Educators warn of negative effects of not teaching cursive in schools
Lauren Sanchez teaches cursive writing to third graders at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Burbank, California.
July 8th, 2011
09:34 PM ET

Educators warn of negative effects of not teaching cursive in schools

Handwriting experts and educators worry that Indiana's choice to stop teaching cursive in schools could negatively affect a child's ability to learn.

The Indiana Department of Education joined 39 other states in adopting the Common Core curriculum, an initiative to phase out cursive writing in classrooms in favor of providing students more time to hone digital skills.

But some believe the move could adversely affect children.

"The fluidity of cursive allows, I think, for gains in spelling and a better tie to what they are reading and comprehending through stories and such and through literature," said Paul Sullivan, principal of St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Burbank, California.

"I think there’s a firmer connection of wiring between the brain’s processes of learning these skills and the actual practice of writing."

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Filed under: Education • Indiana
soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. Mark B

    I can see it now. Europeans sending secret letters to each other - written in cursive! "Don't worry, the Americans won't be able to read it."

    July 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quit The Hate

      Why are the Europeans sending secert notes? Do you know something about Luxenburg we don't. Are the Swedes plotting something? I've never trusted the French!

      July 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark in Phx

    Just another teaching innovation! It seems like there have been so many improvements in teaching and education over the last 3 or 4 decades that our kids do not have the reading, writing and arithmetic skills they need! Or that we need them to have. Don't worry, their digital skills will work great as long as the power doesn't go out.

    July 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Quit The Hate

    I'm kind of torn on the subject myself b/c my own handwriting is horrible. I HAVE to print b/c no one can read my chicken scratch. Thank goodness for a keyboard. I understand the concept that cursive writing is on it's way out, BUT it is one of those things that I think is still important. Regardless of how much we depend on technology, everyone should at least know how to write. I still believe in sending handwritten thank you notes to people b/c it's just a nice thing to do. Although, I have to get my husband to write it for me. People (especially older people) remember something that personal, not just an email. We shouldn't let old fashioned things die just b/c they aren't used as much as they once were. Now, where to I fax this comment?

    July 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    If its so important, why as a 27 year old working adult do I never use it in the course of my life except for when I sign my name?

    July 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      So by your logic, if YOU personally don't use it, it shouldn't be taught? Am I correct there? My job doesn't require me to know much U.S History, so should we nix that as well? Writing is a skill that should still be taught and while I don't know much about the science of the brain, I do agree with the attached audio that it triggers different parts and basically yes, teaches you to learn. Just because you may not use it everyday doesn't it make it not worth learning.

      July 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Richard Chapman


    So you are aware, "grammer" has no "e" it's grammar.

    July 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    I have disgraphia and the less time I spent on handwriting the better. It wasn't that I didn't know how to write, it was I fundamentally could not translate that knowledge to use in a fluid manner. Since elementary school my spelling has improved, my reading comprehension has increased, and I was able to graduate college 4 years early. All of this is thanks to being allowed to use a laptop and being able to express myself through typing, instead of sitting drudging about in the mechanics of handwriting.
    Yes, there is some loss. It's a skill that they will have to pick up outside of school if they ever want to learn it, but then again we don't teach calligraphy as core curriculum anymore. I can't imagine how hard it must be to teach an elementary student 3 different forms of expression of the written word; print, script, and type. For my part I don't know what is better for most students. I do know that not teaching me cursive would have been better.

    July 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. vikingvixon

    What the heck are you on? Just say no to drugs...not learning cursive.
    Ya, I'll bet you don't know cursive, do you?

    July 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mike

    What happens to these kids when the power goes out ? This is absolute lunacy. Digital media should be introduced after the child has grasped the traditional methods of learning.

    July 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      There's this invention called a battery. Usually kids go home when the power is out anyway. Thanks for trying.

      July 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • petercha

      One can always print.

      July 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    I didn't learn to tie my shoes until I was 7. It wasn't until my first-grade teacher(Mrs Jahling) gave me STEP BY STEP WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS that I was finally able to perform that skill. Stupid rhymes and watching others didn't help one iota. Because of this I started to zone-out Jan Olsen as soon as she said "Passes out directions for tying shoes, it's not how children learn". As an educator myself, I am aware that every child learns differently. This woman has apparently either forgotten that fact or she is deluding herself.

    July 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. valwayne

    So we aren't even going to try and teach kids how to write? This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. We are making the assumption that the only writing anyone will ever need to do again is on a keyboard? Our children won't even know how to handwrite a letter themselves? They'll have to have a laptop to take notes in school? Somebody tell me what idiot or group of idiots thought this was a good idea?

    July 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Leana

    They are teaching print, not cursive. These children are still learning how to write. Cursive should not be taught in the classroom, but in the art room.

    July 11, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mojojo

      The Art room IS a classroom, as is the Music room, Gym, and Library. Those rooms are staffed by certified educators. Not only that, but those educators are also required to make cross-curricular ties to the "core" subjects in their own lessons.

      Sorry, I get a little sore when people think I do not run a "classroom."

      July 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • janelle

      Writing is cursive is faster than printing. That's why they teach it and have continued to teach it for generations. It's too slow for students to take notes by printing.

      July 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bitsey

      The most successful tool for teaching handwriting is the D'Nealian method.

      July 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      A printed signature is easier to forge.

      July 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate Gladstone

      Some people imagine that a print-style signature would be easier to forge. Kate Gladstone — CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
      Director, the World Handwriting Contest
      Co-Designer, BETTER LETTERS handwriting trainer app for iPhone/iPad

      July 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    I learned cursive in elementary school. I never used it since. Even my signature isn't really cursive, its an unreadable scribble. What road to failure did this lead me down? I am a successful programmer, and make enough money to support myself and a family without my spouse having to have a full-time job. Top it off I work in a field that is essentiallly recession-proof (granted you may have to move around a bit).

    And yes I realize this is just anecdotal evidence, but what the hell else is the CNN comment section for?

    July 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Yes, Mike. It is anecdotal evidence. Let's say you decided one fine day to pursue a degree in literature or even art history. maybe you never will but it is what others want. I, for one, pursued a degree in the area of my passion and I had to write in cursive on nearly every in-class exam due to essay questions. This was as far back as the archaic year 2010. If you decided to take a similar career path (or one of your children did) that be screwed, wouldn't they?

      July 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      *they'd 🙂

      July 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Katie

    If a child is not taught how to write and read cursive, how in the world will they be able to research their family history since everything pre-computer-age was written. Ridiculous.

    July 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missy is how the look up family history.

      July 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. darlene hill

    I am a teacher. I feel that cursive should be taught in the school it only takes a one school term. Parents can buy practice books at any grocery store. Children need to know how to read and write cursive.

    July 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joseph R Loegering

    I could not write Cursive in School, or now, and the teachers always use to call me a trouble maker, because I could not learn to read and spell the words right. But the truth is, I read and understand many words of 17 languages. I just cannot pronounce them correctly or write them correctly, because adverse reactions to certain foods cause me to be Dyslexic to the point that I get a headache trying to write letters in the same direction that they are written in words. It is Corn Products and Sugar Alcohols, and Yeast and Wheat and Rye and Barley Products that made me Dyslexic. Has your child been accused of having an attention or behavioral disorder because they cannot read and write? Try changing their diet, to be like mine, as long as I have none of those things listed in my Diet my Dyslexia becomes nearly unnoticeable, till I am given something that has any of those things in it.

    They don't want to cut Military Complex Spending, or Media Propaganda Spending, because they want to hide that they stole our name Israel, and named it upon Antichrists that cast us out, and set us up to be captured and harmed and or murdered without Just Cause, and we can get no Redress of our Just Grievances because the Antichrists that falsely call themselves Jews or Christan or Muslims, and are trying to hide that are trying murder us, run the Government and the Media. . kingofisrael.blogspotDOTcom

    July 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
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