Every once in a while, a tweet about how schools taught cursive for “no reason” surfaces, taking many Americans back to the foggy memory of those couple of classes in elementary school where they were taught cursive.
Just realized I learned cursive writing in school for no reason
— Piques (@piques15) March 22, 2019
Yet, learning cursive is far from useless. On the contrary, it has nothing but benefits, to the point where the many European countries that make their children learn to write exclusively in cursive end up with significant advantages.
What A Time To Be French!
I was raised in France from age 2 to 12, and therefore spent all of my elementary education years, and most of middle school, in the French education system. I learned to write in cursive, as print letters had no place in the classroom, except on the actual print of our textbooks. All of my and my peers’ notes, quizzes, tests and reports were written in cursive, with fancy fountain pens.
Upon immigrating to the U.S. in 8th grade, I was stunned by the fact that so little people here knew how to write in, or even read cursive. Girls would ask me to write their name in cursive for them, because they were curious what it would look like. On final exams, I would be ask to print my written answers, because my teachers feared the examiners would not be able to read cursive. Until I finished high school, it became a habit for me to write in print on all of my exams, as I was afraid that my responses might be voided. From experience, I can safely say that writing in print tires your hand much more quickly, in addition to being slower to write as a whole. (Having to write my AP English Language and Composition exam in print was a nightmare.)
I nevertheless kept taking class notes and any assignments that were not going to be turned in in cursive. To this day, in lectures especially, my notes are in cursive, allowing me to write a lot faster and with much more ease than a lot of my peers. If I really apply myself, I can actually write down a lecturer’s words verbatim as they are speaking, because of the fact that cursive allows me to not lift my pen as I am writing, and gives my hand much faster, supple movement.
Cursive And Its Psychology
Aside from my own experience with cursive, this writing form allows you to do a lot more than write faster and sign your own name. The psychology behind it has found and proven that knowing and regularly using cursive tremendously helps in developing one’s fine-motor skills. In other words, your hand-eye coordination, or what you would need to play sports, create art, play music, or doing anything requiring both your eyes and hands, is greatly improved if you know cursive. If you want to improve your art especially, start writing in cursive.
In other, fancier words, Suzanne Baruch Asherson for the New York Times puts it this way: “Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.”
Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.
Not only does cursive help with fine motor skills and coordination, it helps young kids with learning how to grip writing utensils and helps remember spelling by creating muscle memory. There is even evidence that it helps dyslexic children, by helping them differentiate between easily confusing print letters, like “b,” “p,” “d” and “q,” which all look different in cursive. Experts such as Marilyn Zecher, a language specialist at the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center, say that it’s those letter differences that greatly help children take control of their dyslexia at an early age.
Cursive In Business
Even if you do not opt into a career that has you communicating with European executives that may write only in cursive, it’s professional to know it. Aside from simply signing your name on documents (which, again, my peers in 8th grade did not know how to do), it can make you look really good in the eyes of prospective employers. From writing a simple thank-you note after an interview, to being able to read historical or even current handwritten documents, knowing cursive is likely to give you a leg-up in your field.
Why You Should Learn Today
The Constitution of the United States itself was written in cursive, yet so many Americans are not able to even read it. There is nothing more patriotic than being able to read the legal basis of your own country. Not only that, but your fine-motor skills and business opportunities would greatly benefit from you learning cursive.
So, if you do not already know how to write in cursive, you should definitely start today. With classes, worksheets, videos and so many other free resources available online, there are many ways to start improving your own motor skills today. The most important thing, however, is to ensure that cursive makes its way back into American schools, for the sake of the future generations.
Photo: WTTW News