The East Texan

Cursive still not blotted out

Juan Carlos Ferrer, Staff Writer

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Graphic | Todd Kleiboer

By Juan Carlos Ferrer | Staff Reporter

Technology has led to the decrease of cursive writing, but the importance of learning cursive is still beneficial in this world.

“I learned [cursive] in like fourth or fifth grade,” Estefany Torres, a junior at Texas A&M – Commerce, said.

Cursive writing was a skill that would be taught when people were attending elementary school. About an hour would be dedicated to teaching the writing skill, but that no longer happens in most schools.

Technology quickly rose in this century, and almost every single person has a cellphone. Children are entertained with tablets, and schools have had to adapt to the sudden rise of technology.

“It’s not “important” in terms of its utilization in day to day routines,” Lizbeth Mares, a junior at A&M-Commerce, said.

Learning cursive writing is no longer mandatory. Many students have tried to avoid learning it as well.

“We tried to convince our 4th grade teacher we hadn’t learned it yet so we didn’t have to use it,” Mares said.

While some would see cursive writing as boring and a waste of time, there are still some benefits to learning the skill.

Cursive writing has been linked to better scores on reading and spelling tests by TIME magazine. TIME also added that students who learn cursive can also keep more information with them and have more ideas than those who do not know cursive.

Learning cursive also requires patience and discipline, and much time is used to reach that level of cursive writing. The hand also must know what movement comes next for each letter.

Many important historical documents are also written in cursive. If people cannot read cursive handwriting, then they will not be able to read the documents the way they were originally written in.

“The documents lose their value if one can’t understand them,” Mares said.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Cursive still not blotted out”

  1. Kate Gladstone on November 20th, 2017 11:47 pm

    Handwriting matters — does cursive? Research shows that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are available on request.)
    Further research shows that the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive. They join only the most easily joined letter-combinations, leaving others unjoined, using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree.
    (Many people who think that they “print” actually write in this practical way without realizing that they do so. The handwriting of many teachers comes close: even though, often, those teachers have never noticed that they are not at all writing in the same 100% print or 100% cursive that they demand that their students should write.)
    Teaching material for such practical handwriting abounds — especially in much of the UK and Europe, where such practical handwriting is taught at least as often as the accident-prone cursive that too many North American educators venerate. (Again, sources are available on request.)

    For what it’s worth, there are some parts of various countries (parts of the UK, for instance, despite their mostly sensible handwriting ) where governmental mandates for 100% joined cursive handwriting have been increasingly enforced, without regard for handwriting practicality and handwriting research, In those parts of the world, there are rapidly growing concerns on the increasingly observed harmful educational/literacy effects (including bad effects on handwriting quality) seen when 100% joined cursive requirements are complied with:

    Reading cursive, of course, remains important —and this is much easier and quicker to master than writing cursive. Reading cursive can be mastered in just 30 to 60 minutes, even by kids who print.
    Given the importance of reading cursive, why not teach it explicitly and quickly, once children can read print, instead of leaving this vital skill to depend upon learning to write in cursive?

    Educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference hosted by cursive textbook publisher Zaner-Bloser.. Only 37% wrote in cursive; another 8% printed. Most — 55% — wrote with some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive.
    When even most handwriting teachers do not follow cursive, why glorify it?

    Cursive’s cheerleaders allege that cursive has benefits justifying absolutely anything said or done to promote it.
    Cheerleaders for cursive repeatedly allege research support — repeatedly citing studies that were misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant or by some other, earlier misrepresenter whom the claimant innocently trusts.
    What about cursive and signatures? Brace yourself: in state and federal law, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Hard to believe? Ask any attorney!)

    Questioned document examiners (specialists in the identification of signatures, verification of documents, etc.) find that the least forgeable signatures are the plainest. Most cursive signatures are loose scrawls: the rest, if following cursive’s rules at all, are fairly complicated: easing forgery.

    All handwriting, not just cursive, is individual. That is how any first-grade teacher immediately discerns (from print-writing on unsigned work) which child produced it.

    Mandating cursive to save handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to save clothing.

    Kate Gladstone DIRECTOR, the World Handwriting Contest
    CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
    [email protected]


    Handwriting research on speed and legibility: /1/ Arthur Dale Jackson. “A Comparison of Speed and Legibility of Manuscript and Cursive Handwriting of Intermediate Grade Pupils.” Ed. D. Dissertation, University of Arizona, 1970: on-line at /2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. “The Relation between Handwriting Style and Speed and Legibility.” JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 91, No. 5 (May – June, 1998), pp. 290-296: on-line at /3/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer. “Development of Handwriting Speed and Legibility in Grades 1-9.” JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 92, No. 1 (September – October, 1998), pp. 42-52: on-line at

    Bad effects of cursive mandate legislation in the UK:

    Handwriting research on cursive’s lack of observable benefit for students with dyslexia/dysgraphia: “Does cursive handwriting have an impact on the reading and spelling performance of children with dyslexic dysgraphia: A quasi-experimental study.” Authors: Lorene Ann Nalpon & Noel Kok Hwee Chia — URL: and 

    Zaner-Bloser handwriting survey: Results on-line at  Ongoing handwriting poll:

    The research most often misrepresented by devotees of cursive (“Neural Correlates of Handwriting” by Dr. Karin Harman-James at Indiana University):

    Background on our handwriting, past and present:   /a/ 3 solidly informed debunkings of the claims for cursive: arguments and misrepresentations which defend cursive:   /b/ 3 videos, by a colleague, show why cursive is NOT a sacrament: A BRIEF HISTORY OF CURSIVE — TIPS TO FIX HANDWRITING — HANDWRITING AND MOTOR MEMORY (shows how to develop fine motor skills WITHOUT cursive) — Yours for better letters, Kate Gladstone • 518-482-6763 DIRECTOR, the World Handwriting Contest CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works [email protected] 165 North Allen Street • First Floor Albany, NY 12206-1706 • USA

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