This is an op-ed piece my daughter Molly wrote for her college newspaper back in 2016, which she has given me permission to reprint here.
I can still vividly remember learning to write cursive in fourth grade. You probably learned it too, if you were in elementary school 8 to 10 years ago. It was hard at first to get all the loops and swirls just right, but very satisfying when I finally mastered it. My teacher gave me a “binder paper license” when I became good at cursive writing, which meant that I did not have to use the scratchy brown paper that kids who had messy writing had to use. However, most schools are no longer teaching cursive. Does it matter?
This is an op-ed piece my daughter Molly wrote for her college newspaper back in 2016.
It may be less important to know cursive now because of computers allowing you to type almost everything instead of writing it, but it is still a necessary skill. Signing your name on a receipt, on checks, and to get your driver’s license are all times when cursive is essential. One student I interviewed at Whittier found it necessary to relearn cursive because her teachers could not read her print handwriting. Learning to write in cursive helps develop fine motor skills in children. According to a piece on CNN by Katia Hetter called Nation of Adults who will Write like children? “Technology has pushed cursive writing off the agenda of many school systems across the country. As a result, [there is] more sloppy handwriting in schools today.” Writing quickly, such as for taking notes in class, is easier to do neatly in cursive than in printing, because you don’t need to pick the pen up off the page between letters but only between words.
Old letters and documents are written in cursive, so if you can not read it, then you will lose the opportunity to learn about the past from the source. Important documents like the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution look much more dramatic when you see the handwritten versions than when you just read a typed text. On a more personal level, what if you got a handwritten note from your grandmother which says she will give you a wonderful surprise if you show up at her house at a certain time, but you can not read the cursive, so you never go and you do not get the surprise.
In conclusion, I think cursive is a form of writing that should be recognized as something to be passed on to each generation so that this art form never dies and is thought of as something special.