Friday, March 10, 2017

Is 'cursive' making a comeback?

When I was a kid, we learned “cursive writing” in about the third grade. For weeks, we practiced making the letters over and over again.

I remember the o’s with curly loops at the top and the n's and m's with their humps. But, my favorite
letter to write was the lowercase “P.” When I was learning to write, the “p” had a swoopy line that went up above the letter (see the cursive writing sample below and at right). I’m sure it was a creative teacher who told us that “P” was for “Princess,” and that the cursive “P” looked like a princess with her royal “hat” (apparently, it’s known as a “hennin”).

By the time I was in high school, my friends and I had added our own personal touches to our style of handwriting and were practicing our own signatures all the time.

Fast forward quite a few years…when my daughter was in the sixth grade several years ago, she started a petition at school requesting that the students be allowed to sit wherever they wanted to at lunch, instead of being required to sit with their homeroom class. The principal rejected the first petition because many of the kids had printed their names, rather than “signed” them. It was pointed out to him that they were never really taught “cursive” or “script” handwriting and, thus, didn’t know how to put down an official signature. He relented and accepted the printed names.

But, there seems to be a revival of handwriting, according to an Associated Press article earlier this week. The story says that after quite a few years of declining interest in teaching cursive in schools, some states and school districts are beginning to require it again.

If the scientific news that’s out there about handwriting is correct, that’s good news. I’ve seen research that claims writing in cursive helps with brain development, memory and more. (On the other hand, there is other information available that disputes such claims.)

I think learning cursive is a good thing, although rigid penmanship rules may be somewhat overdone. Much of what was handwritten in the 20th century was written in cursive, and knowing how to read old letters and other documents will be beneficial for quite a few more years.

For those who never learned to write in cursive or those who just want to practice their penmanship, there are many free lessons out there. Just do an internet search for “cursive writing practice” or something like that, and you’ll find lots of pages to print out.

Have a great weekend and write lots of letters!

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