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How important is it for students to learn cursive writing?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 15, 2013

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Photo of Lane Eisenbart

“Not very important, but if they don’t know it, they can’t read it, and that would be problematic.”

Photo of Vincent Artman

“It is moderately important. There are cases where you might not have access to computers and if your handwriting is illegible you would be at a disadvantage.”

Photo of Ben Ozonoff

“I don’t think it’s that important, unless you’re pursuing a career that involves writing.”

Photo of Cody Stuber

“Pretty much not at all. It seems like it’s a lost art. It looks pretty, though.”


Leslie Swearingen 4 months, 3 weeks ago

After watching Walking Dead last night I am thinking that in the event this happens I should grab a bunch of journals and pens and start writing about what is happening so that later on people will know.


Richard Heckler 5 months ago

"I learned cursive in kindergarten, and I certainly could not have learned a second language nearly as quickly, that's for sure, as one commenter suggested."

How do you know that?


Bob Smith 5 months ago

Bickering is alive and well on this award-winning website.


Leslie Swearingen 5 months ago

It is gorgeous, thank you Andreas for telling us about it. Okay you told Ron but now that I have looked into it I find this fasinating.

It is gorgeous, thank you Andreas for telling us about it. Okay you told Ron but now that I have looked into it I find this fasinating. by Frankie8


Andreas Moeller 5 months ago

Ron Holzwarth, try looking up deutsche schrift on wikipedia and have it translated to "German cursive" . Its also called Kurrent or Sütterlin and was a type of cursive writing, with similar version used in Scandinavian countries and in Austria. While abandoning that helped unify reading/writing with other European and non-European languages I find it hard to believe that not teaching cursive writing and reading at all is a step in the right direction.


Richard Heckler 5 months ago

Computers and like instruments are wonderful with electricity at our disposal. Suppose it were not? Batteries become scarce?

What schools are not demonstrating cursive writing? Our children have learned cursive which includes our 17 year old also the youngest.

Printing is fine but a tad slower.

I say keep cursive and teach second or third languages at the same time cursive instruction begins.

Why was this question posed on the street? What's up?


Rae Hudspeth 5 months ago

Why teach children how to color inside the lines, or draw, sing or play music? Cursive writing may not be "necessary" but it is a beautiful art to master, and there's no reason why a lack of mastery should be a reason to not teach an art.

Besides, how will those new doctors ever be able to write an illegible prescription without having at least the fundamentals of writing, lol. There are some drugs that still require a handwritten Rx.


Addie Line 5 months ago

My kids learned cursive but schools seem more concerned with them being good at typing, a skill they will actually need day to day, as we transition more and more to a more computer based society. Think of things like all electronic medical records...and when was the last time you submitted a college paper in handwriting? It's a skill they should learn but typing is more relevant.


Pius Waldman 5 months ago

I am a retired teacher mainly in the 5th to 8th grade. One summer I went to Greeley Colorado and as part of a Language Arts class was introduced to teaching cursive writing. I started school in a one room for all grades 1-8. We were taught cursive even in the early grades and I can't remember even doing manuscript. Even though there are computers to write I would encourage teaching cursive either the 3rd grade or 4th grade. Name signatures by some are intended to be unreadable. As for me learn to write cursive. OK


Ron Holzwarth 5 months ago

It seems that the subject of cursive writing will never die. This is a repeat of a comment I made on this site on November 12, 2012:

A friend of mine's mother was a UK bride, and after they were married, her father did some graduate studies in London for a period of time. After my friend moved from the US and before she enrolled in school at about the 4th or 5th grade, she had to undergo testing to determine her grade level.

She did fine in every subject except one. Cursive handwriting.

So, she was flunked for one entire year, and studied how to write neatly and properly, using pen or pencil on paper, for hours on end.

Today she is in her 50s, and is frequently complimented on her beautiful and perfectly legible handwriting skills. To say the very least, she was not pleased to be flunked for an entire year in elementary school over that, but today, she does not regret it in the least.

And, in case any of you have ever wondered why letters you might receive from the UK are so beautifully written, now you know why.


John Spencer 5 months ago

So people will print their signatures in the future? Sad.


Duane Nevins 5 months ago

I don't think they should be learning cursive writing. They should obstain from using swear words altogether!


Julie Craig 5 months ago

Well, if you can't read it, you'll have to have a translator to read some of our historic documents or letters. I for one, think it's still important for that reason and to also have a real "signature" on documents. It doesn't take long to study and learn cursive.


Leslie Swearingen 5 months ago

I cannot imagine any professional writer sitting down and writing some six hundred pages by hand.

To me doing all my writing on a computer just makes sense and it is good for the environment, far less messy. If you want to change something you just highlight it and cut it out, or highlight, copy and paste something to a new location. No pieces of crumpled paper on the floor, no trying to decypher bad handwriting or reading paragraphs followed by scratched out lines.

I make my shopping lists on the notepad on my phone and use the calculator to make sure I am staying within the budget.

Teaching cursive writing? Fergitaboutit!


John Graham 5 months ago

I find it odd people are against learning cursive. From grade school through high school kids are required to learn a variety of subjects in order to have a well rounded education. The argument being we don't know what you will be as an adult so we need to teach you a wide variety so you have a good fund of knowledge about the basics. It doesn't always turn out that way but that is the concept. In college we were repeatedly told we had to take courses outside our major in order to have a well rounded education. The argument being even if that humanities course didn't directly factor into a chemistry degree, it would help you be a better person. Learning how to write in a manner other than block letters like a second grader can't be considered a waste of time. Just because calculators are common doesn't mean children shouldn't learn how to do math with a pencil and paper either. Maybe people don't think their children need a well rounded education any more.


Roland Gunslinger 5 months ago

The above posters don't realize that new communication methods replace old communication methods. It's not dumbing down, it's moving on. How much do you know about writing html code or using new technology compared to your average 18 year old? I bet they surpass you by miles... yet they're the ones that are dumbed down.


Wayne Kerr 5 months ago

Sam, I agree, by not teaching basic reading and writing skills American kids are being dumbed down. Let's face it, most American schools seem more concerned with how well their sports teams do than how many students excel in math, science, foreign languages, or have advanced reading and writing skills. Sad.

Here's a future conversation I can imagine happening between a grandmother and her nephew.

Grandmother, "Didn't you get my note?" Kid, "Yeah, I saw it, but I wasn't sure what it said, it was written in some weird language or foreign font I've never seen before. If it was so important, why didn't you just text me?"


Bob Smith 5 months ago

In the future, people will be able to type 60 words a minute using only their thumbs on a keyboard the size of a playing card but will be unable to read or write cursive.


Sam Harris 5 months ago

wow talk about these people not knowing how important cursive writing is, especially in regards to cognitive development. We are becoming dumbed down by technology!


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