I was over skimming through Jaci Burton's blog today when I stumbled over her post about cursive writing. In the blog she cited an article about schools possibly discontinuing teaching cursive writing.
The article cited several reasons why children didn't need to learn cursive writing, though the primary one was linked to computer technology.
I find this trend disturbing for a different reason. While many things are on the internet, much of our history prior to World War II--the original documents, letters, diaries... are not. The vast majority of those primary sources are in cursive form. If our children don't learn to write--and therefore read cursive--who will be the custodians of those documents?
Isn't that exactly how language forms are lost? It seems to me that many of the dead languages had a "formal" written form plus a "shorthand" form. Will cursive writing be our formal form? And will this be the first step in shifting our language to the dead form?
Spoken language changes almost daily. When I posted a few days ago about spelling and my concern with texting changing the way we write, I only touched on one aspect of our language. The loss of cursive writing has many more implications than releasing our children from a few hours of practice.
To be sure, the issue of practicing is important. Some issues such as eye-hand coordination and small motor skills are improved by practicing cursive writing. In this day of identity theft, there is the very important issue of a unique signature for documents. How will we deal with that if we scuttle cursive writing?
Though many people (such as myself) use a computer for most of their writing, the vast majority of people don't use the computer for everything. Grocery lists, homework assignments, math problems, letters to Mom are most handwritten.
Some say that printing is clearer. In my day, cursive writing was just as clear. It's a matter of attitude and priority. I hope that schools do NOT decide to quit teaching cursive. Or someday, cursive might join the list of lettering forms that are the purview of calligraphers, practiced in secret, read only in quiet library rooms.
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