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Cursive in schools, it's your brain stupid

Cursive Image

Image from Sunset Ridge Elementary School

This morning I read an article at Yahoo about a handful of states – California, Georgia, and Massachusetts are adding cursive as a requirement in the curriculum. And while these select states are ensuring children will learn this skill, other states are leaving it optional (read: don’t bother) like Indiana, Illinois, and Hawai’i.

The article hinges on an argument that in the age of technology, where typing, and texting, and computer usage has flourished, who needs this archaic method of capturing thoughts on paper? And for that matter, who uses paper anymore? Or being able to add / subtract / multiply / divide in your head? Just use a calculator, duh! They call out “experts” who proudly proclaim that in the age of computers, typing is more important.

Deplorable. Typing is definitely a skill that most kids should have, and probably already do have without help from a school (and no, I’m not talking about thumb wars on your mobile phone typing LOL, that doesn’t count). Does typing benefit your brain in any positive way equivalent to cursive? No. It’s a simple skill that only utilizes one hemisphere of the brain, while cursive crosses the corpus collosum and fosters both hemisphere brain development.

Cursive is a vital skill to help build the cognitive ability of a child. Fine motor skills are enhanced greatly through cursive writing. Forming letters by tracing and later your own spatial abilities, using differing shapes, sizes, and angles all while focused intently on the task at hand. It is essentially linking together our motions and movements of the body, with the mind in a way that typing and block letter writing don’t achieve.

If we’re looking to raise children as only minds without bodies, by all means, no more cursive, and don’t bother learning your times tables. I see a different future for our kids. Whole brain learning tied together with sensory motor activities involved with writing cursive, should be mandatory in every state. And we should rethink calling anyone an expert who espouses the dumbing down of our children by removing a skill that does so much, so early in their life.

Teach the whole child.

And if you’d like to utilize technology and marry it with the skills of cursive writing, Cursive Touch and Write is an iOS app which can teach your kids how to write cursive in a fun way, that sticks (I’m not affiliated in any way with the app developer). This isn’t an either/or world, technology can be used to enhance teaching methods that already exist today.