Cursive is an underrated skill. At a time when most schools have increased their emphasis on testing and dropped or cut back school time for basics such as gym and music classes, it’s not surprising that administrators and teachers have also backed off their one-time emphasis on teaching students how to write in cursive. The decline started in the 1970s and has progressively gotten worse over time. New national standards don’t even require students to learn cursive, and for many school districts, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from the curriculum. The fact that teaching cursive is left to the discretion of local school districts is a polite way of saying it is not perceived nationally as a necessary skill any more. Cursive was originally intended as a way to write more quickly, aft er all, but someone who is typing is generally going to be able to work faster than someone who is writing cursive.
If the only motivation for teaching cursive is the fact that it can be faster than printing, then maybe it’s time to forget about teaching students how to do anything much beyond printing letters, and teach them how to type instead. But are there other benefits for students who write in cursive?