Cursive and World Peace

Wow.  I got a rather lengthy comment today from a reader who took offense at a post I wrote last September about our nation’s move towards eliminating cursive writing lessons.

Apparently the lack of cursive lessons will mean that we can’t communicate in other countries, will be unable to write receipts if the power goes out, shows our laziness and bad manners,  and is why we’ll never have world peace!

Wow!

Ya know, in other countries they don’t use the same cursive that we do, you can print receipts and… well, I’m not even sure how to answer that world peace one.

Apparently, if my children don’t learn cursive they also will not be able to use screwdrivers.  Huh.  You learn something new every day!

Check out the original post and the responses here (the last one is the recent one).

Incidentally, both of my girls have happily taught themselves cursive by now, so the world is at least a little safer.  😉

What do you think?

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10 thoughts on “Cursive and World Peace

  1. I’m getting ready to head out the door and didn’t have time to read the entire response. I got as far as “Cursive writing was taught not only for speed but also to provide a standard from which to work when trying to decipher another person’s writing.” Ironically, I am reading John Holt’s book Learning All the Time. In that book he talks about a little study he did to see if cursive writing is actually faster. He used his students and himself as test subjects. He found that every time printing was faster. Every time. He did state the reason we started writing that way…but I don’t remember the exact reason. I do know that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Isn’t printing a heck of a lot easier to read anyway?
    .-= Shady Lady´s last blog ..Climbing the walls… =-.

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  2. I totally agree with being able to READ cursive, but write it? It’s a dying form of communication. The reality is that schools cannot teach everything, and this seems a reasonable place to cut curriculum. As for world peace, didn’t both world wars take place when cursive was the dominant form of communication? Just saying…
    .-= Risa´s last blog ..Morning Nature Walk with Daegan =-.

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  3. Wow.
    That’s got to be just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever read, from the first fatally flawed argument that printing exercises gross motor skills while cursive exercises fine motor skills (umm…I do believe we use the exact same muscles for both kinds of writing), all the way through the long, incredibly twisted path to the illogical, unintelligible …what? conclusion was it?
    Somebody has way too much time on their well-muscled, cursive-loving hands.
    .-= lapazfarm´s last blog ..Not in the plans =-.

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  4. I’m still “on the fence” about teaching cursive, but I know for sure that my daughter wasn’t ready for it when her ps introduced it in third grade. Now that we’re homeschooling, I’ll wait and see if she shows any interest. I always enjoyed using cursive in school because it seemed pretty and grown-up, but my daughter finds that concentrating on making the letters correctly gets in the way of what she’s trying to communicate.

    Of course writing legibly is important, but it does seem like there are better ways to invest our time than learning a “fancier” way to write.

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  5. My 10 yr old practices cursive because she likes the way it looks. But, when she writes stories, poems, etc. she prints. So, it’s pretty much a “fun” thing to do. She really enjoyed your link on Pi Day (which I confess I didn’t know anything about).
    .-= Children of Eve´s last blog ..Girl’s Day 2010 =-.

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    • My 10 and 11 y/o girls like to write in cursive too (and lately calligraphy) and it is fun! They write in print when they’re in a hurry or writing a lot, too, though. As for me, I write in cursive most of the time and I write very fast — but I type much faster! 🙂

      I’m glad your daughter liked the Pi Day stuff! We really had fun with it too.

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  6. Handwriting matters … But does cursive matter?
    Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree. (Citations appear below)
    When following the rules doesn’t work as well as breaking them, it’s time to re-write and upgrade the rules. The discontinuance of cursive offers a great opportunity to teach some better-functioning form of handwriting that is actually closer to what the fastest, clearest handwriters do anyway. (There are indeed textbooks and curricula teaching handwriting this way. Cursive and printing are not the only choices.)
    Reading cursive still matters — this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.
    (In other words, we could simply teach kids to _read_ old-fashioned handwriting and save the year-and-a-half that are expected to be enough for teaching them to _write_ that way too … not to mention the actually longer time it takes to teach someone to perform such writing _well_.)
    Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over signatures written in any other way. (Don’t take my word for this: talk to any attorney.)

    CITATIONS:

    /1/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub.
    THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HANDWRITING STYLE AND SPEED AND LEGIBILITY.
    1998: on-line at jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/27542168.pdf

    and

    /2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer.
    DEVELOPMENT OF HANDWRITING SPEED AND LEGIBILITY IN GRADES 1-9.
    1998: on-line at ustor.org/stable/pdfplus/27542188.pdf

    (NOTE: there are actually handwriting programs that teach this way. Shouldn’t there be more of them?)

    Yours for better letters,

    Kate Gladstone
    Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
    and the World Handwriting ContesHandwritingThatWorks.com

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