Many argue that cursive is an obsolete skill in today’s technology-driven world. What is the best way to approach handwriting instruction in schools? Should cursive instruction be replaced with technology?
Handwriting, both manuscript and cursive, are important foundations in children’s development of thinking, language, and memory. Studies have repeatedly proved that writing verses typing stimulates the connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain in areas of memory and language. In a 2014 study from The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking, students who hand wrote their notes outperformed their typing peers on conceptual questions in three separate studies. However, is it necessary to teach both?
Hidden handwriting benefits
“I don’t want my children wasting their time on something they will never use,” is a common phrase I hear. However, what these parents are not taking into account are the hidden benefits to children of written expression.
All children develop their own type of writing by the time they enter middle school. The method they choose for taking notes and writing is the fastest and most efficient method for them. Differentiation within education allows children the freedom to study with the learning method that best suits their brain development. If we eliminate cursive in support of more technological pursuits such as coding, we will be handicapping a generation of young learners.
Teach it and let the students decide
Schools should make a little time in their curriculum for cursive instruction. Just as we support music, art, technology, and physical education within our schools, we must include this learning tool as a foundational stepping stone for students to make discoveries about themselves and how they learn.
In your child’s school, typing should not replace handwriting instruction. Studies show that these two skills activate very different parts of the brain. In a study conducted by Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at the University of Washington, they found that neural development increases in language, memory, word recognition, and emotion with handwriting verses typing.
Easy methods for teaching handwriting
If you are looking for simple and easy resources to practice handwriting at home or school, check out Evan-Moor’s Daily Handwriting Practice. Available for grades K–6, Daily Handwriting Practice is available in four titles: modern manuscript, traditional manuscript, traditional cursive, and contemporary cursive. Daily writing exercises help students master handwriting skills in 15 minutes a day or less.
What does the research say?
Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.