Should We Kill Cursive? Ctd

May 8 2013 @ 9:42am

A reader continues the popular thread:

No cursive? Tell that to my dyslexic daughter. She mastered writing and decoding through cursive (using the Slingerland method [illustrated above], which is an excellent multi-sensory approach). Print reading and writing caused too much confusion precisely because so many printed letters look similar and/or a variants of each other (e.g. the typical b and d). She went form being behind in her class to not only zooming up to grade with reading and writing, but was fluent in cursive a full year+ before her classmates. Among many devices Slingerland uses a methodology of tracing the cursive letters in the air while seeing and saying them. It’s brilliant, and not just for dyslexics. Lots of research there to look at.

As for hand-eye-motor-brain coordination that is developed through handwriting and penmanship. I believe there is ample evidence of it’s benefits in learning. Being a product of that world versus pure keyboarding, which the new generation is being brought up on, I don’t have any direct experience. THAT is a fascinating question. How will our brains and motor skills develop and change when tots only use keyboards?

A reader with a different condition writes:

As a child, handwriting class was uniquely humiliating for me.

I stopped breathing shortly after I born, which damaged my cerebellum. As a result, my penmanship was an unsightly, illegible scrawl. Many times my instructors would berate me despite the fact that I could do nothing to correct the problem. I would be graded down on my assignments simply because my instructors didn’t want to read my sloppy answers, even when they were right. One classmate even saw my class notes and said to me, “Dan, I didn’t know you could write in Chinese.” I cannot.

Learning to type, although I do it clumsily and slowly, was a revelation. People could finally understand my writing, and it was easier for me to send messages that looked and read like they were the work of a professional. Writing anything by hand still fills me with dread. I even hate writing checks. I now make my living writing computer instructions, so all of the time I spent in school studying how to make perfect cursive letters seems like a waste. I envy people who write beautiful flowing letters, but feel no nostalgia towards creating anything like that myself.