Elementary students should still be taught cursive

Delaney Bryson, Writer

Sitting in her third grade classroom, a young girl is learning how to write in cursive. While she strings letters together into words and sentences, she occasionally glances to her side where images of every cursive letter are hung neatly on the wall. As she does this, she is not only memorizing the cursive alphabet, she is developing many other important skills that will benefit her later in life. All students should be provided with the same opportunity to obtain these benefits.

In an age where computers and keyboards are used more than ever before, handwriting, especially cursive, is beginning to fade into the background. According to a study conducted by Really Good Stuff, 41 percent of elementary school teachers no longer incorporate cursive writing instruction into their curriculum. Following national Common Core standards, Michigan no longer requires the teaching of cursive in elementary school. Cursive has been pushed aside to make more room for tech classes and SAT prep. Although it is important for students to learn these subjects, cursive is crucial because it teaches so many skills that are harder to learn from other things.

Taking this away from students is unfair, as they will have disadvantages compared to students who did learn cursive when they were young. So much pressure is put onto young students to learn critical thinking skills, they barely get the chance to have a thorough understanding of the basics. If elementary school teachers were to slow down and take their time teaching basic learning skills such as proper handwriting, students would have an easier time developing their critical thinking skills. A study conducted by the University of Washington shows that there are distinct brain patterns associated with printing, typing, and cursive writing and each has its own distinct outcome. Students who can write in cursive are able to develop more ideas in a smaller period of time, are better readers and have better working memories overall. Learning cursive also significantly improves motor skills and teaches patience and perseverance.

For decades, students in second and third grade have been taught to read and write in cursive. It is a classic form of handwriting that has been consistently used throughout history. Those who have not been taught how to read cursive will struggle to read and understand important documents that are written in cursive and will not have a proper signature, which is something everyone should have. Learning cursive also expands students options when it comes to handwriting, so those who do not prefer printing have an easier and faster alternative.

Although it is important to learn all forms of writing, physically being able to form cursive letters and sentences further develops skills that give students advantages later in life. No student should be deprived of this opportunity.