Elementary students are still learning cursive


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Emmy Johnson, Writer

Most high schoolers remember being taught cursive throughout elementary school, primarily in third grade. However, with curriculum changes in recent years, many wonder if elementary students are still learning cursive, which they are.

A new program called BenchMark Advance paired with Handwriting Without Tears ensures students learn cursive in an effective way. Starting in the second grade, students learn basic lowercase letters. Advancing in third and fourth, they begin learning how to write essays in cursive. By fifth grade, students will know how to write in cursive naturally. 

“BenchMark and Writing without Tears is an easy way of learning. Its focus is making sure our students aren’t frustrated and are learning how to write in a way that makes them comfortable,” Heidie Ciesielski, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning at Fenton Schools, said.

Students trace and copy worksheets, later learning how to connect the letters. By fifth grade, teachers will require them to write small narratives and stories in cursive and make a signature of their name to start signing documents with.

“There was a lot of initial confusion when I started the unit. Students were frustrated and didn’t know how to write or understand cursive,” Michele Elenbaas, a third grade teacher at State Road Elementary, said. “You can now see students start to understand and enjoy the unit.” 

The BenchMark Program and Handwriting Without Tears is planning on continuing to teach students at elementary schools. When students reach middle school and high school, teachers are hoping they continue to write in cursive.