The Reinstatement of Cursive for Elementary Grades


Brooke Papini, Sophomore Staff Writer

Cursive is one of the most well-known penmanship methods in America, but over the years, emphasis on this skill has faded, and schools have stopped requiring students to learn it. Just recently, it started to make a comeback and schools are considering making it a requirement to learn how to write in cursive from a young age. Many states in the U.S. have brought this skill back into the curriculum for its elementary students.

On December 19, 2018, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill mandating a cursive curriculum throughout elementary schools in Ohio. For teachers, the course is optional, but students will be required to know how to write in cursive legibly by the end of fifth grade. There’s lots of controversy over the developmental benefits of learning cursive, as some research shows that this skill is not beneficial and even slows down a child’s learning process due to its complexity.

Despite the backlash, many supporters of cursive writing say it links letters together and creates clearer, complete thoughts. Amber Davis, a sophomore at Hubbard High School states, “ Cursive creates a fast way to write and allows you to write faster than if you were to print the same. It helps improve motor skills and even our memory. It also allows us to read documents that were written in the past.” Cursive allows a writer to sign his or her name and can be beneficial as one nears adulthood since formally signing documents becomes a necessity later in life.

Before Ohio decided to add cursive back into their curriculum, there were more than a dozen U.S. states that had already reinstated cursive in the classroom, such as Alabama, Louisiana, and New York City. Louisiana passed a law that requires students to begin learning cursive in third grade and extends that study all the way until 12th grade. The Louisiana state senator, Beth Mizell, says, “I think it’s really discouraging to get a note from a college graduate that is printed like a second-grader.” Mizell acted on the decision when a surveyor stated he couldn’t find any young people that could read old documents.

Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington, who followed the same children writing in cursive for five years comments, “ What we found was that children until about grade six were writing more words, writing faster and expressing more ideas if they could use handwriting — printing or cursive — than if they used the keyboard.” Connecting strokes in cursive has helped children improve their writing speed and made it easier for them to compose thoughts. Berninger believes that schools should reinstate handwriting, but just enough to help writers understand cursive communication.

Cursive has many pros and cons, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons. One can only benefit from learning new things. Sophomore Bethany Jones states, “ I think learning cursive will teach kids a different style of writing they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.” Cursive plays a major role in society and helps people perform formal written responsibilities, but if students stop learning it, they’ll struggle with reading old documents and papers. The children of the future should have the right to learn cursive, giving them a fair opportunity to learn and look back at history. Adding cursive to the curriculum of elementary schools will only benefit students in the future just as it did before.