During the PSAT this year, all students were required to copy a statement on appropriate test-taking behavior in cursive and then sign their name. While I was sitting in that room, complaints and whines rang out as almost every student taking the test had difficulty at least one letter, if not all of them. “It was insane how many kids didn’t know how to write a simple capital letter ‘I’. It probably took three times as long to write out the sentences given, and as funny and entertaining as it was, it got a little depressing.” says Monika Ford, a junior who took the PSAT this fall.
Over the years the value of cursive has diminished. In modern society, cursive has no place as the average writer prefers the simplified scrawl of print over the looping swirls of cursive. But the larger question that emerges is why the importance and the use of cursive have diminished so rapidly over the years.
The answer lies in the way that cursive has been taught. Traditionally cursive is taught for two to three weeks in the third grade. The problem that has arisen lies with the teachers, as they prefer to spend time teaching other subjects, such as science and history, over writing. In addition, elementary school-children barely have the patience to sit down and practice, and cursive requires practice.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, why does this matter? What differences does it make if I write in cursive or print? The answer is that writing in cursive enhances spelling ability and improves eye-hand coordination. Cursive also promotes efficient reading as readers must read whole words over single letters. Cursive also helps in putting thoughts on paper efficiently, as writers don’t need to lift their pencils off the paper as often. Those who are left-handed may also find writing in cursive easier with the way that paper is usually positioned when writing in cursive. Lastly, cursive reduces the probability of reversing and misplacing letters such as ‘b’ and ‘d’. In cursive, these letters are a lot more different than in print, which reduces possibility of error. Written by Sadhana Pittala
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