GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - How often do you use cursive? Probably not as often as you once did.
The belief is that cursive started fading away once home computers became common. Since computers print letters, it is a more common style for the younger generation to read. But according to some studies, cursive writing has benefits that should have more people using it.
“They have found a connection between learning cursive and some brain development in areas of literacy and other areas that affect academic skills,” said Valerie Zaryczny, an instructor with "Handwriting Without Tears."
We sat in on a class with Zaryczny while she was instructing a group of teachers the best handwriting and cursive skills. Valerie said in these classes she often gets questioned on the importance of cursive writing, especially since teaching cursive is not mandated in Michigan. The excuses include:
- “We don’t have time to teach it."
- "It’s a dying art that no one is going to be using."
- "It’s not in the common core."
Part of Zaryczny’s curriculum through “Handwriting Without Tears” is explaining cursive’s benefits. Zaryczny explains that cursive writing has shown to improve comprehension with note taking. The studies also found students who take the S.A.T. in cursive, score significantly higher than students who print their answers.
“What they concluded was, when you’re writing in cursive, you’re able to focus on the content more. It just kind of flows, the handwriting part. So, you’re not thinking of the formation as much,” said Zaryczny.
Zaryczny also said students who learn to write and read cursive, while they may not always use it, often develop a cursive-print hybrid.
"You’re joining some letters, not all of them, but you wouldn’t have developed that fast handwriting without learning cursive”, said Zaryczny.
Lastly, Zaryczny said no matter how much a student actually uses cursive, they should at least learn how to read it, adding, “We have heard from grandmothers all over the world who write their grandkids in cursive, and they can’t read it, and that’s sad.”
For more information on Handwriting Without Tears, go to hwtears.com.