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.
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.” swrtraing.com n.p., n.d Web 11 Jul. 2012
Hatfield, Iris. “New American Cursive.” Newamericancursive.com n.p., n.d. Web 11 Jul. 2012
Wilm, Marion. “Why Cursive Writing is Still Important.” Blog.childandfamilydevelopment.com n.p., n.d. Web 11 Jul. 2012