Cursive writing: Use it or Lose it OR Keep your “John Hancock”

On October 11, the Washington Post carried an article called “The Handwriting on the Wall.” The main points were the following:

  • US students no longer get much instruction on handwriting (and therefore struggle to read and write it) because the curriculum is packed with other priorities.
  • Scholars who study original documents say the demise of handwriting will diminish the power and accuracy of future historical research.
  • The neurological processes that direct thought, through fingers, into written symbols is a highly sophisticated one.

The article goes on to say that “several academic studies have found that good handwriting skills at a young age can help children express their thoughts better-a lifelong benefit.”

I, for one, am in favor of teaching both cursive writing and proper keyboard skills. Having watched students try to re-read their own writing with difficulty, whether cursive or print, and having watched students “hunt and peck” on a keyboard, I think the problem all comes down to being in a hurry – too much of a hurry to write carefully or to practice typing. Consequently, we pay for it the rest of our lives.

If you are reading this, take a few short seconds next time you have to pick up a pen or pencil to do it thoughtfully. Perhaps a historian will find your “John Hancock” later and make some assumptions about our culture. Let’s hope the historian makes the right ones.

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1 Comment

Filed under Just thinking

One response to “Cursive writing: Use it or Lose it OR Keep your “John Hancock”

  1. I definitely need to practice my “John Hancock.” I’ve yet to perfect my “new” last name 🙂

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