How Does Cursive Fit Into The Common Core State Standards?

By Guest Writer, Jamie Menard, M.A. Reading

Where does cursive fit into the Common Core State Standards?

A total of forty-five states across the country have chosen to adopt the Common Core State Standards in order to give the nation a shared curriculum. The Common Core State Standards does not require children to learn how to write in cursive. The Common Core Standard for writing (W.4.6) states that by the end of fourth grade, students should demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting. However, the benefits for teaching our students how to write in cursive may have teachers considering continuing to include this skill in their lesson plans.

creativity and the common core

What does research say about the cursive?

Researchers state that learning to write in cursive improves students’ motor and visual skills. They express that practicing cursive handwriting improves and develops dexterity in our hands and fingers. These are the same skills that that are required of a surgeon, dentist, computer technicians, and artist. It also improves our hand-eye coordination and the connection between our hand and brain. Even more impressive is that fact that learning to write in cursive positively affects brain development.

How does cursive affect reading and writing skills?

Researchers also express that learning to write in cursive can make students better readers and writers. The continuity of letters in cursive writing help guide students eyes from left to right. This reinforces the same pattern used while reading. The ability to write in cursive also helps with spatial skills because one automatically leaves spaces between words while writing in cursive. Writing in cursive also eliminates common letter reversals because the movement and flow required by ones hand to write these letters in cursive makes it impossible to write the letters backwards.

Students that write in cursive write faster because they do not have to lift their pencil or pen as much. As a result, their thoughts flow, they are able to focus on the subject of their writing instead of their letter formation. Their hands do not become cramped and are therefore able to write better notes, or longer more detailed essays.

So, before heading down to the computer lab and tossing those handwriting practice books aside, teachers may just want to consider sharpening those pencils. The long term benefits may be worth the effort.


Jamie Menard has her Masters in Reading, has taught kindergarten for 2 years, second grade for 2 years, and has worked as a reading specialist for 4 years in grades K-4.


Fitzgerald, Elizabeth. “Cursive First: An Introduction to Cursive Penmanship.” n.p., n.d Web 11 Jul. 2012

Hatfield, Iris. “New American Cursive.” n.p., n.d. Web 11 Jul. 2012

Wilm, Marion. “Why Cursive Writing is Still Important.” n.p., n.d. Web 11 Jul. 2012



  • Nan Jay Barchowsky

    Where is the research that specifies "cursive" as the vehicle for assisting learning in students? I assume you mean the loopy cursive that is currently debated in the USA. The looped method of writing, currently known as “cursive” is living on borrowed time. It is commonly taught after the hands and movements of children have been trained for print-script. It takes an inordinate and unworkable amount of time to successfully retrain habits of movement for the different stroke directions and letter shapes of the cursive that joins letters with loops. The fact that learning to form letters by hand is a boost to cognition indicates that handwriting instruction may outlast keyboards and other technological means of communication. The solution could be the italic method. The basic letters introduced to beginning writers will later join up for italic cursive with no changes in letter formation. Please have a look:

  • Paul Boyce

    Concur with keeping cursive in the curriculum. My son enjoys it, thus making writing enjoyable. Printing is labor intensive and turns him off, thus killing creativity. Unfortunately, teachers don't have much say in the matter. The curriculum is being watered down and dictated to them. What will signatures look like for the next generation? XXX

  • Melvin Band

    After teaching 40 years in the elementary division of the NYC public school system, I retired to very quaint New Hope Pa. When I heard that states were abandoning the teaching of cursive writing, I was curious to see what was going on in the local school district- New Hope Solebury.
    Quite frankly I was appalled. I spoke to high school seniors who couldn't even write their names in script. Long storyshort. I made a stink to the point that the district appropriated money to reintroduce the teaching of script. But it was a battle and still is. The elementary school principal pleaded at a public meeting "where will the teachers find the time?". As of now there is no place on the report cards for a grade, only space on the back of the report card for comments. A total disgrace!

  • Barbara Carpenter

    So how are these children, when they get older, going to sign their name to a contract? Removing cursive and replacing it with "keyboarding skills" is just another way of treating our children as though they are less intelligent than other nations' children. The nations that teach their children how to read, write, do arithmetic and understand their true history.

    This nation is becoming so terribly sad.

  • Tammy Swafford

    What frightens me the loss of a link to the past. The documents that our forefathers as well as those documents left by our own ancestors will be difficult if not impossible for these children to read. The diaries, family trees and entries into things as simple as a family Bible will be as difficult as reading Latin. The letters Q, F and T are very different from the print "manuscript" letters. This is once again a fad brought about by educators who haven't considered the angles from a personal point of view. I am sickened by the state of our education system.

  • Rich Schilf

    In regard to Barbara Carpenter's comment, I struggled with learning cursive handwriting fifty years ago and eventually gave up. My mother was smart enough to have me learn typing at an early age. The keyboarding skill has served me well in my professional career over the past 30 plus years. In regard for signatures for signing contracts, I neatly print my name. My printed name is much more legible than most of the cursive signatures I see.

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Jul 12 2012

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