Why cursive handwriting matters?
With computers emerging as the primary source for writing, many teachers feel teaching cursive writing is not necessary and is outdated. A large majority of teachers have come to believe the time would be better spent teaching keyboard skills. Many students and parents, however, believe that teaching cursive writing is still very relevant and should not be so quickly dismissed.
Cursive writing seems to be making a comeback, at least in some states in the U.S. As of 2016, 14 states required cursive instruction. And in the autumn of 2016, the nation’s largest public school district, New York City schools, began encouraging cursive writing instruction in the curriculum. Research has shown that cursive writing activates a different part of the brain than regular writing does. At the age cursive is taught, around 7 or 8 years old, these skills can be very beneficial in furthering motor skill development.
By learning cursive through consistent, repetitive practice, a child taps into a multi-sensory experience. This requires the integration of fine motor skills and dexterity through movement control. Along with visual and tactile abilities, cursive improves brain activity and thus, thinking. Writing by hand improves letter recognition, which has shown to be the primary predictor of reading ability by age five. The region of the brain responsible for reading ability is not stimulated during typing or visual practice. “The brain’s “reading circuit” of linked regions that are activated during reading was activated during handwriting, but not during typing,” William R. Klemm wrote in a 2013 article in Psychology Today.
Research has indicated a unique relationship between handwriting with the brain as it related to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington reported children were able to “write more words, faster and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.”
It is suggested that cursive handwriting provides benefits to brain development which are similar to learning to play a musical instrument. Not everybody can afford music lessons, but everybody has access to a pen or pencil and paper. Not giving a child a computer could be seen as a blessing in disguise!
Here are the 6 benefits showing why cursive handwriting matters and is preferential to printing and/or typing:
- Improves fine motor skills: Cursive “builds the neural foundation of sensory skills needed for a myriad of everyday tasks such as buttoning, fastening, tying shoes, picking up objects, copying words from blackboards, and most importantly, reading,” according to Candace Meyer, the CEO of Minds-in-Motion, Inc.
- Increases hand-eye coordination: Glancing back and forth from the example letter and where they are writing improves this skill. This sharpens mental effectiveness: The right and left cerebral hemispheres are simulated through cursive in ways typing or printing does not.
- Increases retention of information: Studies have shown that students remembered information better when they transcribed in cursive than when they printed it or used a keyboard. Students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, etc. have discovered great success when learning cursive. Cursive writing also results in fewer letter reversals, which are common with dyslexics.
- Better spelling: Practicing cursive has been shown to foster a higher level of spelling memory. The ability to master the skill of writing clearly and fluidly improves the students’ confidence to communicate freely with the written word. Cursive writing leads to better spelling because words are visualized as units rather than separate strokes.
- Individualized expression: Tone, emotions, feeling are effectively conveyed. Deciphering old documents: Reading diaries, journals, letters of their loved ones and original historical documents. Having a unique, legible signature and proof of identity is crucial for signing cheques, forms, contracts and other legal documents.
- Cursive writing improves reading: It is claimed that cursive handwriting dynamically engages widespread areas of both cerebral hemispheres because cursive letters are more distinct than printed letters and children may learn to read more easily, especially dyslexics.
Cursive handwriting builds self-confidence, self-discipline, attention to details and memory skills. The Magic Link handwriting programme teaches cursive handwriting in a clear and structured way. It enables all children, whether they are right or left-handed, to learn this crucial and essential life skill.