Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cursive Handwriting, Reading, and Spelling Achievement


  1. Handwriting matters — does cursive? Research shows that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are available on request.)

    Further research shows that the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive. They join only the most easily joined letter-combinations, leaving others unjoined, using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree. Teaching material for such practical handwriting abounds — especially in the UK and Europe, where this is taught at least as often as the accident-prone cursive that too many North American educators venerate. (Again, sources are available on request.)

    Reading cursive — which still matters — is much easier and quicker to master than writing cursive. Reading cursive can be mastered in just 30 to 60 minutes, even by kids who print.
    There's even a free iPad app teaching how: called “Read Cursive." Given the importance of reading cursive, why not teach it explicitly and quickly, for free, instead of leaving this vital skill to depend upon learning to write in cursive?

    Educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference hosted by cursive textbook publisher Zaner-Bloser.. Only 37% wrote in cursive; another 8% printed. Most — 55% — wrote with some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive.

    When even most handwriting teachers do not follow cursive, why glorify it?

    Cursive's cheerleaders allege that cursive has benefits justifying absolutely anything said or done to promote it. Cheerleaders for cursive repeatedly allege research support — repeatedly citing studies that were misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant or by some other, earlier misrepresenter whom the claimant innocently trusts.

    What about cursive and signatures? Brace yourself: in state and federal law, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Hard to believe? Ask any attorney!)

    Questioned document examiners (specialists in the identification of signatures, verification of documents, etc.) find that the least forgeable signatures are plainest. Most cursive signatures are loose scrawls: the rest, if following cursive's rules at all, are fairly complicated: easing forgery.

    All handwriting, not just cursive, is individual. That is how any first-grade teacher immediately discerns (from print-writing on unsigned work) which child produced it.

    Mandating cursive to save handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to save clothing.

    Kate Gladstone
    DIRECTOR, the World Handwriting Contest
    CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works

  2. Krysta you ate really running the page right. Be outta bigness in no time.

  3. I'll say, since this is genuinely useful to me. I'd very much like to improve my handwriting, especially for writing on the board in class. I can also almost see the argument that while reading cursive still matters, writing cursive may not. Thanks for posting this!

  4. Mere cursive? Written vs reading cursive? Damned steel quills!!! If geese ain't running from your composition class in fear, the retched Palmerists have won.

    "Spencerian script...used in the United States from approximately 1850 to 1925[1] and was considered the American de facto standard writing style for business correspondence prior to the widespread adoption of the typewriter."

    And, clearly, Spencerian script is quicker, more legible, more elegant, and essential for clear business communications.

    Why to not use it is like coming to class not wearing spats nor corset! Hmmph, hummmph.

  5. I was taught to print and then to write in cursive. To this day I write in cursive as it is significantly easier.

    Does it really matter? Honestly, no. We should probably be teaching kids to print and to type. Cursive and shorthand have largely outlived their usefulness. Even though I definitely find it useful, it probably would have been more useful to focus on my typing instruction. Although my skills there are also quite considerable simply because I am a complete nerd.

  6. I have terrible handwriting, and always have. I print out of respect for my student's eyes so they can actually read my comments. I type everything except marking essays: inserting comments takes me FOREVER, whereas I can quickly proof-mark student work.


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