Believe me, it’s hard enough just conjuring and arranging these words in my head.
When an idea works its way out of the mind’s birth canal, you hardly want it breeched by the mechanics of writing it down.
So why then, exactly, would schools still insist that children practice cursive handwriting?
Or require that whole essays or worksheets employ the difficult script?
For every child, pencil gripped in hand, who stares at that expanse of empty notebook paper, the swear word is built right in.
The teacher said it has to be incurs
I think of my sons, who labored through the process of learning and writing letters. It wasn’t pretty. It often isn’t, especially for boys, whose motor skills tend to develop later than girls’.
But they learned the essential skill of writing.
To follow that with cursive seems, to many children, an exercise in cruelty.
Most will abandon it when they get a choice. By high school students escape to their personalized — non-cursive — lettering styles. And of course all communication is going toward emails and texts.
Putting children through the cursive ringer squelches the writing process, says Anne Trubek, an associate professor at Oberlin College. It subjects poor handwriters to needless embarrassment.
“We should focus on the writing, not how we make the letters,” she said. “You want to be able to get the idea out, as quick as you can — and not make it into thisdifficulty
The end of cursive may be coming — to the distress of researchers and educators who gathered at a recent handwriting summit in Washington, D.C.
They’re troubled by the weak attention handwriting is getting in the new Common Core Standards that most states, including Missouri and Kansas, intend to implement in 2013.
Handwriting instruction is not mandated beyond the first grade. Keyboarding skills come swooping in beginning in with the third grade. And cursive is completely left out.
Handwriting practice sparks brain activity that strengthens overall literacy, said Indiana University researcher Karin Harman James. It develops fine motor skills. It helps children actually write their ideas more quickly and more confidently.
But can’t they do that without resorting to cursive?
School districts can still make their own decisions on how much attention to give cursive — which is already the case with standards in Missouri and Kansas.
“Some are adamant” about teaching cursive, said Matt Copeland, Kansas’ coordinator of language arts and literacy. “Some are walking away.”
The wishes of boys recently polled on my front stoop were unanimous:
Walk away, of course.