

    More than that, almost nobody writes any more (“writing” = making marks on paper). We all use a keyboard, either qwerty or whatever’s on blackberries or iPhones.

    “… do we stop teaching kids how to tell time on an analog clock?”

    That’s one of the many things we lose. Counterclockwise? What’s that? Rotary dial phone? You can extend the list. (The advantage of an analog clock is that you think of time a bit differently. As someone today what time it is, and he’ll reply “10:47”. Ask me, I’ll reply “about 10 till 11”.)

  249. I remember learning cursive; I love it! Though sometimes the teachers at the school I currently work in can’t read cursive so I have to rewrite in print. It’s a bit sad that these highly educated teachers can’t decipher a page full of cursive.

  250. The style of cursive favoured may influence how it is viewed. In the UK simple joined-up handwriting, without many loops or flourishes seems to be more common, whereas every example of “cursive” I see over here seems a little more complicated, and also a little more “old-fashioned”. Unfortunately when such cursive deteriorates in adulthood it is harder to read.

  251. I have a question. Everyone keeps bringing up two ideas: first, that writing in cursive allows students to make better, longer lasting connections with the material; and second, that it provides students with a chance to develop their fine motor skills. Why would that not be equally true of handwritten print, which no one has suggested that we stop teaching? To hand write the “print” alphabet, one still must concentrate. One still must develop one’s motor skills. The difference is in the shape of the letters, not in their effect on the child’s developing brain.

    Personally, I remember thinking cursive was confusing and difficult to learn. This had nothing to do with the computer. All of my papers were written by hand. Instead, I didn’t understand why we had to learn how to read and write with completely different, comparatively sloppy characters that ran right into each other just as soon as we’d mastered reading and writing with print characters! Why teach us one only to throw it out the next year and make us learn another… only to throw that one out in favor of the first a few years later? Even before the computer became the king, the entire experience of learning cursive writing seemed like a waste of time and effort. The world communicated in print back then. Today, it still communicates in those same fonts; they’re just “printed” on a screen instead of on a page. Why teach children print first, then switch to cursive for a few years if all we’re going to do is throw another change-up and go back to print? They won’t remember how to read or write cursive as adults anyway, and all that work will have been for nothing.

  252. I didn’t learn how to print until fifth grade, when I had to transfer to a different schoolboard. My teachers were astounded that at that point I would still accidentally write my ‘S’ and ‘Z’ backwards while my cursive writing was almost perfect.
    Now in university, I deliberatly alternate between taking notes on my laptop and handwriting them so I don’t loose the skills I learned then (it’s also beneficial when a midterm comes around and you remember ‘hey…this is all handwritten and my arm is cramping up from lack of use’.
    My brother is in his senior year of high school and I think he’s the only one in his year that uses cursive. His thought process is far more elaborate and his grades are phenomenal.
    On the other hand, I have two younger siblings who were never taught how to cursive write and frankly I think they feel like they’re missing out on something. The youngest one, 10, is constantly adding swirls to her letters like a user above mentioned.
    Cursive is something that I will never stop using, that the ministry of education should think twice and then again about erradicating.

  253. Thank you for a great post! It has stimulated much discussion in my household.
    As much as I love beautiful hand writing I can’t say that I use it all that often anymore. I certainly use it for journal writing (but who cares about that?) and when I leave notes for my husband (an even smaller care factor, I imagine) but I certainly don’t use it on a regular basis. If we continue to teach it, are we doing so because we’re afraid to leave the past behind (when we should be helping our kids embrace the future)?
    I thought your example of the analog clock was brilliant. It opened our eyes to the wider issue at hand. So that those who are merely indifferent to cursive writing (or frustrated with it when trying to decipher a doctor’s note) have second thoughts about the traditional analog time. Even more so if the analog clocks use Roman numerals.
    I love that your blog has invited so many different voices to give their feedback. I love that people still have individual thought, emotive and rational, and are happy to voice their opinions.
    Thank you!

  254. Wow, I completely agree with you. I learned cursive in third grade but then put it to bed as soon as we finished with the oversized triple-lined paper. Through middle school and most of high school I spent time trying to make my handwriting just like the rest of the girls in my grade, really big and bubble-like.
    As a junior in AP English my teacher simply berated and belittled every single student for their poor penmanship, so much so that she posted those old cursive letter posters around the classroom. When she returned my first essay it had a comment in the top corner, “child-like writing”. I was so embarrassed! Honestly it was the kick in the butt I needed, now people always comment on my penmanship. I worked as a secretary and was constantly jotting down messages and missives for my boss, she only wrote in cursive and appreciated my neat handwriting.
    As a college student my professors do return papers with an “incomplete” if the writing is illegible, and for the most part it is boys’ chicken scratch. I like the rule, if you can’t read what you wrote how can anyone else? Yes typing is the easy way out, but guess what? There will be times your computer doesn’t work, and then you’ll be just SOL.

  255. So true! I actually prefer hand writing everything as well. I have never liked the way my cursive looked so I don’t write in it that often, but from time to time I will just because I enjoy that idea of it. The idea of society eventually typing everything is a very possible future and I don’t like it at all. I write drafts for school and stories that i want to write more about, in a notebook not on my computer, even if i do get an urge to type every now and then.

  256. I so believe cursive shouldn’t be allow to become extinct…seems like we’re losing our core values for some irrelevant or rather less important stuff….too bad.

  257. Yes, Philippines mandates it. But personally, I don’t see the need of cursive except of having a style. Perhaps because I don’t see the difference in the flow of my ideas in typing and cursive writing. But I do like manual note-taking, but not in cursive. It’s time consuming!

  258. i completely agree with you. i’m also an educator, originally from the philippines, but now working in an international school in mumbai. although i haven’t answered the question about whether or not teaching cursive or even handwriting is obsolete, i do believe that the act of writing improves certain cognitive functions. and, what do you do when you’re computer’s not working?

  259. If you integrate penmanship with other literacy activities, the formation of letters really does make a difference in the way kids retain information. — I definitely agree with this! I believe there are stages in life where no matter how technology might try to replace, somehow, the traditional advantages would always seem to look irreplaceable. And the fact of learning how to write, and developing that skill as a child (when one starts schooling) is undeniably one good sign of growing up. This should not be phased out.

  260. Writing, and the process of translating thought to written form is different when it is hand to pen to paper…than hand to keyboard. Learning the delicate movements, then making the subtle differences in letter form is what seperates us. And for those of us who learn through tactile the loss of cursive deprives us of developing full comprehension of the letters. Perhaps I am old fashioned, or perhaps I have just valued the form too much, but some of the best things I have read have not been neatly typed, or flashed on a screen… they have been letters from home, or from my hubby…. We can;t let this slip away…. it will reduce our capacities as a society.

  261. I think the principle behind the new decision is horribly flawed.
    On a personal note, we love learning cursive at school. We felt “all grown up.”
    I write freehand mostly nowadays, but I feel the need to get back into the habit of writing in cursive. I find that my handwriting is more legible (even my freehand) when I write in cursive.
    I also think that it enables better utilisation of the brain, in terms of firing neurons and maintaining plastiticity.
    Theonly problem for me is that it will take some time to get back in the habit, and time is something I do not have right now.
    Either way, when I have kids one day I will ensure they attend a school that teaches it. Or I’ll teach them myself.

  262. I was wondering this same thing yesterday. I vote in favor of cursive, although I don’t use it. My print is barely legible, but I would write in cursive everyday to take notes during class if I could. There is so much information being thrown my way during every second of my college classes that I could catch so much more if I could just write faster i.e. cursive. I’m just too out of practice.

  263. Heaven forbid there’s a power outage or equipment failure right in the middle of typing notes, lessons or thoughts…..whatever will the poor children do? This half reminds me of the joke about the blonde who spends 20 minutes trying to unlock the car door with the remote instead of inserting the key into the lock and turning it….yet another basic manual skill to suffer atrophy through technology.

  264. Just wanted to say, I completely agree with you. I’m a teenager and I was taught cursive in elementary and now I cant even write in print. When I have to write in print, it looks silly and my spacing is weird. hen writitng cursive feels so much more formal and the flow makes it easier to write without stopping.

  265. I learned cursive in grammar school, and I use it to handscribe my stories before putting them in the computer. Also, I use it for some classes.

  266. I have a horrible-looking cursive handwriting that seems like a brawl in the pub… but I still think it looks wonderful. This is an art form that shouldn’t be disregarded.

    Plus, writing in cursive is quicker, than writing it up one letter at a time…

  267. I agree. I realize that the only thing I use cursive for is my signature. Nevertheless, it would be very sad to see something so useful fade into obscurity.

  268. I personally do not write in cursive. I haven’t since elementary school. I learned in 3rd grade and we were required to write our papers in cursive handwriting. It annoyed me since I preferred to print and I still do. My cursive is so ugly and sloppy but my printing is so neat. I get a lot of compliments on my printing lol.

    I don’t think they should stop teaching kids how to write in cursive. Just because we’re becoming more dependent on technology and a keyboard to ‘write’ to our family, friends, co-workers and teachers, doesn’t mean it’s a good reason to stop it all together.

  269. I tried to reply but I don’t know if WordPress posted it 😦 So if my reply did get posted, great. Sorry for the double reply.

    Just in case it didn’t:
    I don’t think they should stop teaching kids to write in cursive handwriting. I personally don’t like writing in cursive since it’s sloppy and ugly. I print instead and it’s way more neat and I get a lot of compliments on my printing.

    Just because we’re becoming more dependent on technology, the internet and a keyboard to communicate with our family, friends, co-workers and teachers, doesn’t mean they should stop teaching kids how to write cursive. May as well stop teaching them how to write all together.

  270. Indiana might implement it, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is going to follow suit! There are several countries out there who know the value of pen and its might. So, i dont think cursive writing is going to be any more extinct than your everyday laptop.

  271. I was wondering the same thing not too long ago. I’ve developed a hybrid of cursive and print for daily use but when I was asked to write a paragraph in cursive before taking my prep for the GRE and I couldn’t remember what “Q” looked like and it gave me the worst anxiety before the test.

    The anxiety lingered for the rest of my practice session.

    Now, is that sad or silly?

  272. Cursive’s still very relevant, I think. What’s the next debate then – if handwriting is needed at all?! If technology is to be taken as a cue, then we wouldn’t need to talk to most people next. Things like cursive keep the human element alive.

  273. Being raised in a Catholic school handwriting was one of the core classes. I never thought how important it could be until these days. I look at my 13 year old niece attending public school who can barely read any cursive and start to think what future generations have in store. One thing I love about cursive is being able to read the letters and documents my ancestors have left behind. Commonly most things are typed now and you can easily find documents such as ‘The Declaration of Independence’ in a digital format, but it’s the history that will never be digitally formatted that is, for the most part, more appreciated.. i.e a birthday card from Grandma, or letters written home from from Grandpa while serving time in Germany during WWII. AND for anybody out there still using paper and pens…. when I want to write “pretty” for my own private collection I typically use cursive.

  274. When cursive dies, I fear that coherent thought, spelling, punctuation, penmanship, grammar, and civility will die with it. There is a whole generation of children who cannot spell or construct a proper sentence, let alone communicate civilly with its elders. We would be poorer for cursive’s demise.

  275. Pingback: Cursive writing « Michael Eriksson's Blog

  276. Great post ! I agree with you 100%.
    I’d read all the comments but there are so many ! Congrats on being freshly pressed.
    The wonderful thing about cursive writing, for me, is it’s very personal nature and evolution with time. As a skill, it’s an art form, as much as a vehicle for communication. Handwriting tells much about the person’s personality and to a certain degree their state of mind, which provides insightful information.
    If I have a choice between getting a handwritten greeting card or note from a loved one or receiving a text message or email, I would go for the handwritten card any day of the week ! But, maybe I’m just an old romantic goat…
    Have a great day. I will visit your blog again for sure.

  277. Without getting too “political”…..we simply cannot let cursive go by the wayside. The USA’s founding documents are in cursive – and should future generations be “unable to read or write” in this form – it will be easy for those in power (whomever they may be) to manipulate the documents to their own benefit. Yes one can view “translations” to print or type – but let us be honest. If you cannot view and decipher for yourself what the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, etc say – it would be easy for those in power to make sections “disappear”.

  278. I’m afraid I wil have to deviate from the other comments here. Cursive may be an intersting part of the past, but why should it be necessary to teach it if practically no one really uses it? As for the free flowing writing idea, that may be true, but print is always an option too. I agree it is a sad truth that a lot of people today can neither write nor read cursive, but maybe we as a society should accept the fact that writing is taking a new turn. Perhaps it is not wise to burden the young with stylistic preerences from the past when they should be making their own stylistic choices. In short I agree with the Indiana Department of Education. Of course cursive should be open to anyone who chooses to use it, but its use in today’s world is no longer of crucial importance.

  279. Personally, when I get a hand written note (ie Thank you note) that is written in cursive it seems to me that the person put more thought into the note. I have no real explanation why, but it just seems that neat cursive seems so much more personal then neat print (or an e-mail.) Plus, even though my cursive (that usually reverts into print somewhere in the sentence and then back) is just short of atrocious I really appreciate the handwritting of someone with exquiste cursive skills. But maybe that is part of my hopeless-romantic syndrome coming out. Great post!

  280. It’s interesting that so many of us are passionate about this subject. I particularly enjoyed reading the posts from teens, who defy the stereotype of ‘texting teens”. So many people have referred to the flowing beauty of cursive, that I’m wondering why thinking is often so narrow. What if penmanship and cursive writing were blended into an arts curriculum or unit that explores the beauty of the written word? I can think of incorporating the beauty of illuminated manuscripts, original writings by famous authors, historical documents, calligraphy styles, and even handwriting analysis. I think it will be a loss for students not to learn cursive writing, which gives their writing personal expression.

  281. Pingback: Is Cursive Obsolete? (via Seconds) « Jane London

  282. When I was 12 I suddenly stopped using the calligraphic cursive we were all taught in 1st year and started using my current, printed handwriting. I had to fight my teachers who tried to get me to go back to cursive by failing me on all of my Czech exams. I couldn’t understand their point, they were just lazy and didn’t themselves want to adjust to something new. My handwriting was always easier to read than that of my classmates who used cursive. These days I’m kind of slowly reverting back to cursive, my printed letters become more and more connected. However, when I tried writing in proper cursive for pretty labels for my jam jars the result ended up decidedly unpretty. I think that we shouldn’t cling onto something traditional just because that’s what it is, there’ll always be calligraphy classes people could take, but modern printed handwriting is the way forward.

  283. For a while I wrote exclusively in cursive. Now I write in print again, but that was only because nobody else, actually that includes myself…could read it. However, I think cursive is still important because it’s unique to the individual. Personally I don’t believe in doing everything online, and a digital signature, or mechanically (re)produced for that matter, can never have the authenticity of a genuine, handwritten signature.

  284. Great post!
    I totally agree with you, cursive writing is part of a western heritage, and teaching children at a young age is crucial since it is known that children absorb the most from the ages birth – 10.
    I’m a teacher myself so I see the importance of cursive penmanship, it’ll definitely provide learning opportunities and children growing up can decided what writing they feel represents themselves.

  285. In the USA, cursive is how the old documents were written. Even on the state level. So much will be lost if the next generation cannot read the letters and documents of their elders.

  286. if we don’t teach kids to write in cursive, how are they going to know how to read cursive?

    because looking at original historical documents – or at least images of them – is a lot more inspiring than text versions

    I share your concern that by limiting expression, we limit ideas

  287. Reading through the many replies I have noticed a disturbing lack of simple grammar and spelling skills. Using “piers” for “peers”, and saying, “I have stationary” when it should be “stationery.” There has been a complete collapse of basic English reading AND writing skills. I use all kinds of digital media devices, but I know spell check has diminished my own spelling skills. If you don’t use it you lose it. If you never learn it in the first place……

    • Thanks for your comment. I have struggled with just putting an idea out there on this blog without editing it thoroughly first. When you have a full time job and are writing for yourself in the evening (not expecting this kind of traffic to a post), it’s tempting to just hit the “publish” button. On occasion I will go back and reread some posts and am aghast at what I missed. I edit those even if no one is looking. Still, I do see the quality of writing deteriorate through texting, twitter, and blogs. Hopefully, I can find some balance. I do try to ensure that my 2nd graders get their/there/they’re among others correct before they exit.

  288. To equate cursive with “writing”, or any secondary thought-forming, as some commenters here do, is ludicrous. I’m in late middle-age and can’t remember the last time I used it for anything other than a signature. I type everything, and there’s no question that I can type much faster than I could ever write in longhand. And there’s a backspace.

    Just as the writer apparently taught himself typing later on, one can learn cursive on one’s own too. The question is whether it’s a vital enough skill to make it a requirement in schools. Medieval script is beautiful too. So is Greek. So is Chinese. That doesn’t mean it should be a requirement.

  289. Marking exam papers (college-level) was a nightmare because so few students wrote legibly (cursive OR print). The idea that ‘everyone’ has access to (and/or uses) a computer/printer is inaccurate – and there are certainly times when paper and pen are all that’s available. ‘Writing’ has become a lost art – and that is a true shame. My son was refused a bank account because he couldn’t ‘write’ (cursively) his own name as a signature. He finally scrawled something (illegible) and they accepted it – but he’s going to be hard pressed to sign paperwork in the future since he doesn’t know how to ‘write’ his own name!

    • Where is it written that a signature cannot be printed? That bank wouldn’t have my account.

      Bad as many people are at just printing by hand, it is nearly always more legible than the cursive scrawl.

  290. I love writing in cursive — always have. Penmanship was highly valued in my childhood; both my parents were known for their beautiful “hands.” I learn through my hands — writing notes, copying poems, drafting documents — when I broke my right wrist some years ago I really struggled. Look at the old census documents, and you will see the value of beautiful cursive — most of them are highly legible, some not so much. Love that you are addressing this issue.

  291. I strongly support your points in the importance of writing in cursive. I have noticed many instances I will write in cursive over traditional written letters: 1.) when I want to write something personal 2.) when taking notes in a fast paced lecture 3.) trying to get ideas onto the page quickly (draft writing, business notes).

    Your point about there benign a connection to information ia cursive is as true one. As I mentioned above, it is a method I use to often retain information, especially being delivered at a fast pace. I find myself at times getting distracted by writing traditional non cursive letterforms in certain situations. To that end I often write a mix of cursive and traditional letters. This habit was gained from my mothers handwriting, which is always a mix of the two styles.

  292. Before reading this entry, I believed that cursive writing belonged in the same category as algebra: necessary to move to the next stage in learning, but irrelevant outside the scholastic setting. This post (and the linked WSJ story) convinced me the value of script. I would like to see cursive as a learning tool, but I don’t see this happening in these days of teaching to standardized exams.

    • I had similar feelings about both, but see important links to algebra too. Nurses calculating the right amount of meds based on a patient’s weight, architectcts and engineers who build stuff, the complex algorithms Amazon & Google try and perfect, boaters doing vector arithmetic when calculating speed of boat, current, and wind. I still haven’t found a use personally meaningful use for the quadratic equation, but maybe someday. If only my teachers tried to make all of that stuff as relevant as possible to a young teen.

  293. Just before my daughter started 3rd grade (last year), she tried to learn cursive at home on her own. She was mesmerized by my signature: the curves and the way the letters swung into loops and dips. She would ask me over and over to write my name and also to write other words in cursive as she ooohed and awed. She would then try it herself and get frustrated because it was more difficult than she thought. She did learn cursive in 3rd grade but not the same style I was taught and it was only taught for a few weeks. I was there one day observing and it was so rushed, I felt it was really just a waste of time. I remember when I learned cursive, it was for the full 3rd grade year and we practiced and practiced until it became second nature (okay, that’s how I remembered it but maybe because I loved it and wanted it to be second nature).

    I think because there really isn’t a need for cursive that it should be taught either by parents or classes outside of regular school. Parent’s can choose which style they want their child to learn.

  294. Pingback: Cursive writing—follow-up on reading « Michael Eriksson's Blog

  295. Don’t get me started… I increasingly fear that that the connection between brain and writing by hand will soon be atrophied. I agree with you totally. Cursive helps ideas flow.

  296. I still practice my cursive from time to time, even though I also use it in my normal writing. I like to keep my writing clear, readable, and attractive.

    It saddens me to think cursive may be dying! I surely hope it isn’t.

  297. Learnt cursive in second grade, and have been using since… it’d be terrible to see it go. but it was never really being widely used in US, was it?

  298. I was having this discussion with my wife (who is a teacher) not too long ago. She finds it odd that cursive, and a few other topics, are no longer taught in schools (NYC).

    Curiously, what did you use to learn to type 90 WPM? Please share.

  299. I was a straight A student. I never studied. I could “see” my notes written out in cursive from my notebook in my mind’s eye. I am very kinesthetic and visual. If I hear something and physically write it down I remember anything. If I listen along and just highlight text in a book or only read the material it is much harder for me to remember. There is somthing to be said for those like me that need to feel the words flow from our brains and through our hands onto the paper. I love writing. I love to print, doodle, draw diagrams and write in cursive, especially when I want to write a special note to a friend…

  300. During the 70’s, in an all girls Catholic School we had an entire class period devoted to cursive handwritting. The class was called Penmanship. We had a notebook to be filled entirely with each letter in cursive, both in capital followed by lower case. One page per letter, single spaced. There were also pages of just loops, zig zags, etc. just written over and over again. Besides beautiful penmanship, what i received from that class was the power to control my hands when doing precision work as well as the patience to do tedious work, which I no apply to many aspects of my life. Arts and crafts, cooking, baking, even doing reserach at work. I don’t think it’s just about pretty handwritting.

  301. Times have changed so quickly. I distinctly remember in second grade teachers telling us that learning cursive was important as it was more formal and professional than print and boy, I worked hard to get it right. I usually write in print for school, but I prefer cursive as it feels more “natural” to me and like you said, it lets ideas flow more easily. Even if it’s obsolete for some, it isn’t for me. I plan to teach my younger siblings and (eventual) children how to write in cursive when they’re old enough. It’s an important thing to me.
    PS–I remember reading somewhere (don’t remember where) that teaching children to write in cursive helps with their motor skills. I’m not sure if it’s entirely true, but it did help me with that!

  302. Interesting!! It appears from what I am reading here, ‘Big Brother’ has a huge following. Yes, it is vital to learn to print and WRITE in cursor
    the ABC and should continue to be required in elementary schools.

    To today’s teens and under 50 key punchers, this is not about you. This is about our second graders’ and their future in communicating with the World population.

  303. There is quite a lot of debate and opinions here (which I can’t wait to read through when I get a chance), but I just wanted to write a quick note to say that this depressed me. I hadn’t really thought about this. I always assumed that my son (17 months old) will learn cursive just like I did and my parents did. It’s kinda crazy to think that may not be the case.

  304. I had a third-grade teacher who really pushed cursive, and to this day whenever I handwrite something I do so in cursive (I should point out that third grade was about seven years ago for me). It’s faster, easier, has more room for mistakes, and does after all look better.

  305. I think it is sad. If nothing else, thank you notes and sympathy cards ought to be beautifully hand-written in cursive. It’s just the right thing to do.

  306. I’ve been writing in block letters my whole life… I hate cursive. It is often different enough between writers that it is a struggle most of the time to be able to read it. The only thing I have retained in cursive is my signature, and it is barely intelligible, like most signatures. The electronic keyboard is a Godsend as far as I am concerned, with recognizable text as a result.

  307. What I see today is the substitution of real world skills in favor of virtual world skills. That’s a terrible choice! Kids prefer playing online games or videogames against the computer instead of playing with a real friend in a real physical world. The way things goes, we are losing our personalities and going to a world of virtual emotions. Even writing in cursive we show our state of spirit, if you are nervous writing a letter to a person who you wish to declare your love to, your hands will be shaking and your letter will show this to the other person, the emotion is there, your personality is there too. That way people feel more closer to each other, the digital world is cold and brings distance between people even with the fact that it can bring down barriers making the entire world communicate. Today people is so used to the digital world that, if you have a brother or sister that has a computer and lives in the same house, it’s likely that you shold send a MSN, facebook or other kind of online message to talk to him or her instead of going to his or her room to talk in person, I’ve seen many cases. The digital world one day can make persons, non persons!

  308. Interesting question. I myself use cursive all the time, because it’s fast and easy. Writing in print and writing in cursive feel different to me and, as a writer, those differences matter.

    I suppose it may not matter so much in the future though. Most writing is done on keyboards nowadays anyway. We even sign documents online now. I suppose the future will just be pen-less.

  309. I write way faster typing but I know that cursive writing is essential. It helps your mind flowing, it is in a way liberating. And as you said, nobody needs to teach you how to type but you definitely need someone to teach you cursives. What if there´s not computer around? Will you just not write? It´s pretty stupid.

  310. the value of the tangible should be acknowledged. we want, i think, to not only live in a world where information flows to create outcomes that we want, but to live in a world that feels good and is deeply real. i am sad to see cursive being phased out of the schools, but i feel it is inevitable. it is something i have pondered recently. i write in a modified cursive script for journaling, as i find print to be much too slow and even uncomfortable for the hand. cursive was a b*tch to learn, but it taught me to see the shapes of letters and develop fine motor skills. cursive, once learned, is easier to use than printing for anything longer than two sentences.

  311. This, I must admit is a fascinating issue. I am torn, to tell the truth, between whether cursive is in fact outdated, or, as you brought up, the process of teaching it contains its value. In education i believe the most important element, as I am sure can be agreed, is process, not rote memorization. You can tell a kid to follow the scientific method, or you can show him why and how. But this most recent generation, many of whom have never even seen a floppy disk, may have lost the need to even learn the process of cursive. While I write longhand, setting me apart from most of my Gen-Y peers, most of the millenials will balk at writing out 50 pages in longhand. Perhaps typography is now a more effective kinesthetic tool to children than cursive is, and teaching that will render some of the same benefits as teaching cursive did, only in a more modern fashion

  312. What a wonderful post – let us hope that more people latch on to the idea that cursive is not simply an out of date method of communication, but rather an art and a stimulation for the brains of children everywhere.

    The art and meaning of handwritten notes and journals is far underestimated by many people today. If we teach children that basic skills can be tossed aside in favor of automation, then you are right… We must ask ourselves where the ball will stop.

    Thank you for an insightful post – this was the first I had heard of the events cited after a week away from technology.

  313. Even without the advantage of forming greater numbers of brain connexions, teaching cursive, like teaching rhetoric and poetics, shows students that structure and form are integral to the making of content: there is no rhetorical or aesthetic neutrality.

  314. As a parent I believe it still should be taught. My youngest who is 21 has the handwriting of a doctor (cant read it for the life of me). I call it scribbling. Most of his schooling was done on the computer where he can type faster than anything at about 80 words per minute. He can text even faster LOL, but ask him to sign his name and you cant read it. Sometimes I will write a blog on paper using cursive because that’s all I write in (I’m 50) and then type it into my blog. It needs to stay in the school system as do many other things they decide to get rid of.
    Now don’t get me started about math and calculators in schools, kids now days need a computer to tell them how much change to give back and lord help them if you give them something different. I went to a local store and my bill was $ 9.57 and I gave the girl a 20 and 7 cents, she couldn’t figure it out.

  315. I’m a homeschooling mother who often uses cursive and has since a young age. For me, it makes writing much faster, and of course there is the flow and ease which others have already described. As I look over my journals and writing samples of years past, I find it interesting how my cursive has evolved, and I think the differences have to do with maturity and what was going on in my life. This past year, my 7-year-old daughter asked if she could please learn cursive because she thought it was so pretty, so we spent last school year working on that. Although we are still fine-tuning her manuscript (which she abhors), she enjoys cursive because she can allow herself to be a little “messy” in letting her hand “fly around” on the page. I can tell she is beginning to feel a flow in her writing using cursive, and it pleases me to see her enjoy writing.

  316. I completely agree with not getting rid of cursive. I keep on hearing about this issue, and I noticed that the older generations are definitely better at cursive and that makes me very envious. Because it has been “dying” out over the past decades, cursive, and even print, are getting worse and worse. That and people are losing the ability to spell as easily as they used to, it is thoroughly frustrating. If they take cursive out of schools, I will teach my own kids cursive when I have them.

  317. Another reason why I homeschool – I can teach my kids whatever I want. I had my Aspergers child in public school and instead of working on her poor writing skills, they told her she should just use a computer. She’s too old to learn how to write now. She was 11 at the time. 11! WTF? It wasn’t that she couldn’t write, she just struggled with it. Anyway, I agree with you. Although my child will never have the writing of poet, I choose to teach her cursive anyway. And you know what? She likes it.

    Another ridiculous thing I think is the fact that everyone makes a huge deal out of socialization, but then everyone just sits on facebook all day. That’s not socializing. I’ve deleted my facebook and now I have a life to blog about, ha ha. Great post and congrats on being featured!

  318. Such a valid point here. I hope that cursive hand-writing is still taught as part of the core primary teaching now, as it was when I was in primary school. I still write my z’s like they are a weird number 3 below the line of the page – I’m not sure how many people would recognize one of those z’s anymore.
    With myself writing a daily personal diary, I always write in cursive, and bar from the odd couple of months when I was a young teenager, to be part of the ‘print’ crowd, did I stray from cursive.
    I will certainly continue to write in cursive as I deem my way of writing to be a part of my personality. If I lost the way of cursive, I would have lost a limb!

  319. Despite being a Brazilian who has lived in the country of origin, I notice that there is the same concern here with regard to writing. Good to know that you are concerned with such matters.

  320. I am proud to say that I write in cursive (and write handwritten pages often!) I believe that kids should learn cursive in school. It is part of learning penmanship. The excuse that kids need to learn to type instead is completely invalid. I don’t believe they need to be taught how to type in school -many probably learned to type on their own and prefer their method. Emphasis should be placed on subjects such as proper penmanship, grammar, and general writing skills instead. Thank you for the great blog post!

  321. I love this post! I have praised the merits of cursive more than once on a couple of lists I’m on. I hope in time more and more people will see just how dumbing down removing cursive from the curriculum is!

  322. I don’t care if cursive lets writers be more fluent or not, it needs to be taught because it looks a damn lot nicer than print does. Why not keep something just for beauty’s sake.

  323. I read the first paragraph and unless you are from India why do you care? Cursive has not been taught, required, optional in American schools for 40 years. Now these in America disappoint me, I learned to write cursive in middle school and it soon disappeared while I was going through highschool, so between late 1970s it happended.

  324. I will certainly continue to write in cursive as I deem my way of writing to be a part of my personality. If I lost the way of cursive, I would have lost a limb!

  325. I believe that cursive writing isn’t a severe necessity, but I do believe proper cursive writing is crucial in a professional setting. I learned like every other person with the extra lines and all, but eventually I got my own way of writing cursive the way I want too. As a lefty, it was hard to write properly because I would make the ink smear and it would not look good at all. I’m okay with learning cursive in class.

  326. Thank you for writing about this subject, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed with it! Over the years, cursive is something I have had many up and down feelings about. In third grade, I hated learning it, but I loved mastering it. Through the rest of grade school I hated that my teachers forced me to write in cursive, so I would print every chance I had. In seventh grade I decided that I hated the way my printed words looked, so I began writing in cursive again. I switched back and forth a couple more times, but I have since settled on cursive. I actually find it difficult to print legibly, now, to the point that I hate filling out forms.

    I thoroughly agree with you that students need cursive as a learning tool. Reading, spelling, and writing all go together. Cursive helps students learn to connect letters rather than separate letters, turning two difficult tasks into one interesting lesson. Furthermore, handwriting in general (print and cursive) is important to a child’s growth. Writing is (typically) done with the dominant hand, while typing is done with both hands. While writing, the dominant hand moves freely between both sides of the body. While typing, the hands are restrained to their respective sides. How many times do you see students trying to type with one hand? For reasons that I am not entirely certain of, humans need to have a dominant side of the body, and that side needs work to do. As far as I understand, our brains can make more neural pathways when we let our dominant side be dominant than it can when we use both sides. (I honestly don’t know if I am repeating anything anyone else has said. There are too many comments to read right now.) I will never say that typing is bad for students. It can be faster and more efficient, but students need to master handwriting as well, and they gain many benefits from learning cursive. Furthermore, the teachers benefit when they are not forced to erase the day’s instructions from the board because the students cannot read cursive.

  327. I don’t like how the younger generations are being educated these days. I’m not that old either but people just five years younger than me seem to be in a different world. They are completely connected to texting, computer, all these electronic devices. I think it’s too much. I think I was born in the middle of the start of all this boom — but I think as time goes on, less kids are playing outside. I remember I used to be outside almost everyday riding my bike or scooter or taking a walk but kids these days are all sitting at home in front of the computer. I don’t know if that’s true or not but that’s what I’m seeing. It’s sad. I think children should enjoy playing outside more.

    Personally, I love writing in cursive and when you’re writing something fast, yes it does help with the flow of ideas. Also, the way it looks is beautiful. I really hope it doesn’t become obsolete. Actually, I haven’t really been taught cursive either now that I think of it. The only time I was taught was in 3rd grade. Only a little bit though. Just third grade…before that I guess we were too young to be taught cursive yet, but 4th grade and on, cursive was never mentioned again. Some friends I know, don’t know how to read cursive so I guess many schools already have started not teaching cursive. 😦

  328. You have to use it to take the GRE (the test to get into many grad schools).

    • meh, only to sign an agreement about your conduct during the exam. The actual exam is completely on the computer. No writing involved.

  329. As a former Superintendent of Schools, I recently had a college professor who was aware of my school approach me with the comment, “Make sure you tell the elementary teachers that kids aren’t using cursive writing anymore.” Whether or not cursive still should be taught may become an irrelevant debate. But I remember the learning process of cursive and if done neatly and correctly, is absolutely beautiful.

  330. Great post. I didn’t think about some of the benefits it has in terms of stimulating thought and flow of penmanship, but I can definitely see the relevance. I was interviewed about a year or two ago about a study they were doing in my hometown about the relevance of cursive writing, and I think I was the only one who remembered the entire alphabet. It’s such a shame. My grandmother has the most beautiful handwriting.

  331. Cursive writing is time consuming to teach (in my kids’ school, they spent all of 3rd grade learning it!) and irrelevant today. I haven’t seen one educational reason listed in the comments above to keep teaching cursive writing – just nostalgia. The time spent teaching cursive writing would be better spent on just about any other topic. Teach cursive READING, perhaps, and teach kids to sign their names – then move on!

  332. hello, there… 🙂

    i do write in cursive and using pencils at that, too… i’ve written about a hundred posts in 11 mos., more than 80 of them handwritten first. and yes, in pencil. i think i’ll continue doing so in the years to come.

    i am amazed at the rate the children nowadays seem to take to these new technologies – why, they type so fast! they even cut and paste faster than i could whip eggs. but i do believe that technologies have their own place and their reason for being. i do not think that cursive writing should be relegated to the bin just because children have developed a very intimate relationship with the keypads. methinks that cursive writing and digital typing answer to different needs.

    i was issued a laptop at work very early on. i was also one of those who bought the earliest editions of Palmtop. and yes, i also bought a personal laptop earlier than my contemporaries. those gadgets did not reduce the esteem i hold for the basic pencil and pen.

    yours is a very apt topic. 🙂 congrats on being FP and regards!

  333. Wow, after reading this and the responses, I was unimpressed. There is not a single rational objective statement that informs me why cursive is so essential for primary school curriculum. The commnets were filled with nostalgia and fuzzy concepts and links to students creativity and writting efficiency. However, our schools are not doing enough to teach (and reach out) to young Americans to bring them up to speed on math, science, and other quantitative disciplines in comparisons to school in Asia. Students need to be taught how to think criticaly. They need to know history, geography and perhaps even some understanding of personal finance. Cursive can be torture for those who are not talented at it and pure joy- for those who are great at it…just like art. But, to mandate it at the expense of learning other subjects is absolutely irresponsible. I think all schools should allow students to pursue interest in cursive if they desire (perhaps an elective). It is certainly not a waste of time for those who apreciate it. I am dissapointed that people place thier own nostalgic ‘fuzzy’ feeling way before the needs of the child. I am happy to see that many adminstrators have not lost their way!

    • BRAVO!!! I scanned this whole thread and I couldn’t find anything that substantiated the need for cursive writing. Over the last several years I have found that I have a very good expository writing skills. One of the things I had to overcome was the “English Language People” constantly trying to box in my method of writing, like consistently using block letters. I’m sorry it’s not as pretty… It get’s the job done and it’s legible. I am now a successful engineer and manager. I didn’t need cursive to get where I am today, and it doesn’t limit my ability to think, and I must say the thoughts flow very freely from my keyboard and my hand-written block letters. Thank you very much!!! You may all move along now… There’s nothing more to see here.

  334. Wow, after reading this and the responses, I was completely unimpressed. There is not a single rational objective statement that informs me why cursive is so essential for primary school curriculum. The commets were filled with nostalgia and fuzzy concepts and links to students creativity and writing efficiency. However, our schools are not doing enough to teach (and reach out) to young Americans to bring them up to speed on math, science, and other quantitative disciplines in comparisons to schools in Asia and other regions. Students need to be taught how to think critically. They need to know history, geography and perhaps even some understanding of personal finance. Cursive can be torture for those who are not talented at it and pure joy- for those who are great at it…just like art. But, to mandate it at the expense of learning other subjects is absolutely irresponsible. I think all schools should allow students to pursue interest in cursive if they desire (perhaps as an elective). It is certainly not a waste of time for those who appreciate it. I am dissapointed that people place thier own nostalgic ‘fuzzy’ feeling way before the needs of the child. I am happy to see that many school adminstrators have not lost their way!

  335. I like old school cursive writing – just glad I don’t have to write my blog long hand though!

    Congrats on being Freshly Written, oops I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Have a great day.

    Mr. Bricks

  336. I use cursive because it is beautiful, and I like beautiful things. That’s a good enough reason for me to want my daughter to learn it.

  337. I got a laptop about three years ago and was so excited to finally be able to take notes in class on my computer, since I type faster than I write. After about three or four classes, I went back to taking notes longhand. I found I didn’t retain the information in the same way when I typed it as when I physically penned it out on paper!

    I’m living in France at the moment and everybody here still uses cursive writing on a regular basis. I had switched long ago to printing most of the time, but I’ve had so many French friends comment on little notes I’ve jotted down, or ask me why North Americans always print when cursive writing is so much “prettier”, I ended up switching back!

    • p.s. I forgot to mention that a lot of French companies require that cover letters be handwritten in cursive so that they can analyze your handwriting!

  338. I LOVE writing in cursive! They used to teach it to us in primary school, but now in high school it’s no longer required, and most people don’t even know how to write it. But I still rebeliously write notes in cursive… haha!

    Great post, with an awesome topic to match!

  339. I think cursive writing and handwriting is truly a dying art. Just like being able to write a letter, handwriting isn’t seen as something that’s truly that important. I handwrite pretty much everything I write. I learned cursive writing in the 2nd grade and I will always remember that class. I had so much fun because we created various characters out of each of the letters. I really do think students should continue to learn to write cursive, but that’s just my two cents.

  340. The cursive enables to transcribe the flow of thought. The capitals writing is more controlled. Maybe, any School Departments are more interested in educating more controlled citizens, which produce texts, instead of thoughts.
    Then, why we should write in pen, when we only need two fingers to type on a keyboard?
    In the next future, instead of writing our signature, we will type a cross.

  341. Good thought, but for me at least the argument has got two sides.

    Plus side. Hand writing – meaning with pen and ink – offers a different way of framing what we write. We express ourselves differently than with a keyboard. Personally, I often hand-write if I want a different view.

    But nobody can read that, except me. Why? Because of the down side. When I first went to primary school, I had already been taught to write by my parents. But not in the required school style. I got punished. Then it turned out I was left handed. But at that time everybody had to use fountain pens, which meant I sputtered and smeared and Palmer method loops quite badly. result? I got punished.

    The effort to get me to write with my right hand merely extended the punishment.

    Today I write by hand my own way. And my schooling, as Winston Churchill once put it, is best not mentioned again.

    I’m sure that this sort of experience wasn’t unique. And I guess pulling cursive from schools will prevent that sort of experience being repeated. But that doesn’t reduce or remove the need to know how to write by hand.

    Matthew Wright

  342. I got a student who has been brilliant and now admitted in a medical science course but he wouldn’t write cursive when I was teaching him in high school.He wrote with a good hand despite not writing in cursive.But latter I persuaded him to try cursive and he obliged making his writing more beautiful than ever.I couldn’t write myself some of the letters in cursive!

  343. Cursive is great, but so are…TYPEWRITERS! I just love them. But they’re so impractical in terms aof editing, querying, etc. *sigh*

    But don’t you just feel like such a Real Life Writer when you use one? 😛

  344. This is an excellent post! As a former teacher, I find the endangerment of cursive sad, but I certainly see both sides of the arguement. The district that I taught in, integrated the teaching of cursive with manuscript in kindergarten and cursive writing was taught through the 3rd grade year. Cursive does aid in the flow of ideas and once a child has mastered it, it can certainly make note taking faster. What I always found remarkable about cursive,was by the time students made it to my 4th grade classroom they had developed their own unique style of cursive, despite having Zaner-Bloser forced upon them for four years. Their cursive was like a fingerprint.

  345. I agree with your post. I think cursive allows you to write in a more flowing manner than that of print. It also has a certain beauty to it. Humans will still need to write for at least the next 100 years. Cursive makes reading and understanding easier and that, ultimately, is the entire point of language!

  346. I understand. My oldest son is a Lefty. For many years Lefties were forced to learn to write with their right hand and conform to society’s dominate right hand dominance. It was viewed that Lefties were mentally deficient in some way, School systems still cater to the right hand with school systems student desk are built for right hand writers. Society’s biases comes in all forms.

  347. Having devices like laptops is a relief to me. I hate my handwriting. I find it unbelievably ugly. It may sound eccentric, but as a writer I often find it distracting to my thoughts when all I can think is: That “a” is so ugly. Are you a secret serial killer?

    Despite my grandmother’s best efforts to teach me cursive at a young age, I never really took to it. I found it was just as ugly as my print handwriting. In that sense, I’m glad keyboards are everywhere.

    On the other hand, for people who don’t have the same hang up I do, I think writing by hand is very beneficial, especially to young students. The question is, do I really believe that cursive is any better for memory retention and fluidity than print writing? Well, you’ve given me something to think about now, sir.

  348. I have noticed the same trend in the schools my children have attended in several different states, no less. If cursive is not taught, many other reasons aside, how will the next generation sign their signature?

  349. Great article. I was taught from 4th to 6th grade cursive. They always told us that in Middle School you have to right in cursive all the time – no exceptions. They lied completely. You do not have to write in cursive. So as I did not write in cursive from my 2 years in Middle School, my cursive handwriting has become lack luster. I can still right in cursive but it is not great. I also always wished they had taught us calligraphy in school. I think that calligraphy is beautiful and being able to right in cursive and even the most simple form of calligraphy is such a good thing to have. I am now starting to write things in cursive so I can get it back into my hands after all these years. I think that cursive is an excellent writing style to be able to know. If you are not taught it in school you are never really going to be able to learn it because it takes a while to learn and you have to practice over and over and over again.
    I absolutely love this post. Great Job!

  350. I still write letters to mom, dad, siblings and friends. I love to write in cursive. Though I have my ipad I write my journal in cursive.I use my ipad to type in, to send emails and sometimes to write notes. I prefer to write in cursive. The flow of thoughts in the form of words – the journey is incredible though it is for a few seconds as the next thought follows. To capture it in cursive writing is the best thing to do. It is irreplaceable. I hope they wont take it off the curriculum. I hope to see all children learning to write in cursive. Thanks to my mom,dad and teachers who taught me to write in cursive and gave me lot of homework during my school days to write. When people appreciate my writing style and compliment on my handwriting, I smile and all that I can think of are those vacations when i used to sit beneath a huge tree and write my journals in cursive, penning my thoughts and learning cursive.

  351. Great article and I am completely in agreement! I write in cursive daily. Once we learned cursive in school, I dropped printing permanently. For taking notes in classes, it was much faster than printing because you don’t pick up the pen/pencil. For thank you letters, it is personal and formal. I will always write in cursive. I learned to type in school (4th grade) and to write in cursive (we started in preschool with individual letters). Both are important.

  352. At the very least, kids are going to need cursive to create a signature, which they will need for the rest of their lives.

    However, my sister, who learned cursive writing in school just like I did, “signs” her name by printing it. To me, that is not a signature at all, but then I guess an “X” could be considered a signature by some people, too.

  353. I appreciate this article, but the reality is with the digital era upon us it is a waste of time and money to teach kids cursive as a core subject. Let it be an optional; choice or an after school club and those that find value in it can continue to pursue it. For me, I never learned cursive and have been very sucessful in the business world without that particulal skill.

  354. I read an article in April about the soon-coming death of cursive and decided to revive my cursive. With a little bit of practice, I now write in cursive without any thought or effort. Notes, cards, anything. Cursive has an artistic, romantic, vintage feel to it, that you simply can’t get from print!

  355. Here’s another perspective: Both of my parents have passed away, and I still have a pretty powerful emotional response any time I run across a piece of paper with their handwriting on it. Those papers are precious to me. Somehow I don’t think my children or grandchildren will have that same response when they find a paper I printed from my computer…

  356. If I write for myself (poetry, journaling, etc) I use cursive. Print simply cannot keep up with the speed of my thoughts. For this reason alone I think cursive should be taught. Maybe someday we will be at the point where even children have electronic devices to use for writing (typing is certainly more efficient than cursive writing), but I think we are still a long way off from that. I think cursive still has a place in schools.

  357. Pingback: Article: Is Cursive Obsolete? | Seconds « Només 5 línies

  358. I haven’t run across cursive in years, but recent experience gave me cause to revisit my thoughts on it.

    I started work as a temp at a pretty big publisher a few months ago, and one of my recent projects has been the digital archival of consumer letters. These are letters we received, usually directed to specific authors, to show appreciation for published titles. No one here has ever attempted a project like this, so I’ve had a massive backlog to go through, with many letters from the 80s and 90s before e-mail was widely available.

    Most of these letters are written in cursive, and they have a texture noticeably lacking in digital communication. I’ve always been fascinated by typography, and I think it’s important that cursive still be taught in schools, if only to maintain our history and engender an appreciation for the written word.

  359. The comments above have proved one thing: If removing cursive writing would be a loss to the curriculum, then it is a far smaller loss than the ability to think critically, consider implications and make comparisons, see things in a bigger perspective, etc., that most of the commenters seem to have already suffered.

    Even the trivial (one might think…) realisation that removing cursive does not mean removing hand-writing seems to be too much for most commenters. “Advanced” topics, like prioritizing skills, appear positively outlandish: Is not learning how to write understandable and well-reasoned texts worth far more than merely being able to put down letters on paper? (Indeed, it can be argued that the latter is worthless without the former…) Why would cursive writing be more valuable and worth teaching than e.g. painting, gardening, or origami?

    (For a fuller analysis see my earlier comments and my blog posts from yesterday.)

    • Hmm…do you really think you’ll attract readers by insulting them first?

      I know I’m young, but I have yet to come across a situation in which condescension was beneficial to either/any party involved in a discussion.

      Yes, we’re online and may feel bolder because we can hide behind our computer screens and keyboards. But, please, let’s not be rude. 🙂

      • Discounting that my main goal is not to attract readers:

        I am not the one insulting anyone—they insult themselves. Further, by speaking up strongly enough, there is a chance that at least one or two pause long enough to reconsider their opinions, which would be well worth the effort of a brief comment. (If you look for something more constructive, you will find it in my earlier comments.) Further yet, my previous comment is actually a strong argument against prioritizing cursive writing: There are more vital skills that must seen to first. Look beyond the implications for the commenters and focus on the implications for the school system…

      • Again, I do not wish to argue (poor introduction, I apologize), but my view of blogs is as follows: a blog is either intended to (a) inform readers and, possibly, thereby elevate a platform, (b) to entertain the blogger and provide a creative outlet, or (c) both.

        This post most blatantly does (a), by informing readers and thus serving as a vehicle to motivate change. These readers might go to their school districts and argue for more sensical, beneficial curricula. Thus, would it not be most beneficial to provide a constructive forum? I do understand that it may be difficult to remain constructive when frustrated by comments that appear not to capture the point of the argument, but one must remain constructive to achieve one’s ends. Ask Nelson Mandela 🙂

        Okay, that’s just my shout-out from the peanut gallery. I will be quiet now!

      • As a side-note, I think that you are underestimating the constructive intent behind my comment. (Whether the effect is equally constructive is, obviously, harder to gauge. However, my earlier comments appear to have had very little effect and there is little to lose in trying something new.)

  360. I agree, Seconds. To add to your point, I believe that children in today’s world are taught that shortcuts are better. I see a clear push for children to be smarter, faster and more efficient even at a young age. In America, we are taught to capitalize on every opportunity, which leaves a shortage of such open doors for our neighbors and our successors. We are less inclined to be satisfied by each step of the journey; all we care for is the prize at the end. This mindset needs gracious correction and I think your prose does a terrific job. Cursive has been a valuable tool in the formation of many in our country including myself and for Indiana’s Dept. of Education to label it “optional” seems like the beginning of a fall down a [non-slippery] slope that we will not be able to reverse out of. My hope is that future generations will be exposed to the value of the past, to guide their efforts in the future and to illustrate small exercises of effort are required to achieve greatness. And much time to do so with integrity.


  361. hello !

    thanks for sharing your thoughts!! 🙂 today my sister and I had our 9 year old nephews pratice writing in Cursive 🙂 its a great idea to keep it teaching it – with the new tech.computers these days — its hard to use cursive— seems like cursive would be seen in a signature.
    have a great summer!

    -debi intha
    spread the love…

  362. Looks like the comment thread has moved on past the basics, on to emotional responses. (Nothing wrong with that, just that the arguments have been made.)

    vansandjones: “German handwriting is very effective, clean and simple. ”

    At least, now that they’ve gotten rid of Fraktur.

    iammybrain: “… learning, of which writing and expressing are central tenants.”

    That’s a great pun. It does work both ways (tenant/tenet).

    joe: “I never learned cursive and have been very sucessful in the business world without that particular skill.”

    I never used algebra during my career (computer programmer) (maybe once or twice, but I could have looked it up). Can we conclude that algebra can be dropped (that goes double for calculus)? One argument for algebra is that it teaches reasoning skills. But the commentors submit that cursive develops other useful skills.

  363. Looks like the comment thread has moved on past the basics, on to emotional responses. (Nothing wrong with that, just that the arguments have been made.)

    vansandjones: “German handwriting is very effective, clean and simple. ”

    At least, now that they’ve gotten rid of Fraktur.

    iammybrain: “… learning, of which writing and expressing are central tenants.”

    That’s a great pun. It does work both ways (tenant/tenet).

    joe: “I never learned cursive and have been very successful in the business world without that particular skill.”

    I never used algebra during my career (computer programmer) (maybe once or twice, but I could have looked it up). Can we conclude that algebra can be dropped (that goes double for calculus)? One argument for algebra is that it teaches reasoning skills. But the commentors submit that cursive develops other useful skills.

  364. It was great to read your post! I agree that it would be wonderful for kids to continue learning cursive handwriting. It is sad that such creative forms of self expression seem to be the ones cut from schools first of all.
    I love cursive, use it everyday in my journal and actually hand write letters still. Also, I believe that writing such as stream-of-consciousness writing wouldn’t be nearly as effective if done in any other way.

  365. I think you’re right. I was upste to realise my own handwriting went downhill without even noticing it thrue the years due to eccesive typing. Cursive writing is so much more than just nostalgia to the good old days

    Tnx for the post!
    Manu from Rancilio Silvia

  366. I think you’re right. I was upset to realise my own handwriting went downhill without even noticing it thrue the years due to eccesive typing. Cursive writing is so much more than just nostalgia to the good old days. I think i have to get back to school again.

    Tnx for the post!
    Manu from Rancilio Silvia

  367. I am a proud product of the public school system in the Philippines in South East Asia, and I remember cursive handwriting being the hardest subject I’ve ever had to take. But I can’t imagine what kind of person I would be today if I wasn’t pushed to learn it. Cursive writing for me takes a lot of patience, perseverance and personality. It could be a good form of self-discipline for children, especially because they would grow up to realize that there are things that they were forced to learn because it would help them later in life.

    As a writer, I still scribble using cursive. This may sound OC-ish, but my train of thought is as fluid as the continuous wave of my pen against paper. And cursive isn’t for people who always want to be understood. The joy of deciphering it is enough for me, especially if it’s in a letter from a friend or loved one.

  368. Pingback: Cursive: Obsolete or Essential? « Starlight Writer

  369. cursive reminds me of the horse pushcart and casette tape. outdated, inefficent, and well, just a novelty of a thing. typing and text are so much better

  370. I couldn’t agree more. If anything, learning cursive is an exercise in patience. Even though my handwriting has deteriorated over the years, I can still look back fondly on the days when people complimented me on how lovely my cursive was. Digital age or no digital age, kids still need to learn, even if they never perfect, the art of writing beautifully.

  371. Interesting post. As a teacher, I have actually had this discussion with a lot of my colleagues. A lot of them don’t see why some teachers still teach cursive writing since it’s not actually part of the curriculum (that is the Ontario curriculum in Canada, I’m not sure if it is still included in other provinces or states’ curriculum). Nevertheless, I do believe it’s still a skill that should be taught, and then kids can decide on their own if they want to adopt that style of writing as their own. And for this reason, I don’t think teachers should be forcing cursive writing on their students. For example, I know a lot of teachers (usually Grades 3 – 6) who only allow their students to write in cursive. I think it’s a more important skill to know how to read cursive than to actually be able to write in cursive.

    • Thanks for the comment. I used to teach 4th-7th graders in BC and for some reason, I never had to enforce it nor would I. They had already been taught in previous grades, and it was never an issue. I think there are lots of good reasons both for and against, and I still grapple with it. Regardless, I think meaningful play with letters or words in any form whether it’s manipulating magnetic letters, connecting their letters while writing, or typing them all on a glass touch screen; these all have benefit to building reading and writing skills. I also agree with you that after a child has been taught, they should be allowed to adopt a style of their own.

  372. Wow, there are a lot of reactions to this post! Forgive me if I repeat something that’s already been said, as I’ll admit to having skimmed the comments.

    I’m a bit dismayed to hear that cursive is no longer going to be a requirement in some schools. Two huge concerns pop out at me above any personal opinion. The first is a concern that kids who are not taught cursive will still encounter cursive writing out in “the real world.” By choosing not to teach them how to read it, are we (and by “we,” I simply mean whatever section of the educational community is involved) really willing to put them at that disadvantage? Handwritten script may not be as common as it once was, but it does still exist. Secondly, cursive handwriting has a distinct benefit for dyslexic children, a population I specifically teach. In cursive, the lower-case b and d are formed entirely differently from each other and eliminate some major issues with common letter reversals.

  373. In the name of cursive writing, generations of children have been compelled to follow a particular style of handwriting. Those who favour teaching cursive, unfortunately fail to follow that a particular child may find out their own style which is suitable for their particular brain rhythm. For them it may be better than the one the teacher imposes. For one among my five children cursive writing caused huge trauma. She was on the virge of rejecting the exercise of writing altogether. Then I intervened; I urged the schoolteachers to spare my daughter and asked her to try to write separate letters after the pattern in the print. These caused no problem. After she was a few years into writing, she invented her personal style of connecting letters by not lifting the pencil from paper between, which is the real stuff.

  374. Hello (:

    I think writing Cursive is a way to express and emphasize the individuality of each writer.
    Computer fonts don’t do that. Different fonts, but they always look the same, no matter who’s typing with them.

    Best regards,

  375. I write mainly in cursive and it has its purposes. I however agree with the decision. I don’t think it should be a requirement. In an age of NCLB where there are so many standards are stuggling with, I think leaving the teacher/school the decision is crucial. I think state standards should be simplified to a few of the most critical skills and master them rather than having so many skills that are required that the teachers are spread too thin to include their creativity and make decisions based on their students needs. I don’t feel that cursive is one of those critical skills. I feel knowing how to print and type are the basic skills that will get students through life. I have never seen a form saying “please write in cursive”. That being said, the state is not banning it, but rather stopping from requiring it.

  376. Cursive is about rhythm and flow and beat — something that the computer cannot generate visually because cursive contains the writer’s heart beat.

    Amirh (sometimes calligrapher)

  377. Amirth: “Cursive is about rhythm and flow and beat….”

    You get it. From cursive, we go to calligraphy – an art form carried to great heights in Japan, China, and the Muslim world many years ago.

  378. Pingback: In Defense of Handwriting and Penmanship | Occamblade's Blog

  379. I agree that cursive may not be as widely used anymore but I use it at least once a day. When I’m jotting things down I use cursive. My cursive is actually legible because I used to practice it back in elementary school all the time. Cursive lets individuals have their own distinct style and allows ideas to flow naturally an smoothly.

  380. From personal experience with family and friends, I would have to say that I think learning cursive helps improve the legibility of a person’s print writing and their ability to read other people’s handwriting. What if someone writes something for you in cursive and you can’t read it? This is what encouraged a friend of mine to learn cursive – she couldn’t read my writing when I sent her a card or letter.
    Also, since I love to write, I have noticed that cursive does help the flow of getting my thoughts onto paper. It helps me write faster and smoother. I prefer cursive over print any day.
    By the way (for those who think it’s only the “older” people who prefer cursive and want kids to keep learning it) I am 20 years old and I have helped kids learn cursive before and plan to keep on helping.

  381. I’ve never understood why we can’t just teach reading cursive at the very least. Many notes are still written in cursive. To not know how to read it, is sad

  382. How sad. I think cursive writing is beautiful. It’s a shame that its not as appreciated. I tend to write in print and cursive. I think there’s something creative about cursive and it should be taught, doesn’t it aid in fine motor skills as well?

  383. Thank you to all supporter of cursive writing in the education of our nation’s children. It is a sad day in education when our Departments of Education make decision based on limited understanding of the value of what they consider obsolete from the public educational system. You have to wonder what else has been eliminated and what effect it has had on our children. I doubt any of these bureaucrats (and that is who they are) are thinking about the children and what they need.

  384. I think there’s nothing wrong with teaching cursive in schools. I taught myself how to write in cursive in elementary school because it was fascinating to me. Now, (when I write on paper, which is rare), I use a combination of print and cursive. If teachers don’t feel that they need to teach it to their students, then that’s their prerogative, but don’t take away the option.

  385. Good point. My English professor says that handwriting an essay can help your thoughts become more clear because it forces your mind and writing to be in sync. Possibly, this counts even more for cursive. I don’t think cursive should be dropped either. A lot of schools are trying to go high-tech these days, but imagine what would happen if we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn’t use any form of technology, and we are helpless because we didn’t learn basic skills in school.

  386. Too many of the basics are going by the wayside, or at least the attempt of “trashing” the basics seems to be running amok.

    Everyone should be able to write a letter the old-fashioned way. I don’t recall it taking a terribly long time to learn, and the pride that went along with learning cursive was an added benefit.

    Great post!

  387. This links really well with a blog I am just writing on the 3R’s-VS-the 4C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking.) I have come to the conclusion that despite the advocates of the 4C’s approach to learning, they have all been a part of our education systems for a long time – it’s just the method of doing them which has changed. Seriously, when has “communication” ever been unimportant? The former without the later, and vice-versa would simply not work. Are we going to have a bunch of people who are iliterate as soon as there is a powercut?!

  388. My high school students have never been exposed to cursive. They asked me one day if I could write “in that weird, swirly way.” When I wrote the notes in cursive, they could only dicipher a few words. I was really surprised.
    It’s unfortunate that policymakers have jam packed so much into the elementary curriculum that something like cursive has to be sacrificed. However, in my opinion, if it leaves room for more important things like math skills and reading comprehension, so be it.

  389. I think cursive is obsolete. I write by hand often, but never use cursive. Teachers spend years making us perfect a handwriting style that I only use when I sign my name. What a waste! Let teach kids empathy, how to balance a check book, and how to prevent pregnancies and STD’s instead.

  390. Yes. Cursive is obsolete. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but as a subject to be taught in our schools, it’s a waste of time when one considers everything that is required in our schools these days.

    Just MHO

  391. I’m excited to have found your blog. Your ideas are inspirational! I agree that cursive is an important skill that children can learn as soon as they begin to write and it is easier, more flowing than print. Writing style is an individual choice too. In addition to what has already been said, there’s nothing like taking a pencil and paper in your hand and writing at your own leisurely pace. I feel it could fall into the area of The Arts as well. Hence, language arts. And as for it becoming obsolete, imagine the possibilities for the rare and unique individual in the future who will have the ability to write and do so beautifully when everyone else will lack the skills to do so. You have inspired me to write about a topic I love. Thank you.

  392. “Will a simple handwritten note look like hieroglyphics to the next generation?”

    That’s a good question. Since language is always changing, the same could be asked of our current way of speaking to generations to come. I did a blog about a slang word I couldn’t understand and how I was devastated, at first, of the fact that me, someone from the hip hop generation, was becoming my parents, who I once thought were uncool and unhip. A blogger responding to that post asked if future generations would need translating software to understand my blog (almost like our generation needs some kind of translation of the Old English).

    But back to your post, I completely agree with you. Even though we abandon cursive because of knew electronic devices, I still sign my name at the bottom of a bill every time I go out to eat, when I’m signing doing an electronic signature for a package mailed to me, and when I sign a receipt for the store clerk. So cursive is still relevant to me. Can you imagine printing on everything.

    I use cursive when I’m taking notes (I was a staff writer for a newspaper, and now I’m a blogger that still covers events or issues). If printing is walking, then cursive is running. I do agree that writing in cursive allows the writer to keep up with their thoughts in a way that print does not.

    Thanks for this post!

  393. I think this is a horrible idea. I am 21 years old and I absolutely love using my computer and my phone and everything else that can make my life a bit more simple. But what will I not love about it soon? When it pretty much makes everything completely and entirely unnecessary. Writing is encouraged to be completely typed and printed. Why? Because professors complain that our penmanship isn’t legible at all so they send us off to a computer where programs like Word correct our grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure. What are we learning? To depend on something else for everything.

    A while back Reader’s Digest wrote a section on how our handwriting was pretty much turning to garbage because so many of this generation could barely hold a pen anymore. I went ahead and discussed it a little further here:

    The digital age is great. But it should not rule out everything else that has been taught over the years.

  394. Just because we abandon a STYLE of handwriting, doesn’t mean we abandon hand written things in general. I write and send something in snail mail almost every single day, but it is never in cursive, always in print.

  395. could someone post an example of a handwritten note that has been printed as quickly as a cursive one? Would it look like something written by someone with learning difficulties? Is that an image one wants to convey to the rest of the world who write in cursive? Only asking….

  396. Handwriting matters … But does cursive matter?

    Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citation on request.)

    Reading cursive still matters — this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.

    Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don’t take my word for this: talk to any attorney.)

    Yours for better letters,

    Kate Gladstone — CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
    Director, the World Handwriting Contest
    Co-Designer, BETTER LETTERS handwriting trainer app for iPhone/iPad
    6-B Weis Road, Albany, NY 12208-1942 USA • telephone 518-482-6763

  397. I feel handwriting is important for children to learn.
    It’s faster, easier on the hand and has a unique personal style.
    The more we learn the better. I find it can be relaxing if you write as slowly and as smoothly as you can. It’s just the opposite of sending a text message with your two thumbs jerking back and forth as if having a seizure. Abbreviating and using numbers for words ( “2” for two or too or to) is not as precise. It substitutes speed for spelling and grammar.

  398. Kate: (If I may be a little facetious): Shorthand is even faster, and eminently legible to another shorthand-writer.

    I appreciate the legality of illegible signatures (see doctor’s prescription forms), but I have doubts about a block-capital signature. On the other hand, “X” was recognized for a long time (I don’t know if “make your mark” still qualifies.)

    (Disclaimer: I haven’t used cursive (expect for my signature) in many years. I think part of the reason was simply using a keyboard more and more.)

    “They join only some letters,…”

    I join TH and CH when I print. I’ve even taken to abbreviating “the” with the Greek theta in personal notes.

    I think the thing we should consider when asking whether cursive is obsolete (as is the German Fraktur) is what the intended use is. For note-taking: shorthand if you have it, otherwise, print. If you’re writing a letter to someone (some people still do, I’ve heard), cursive, with a fountain pen if possible. It gives a personal touch.

    • Actually, you can still “make your mark.” You just have to do it in front of two witnesses and a notary public. Otherwise, the mark will not hold up as a valid signature.

      I believe cursive should still be taught, but I’ll admit I would love to know shorthand for note-taking. It would make taking dictation loads easier.

  399. Anthony, thank you for the article. I see that a lot of readers have weighed in on the topic and I will throw my hat into the ring too. As a child, I struggled ruthlessly with cursive my results were embarrassing. In high school I made a redoubled effort to improve my writing using the same tools I was given in elementary school. While my writing would win no awards it is fast and legible. I should also mention that I learned to handle a keyboard at young age though back then we called them typewriters. No dinosaur jokes…. I’ve heard them all! Many commenters have linked cursive writing to thought flow and creativity. I couldn’t agree more. Communication is an important aspect of core education. Cursive is a form of communicating.

    There’s my two cents.

  400. Rick: I had a few typewriters, too. (That’s another thing kids don’t know about, like “clockwise” and “rotary dial telephones” (“You mean you couldn’t take it outside?”) Not only typewriters, but if you wanted a copy, there wasn’t a button for that.

    There was carbon paper.

    Ooops – another one for my list.

    I even had one of my typewriters converted to the Dvorak keyboard. I wish now I’d kept it. (It was a bit faster.)

    I’ve got mixed feelings about how cursive improves the flow of ideas. I’ve been using keyboards for so long now, I don’t think I’d be able to write a long piece on paper. (Yellow pads, maybe….)

    On the screen, you can back up, change words, move paragraphs around…..

    One of the most distressing things abut typewriters was getting to the last line and making a mistake.

    However, the thought about hand-writing brings up a whole ‘nother topic – one that might be in our gracious host’s purview: the importance of sketching to get your ideas down on paper. If you’re explaining something mechanical to somebody, it helps immensely if you can draw a few diagrams. It also helps yourself when you’re thinking about things.

    On the other hand, the fact that we have prehensile thumbs is proof that we were meant to use iPhones.

  401. This is getting to be a long thread. Here’s one more thing. This just came across the news:

    “New calligraphy classes for China’s internet generation
    Schools in China have been told to run more classes in calligraphy because computer use and text-messaging are ruining children’s writing style.”

    An earlier story, from a few months ago, told how young Chinese are forgetting how to write the characters.

  402. Yes! I hope so! I hate cursive! It’s hard to do. I always writing in print. It much easier for me. The only thing that I do cursive, is sign my name on the papers… Thanks for sharing!

  403. I’m still younger than 50 and if a high school senior turned in a paper written in block letters in my day it would be the equivalent of a high school senior of today’s generation saying at a party, “I’d like some apple juice in a sippy cup, please.”

    In other words, writing in printed characters is for my generation something extremely juvenile, since no elementary school child would dare revert back to block letters after third grade. It would have been too embarrassing.

    And why would anyone want to slow down their handwriting with such erratic movements anyway? After having exerted the effort to learn a faster way of writing it would be nonsensical: stopping, picking the pen up, finding a different place to touch down on the paper, stopping again, etc. It would be the same as saying, “I don’t want a non-stop flight from LA to NY! Book me a flight where I have to change planes in Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, and DC.”

  404. Pingback: Odds and ends | Suddenly they all died. The end.

  405. If you dont know how to handwrite, how are you going to communicate when all the technology is destroyed and we have to go back to the old days! America is DEGENERATING! I used to have a lot of trouble with printing all my letters were backwards but HOW ARE YOU GOING TO READ THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO READ HANDWRITING AND EVERYTHING ID DESTROYED IN THE GREAT DISATER!!!!!!?>!!!?!!!

  406. I tracked down the study cited in the WSJ: it turns out the paper mis described it. The study didn’t involve cursive at all — it was a study of preschoolers’ brain activation during print-writing the alphabet versus typing the alphabet. Print-writing came out ahead — and the study’s author (whom I also tracked down) tells me she’s getting fed up with how often this is misquoted in the media as “a cursive study” whenever someone thinks tat would attract more readers/viewers than an accurate report might do.
    In any case, here’s my own “take” on te matter, as a handwriting teacher and handwriting contest director —

    Handwriting matters … But does cursive matter?

    Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citation: Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY. 2001: on-line at — and there are actually handwriting programs that teach this way.)
    Reading cursive still matters — this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.

    (In other words, we could simply teach kids to _read_ old-fashioned handwriting and save the year-and-a-half that are expected to be enough for teaching them to _write_ that way too … not to mention the actually longer time it takes to teach someone to perform such writing _well_.)

    Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don’t take my word for this: talk to any attorney.)

    Yours for better letters,

    Kate Gladstone — CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
    Director, the World Handwriting Contest
    Co-Designer, BETTER LETTERS handwriting trainer app for iPhone/iPad

    • Thnks for your feedback, insights, and links. I will have to look into this a little more as I plan this year’s handwriting work for my second graders.

    • Wow! It took a while, but it was worth the wait. I can’t understand why anyone would question writing (even printing) over typing engaging brain activity. I suppose though, that a “study by experts” is always helpful.

      PS: Great site! ! ! (We almost had a state named “Mesconsin”!)

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