The Common Core State Standards does not require children to learn how to write in cursive. However, the ‘Back-to-Basics’ law signed in North Carolina in 2013 will require elementary students to write and read in cursive. (This bill also requires students to memorize the multiplication tables – Hallelujah!!)
Even though, a lot of us see no relevance or purpose behind spending time on teaching children handwriting, let alone cursive, there is ample research that provides benefits of writing in cursive, that is hard to ignore. Here’s a few obtained from various resources listed at the end of the article:
- Cursive writing improves brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory (handwriting dynamically engages widespread areas of both cerebral hemispheres. Virginia Berninger, a researcher and professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says that brain scans during handwriting show activation of massive regions of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory)
- Learning cursive should train the brain to function more effectively in visual scanning
- Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing
- Physical act of writing in cursive leads to increased comprehension and participation
- Students who wrote in cursive for the essay portion of the SAT scored slightly higher than those who printed, which experts believe is because the speed and efficiency of writing in cursive allowed the students to focus on the content of their essays
- Writing by hand engages the brain in learning more than typing
- Children write more words, faster, and express more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard
In The Banyan Kids, children in grades 2 and higher are encouraged to practice cursive writing and to write in cursive as much as possible. Children in Kindergarten and 1st grade are also encouraged to pay attention to their handwriting and are helped to write better through the use of handwriting books, proper pencil grip, etc.
Sitting down to mark something that has messy handwriting and scribbling all over, instantly puts me in a bad mood! This doesn’t just happen to me. I remember my high school teacher telling us that neat handwriting alone will have us scoring much higher as it puts the marker in a good mood when marking a paper!
“Even legible handwriting that’s messy can have its own ramifications, says Steve Graham, professor of education at Vanderbilt University. He cites several studies indicating that good handwriting can take a generic classroom test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad penmanship could tank it to the 16th. “There is a reader effect that is insidious,” Dr. Graham says. “People judge the quality of your ideas based on your handwriting.”