Monday, January 24, 2011

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!

Which old witch? Cursive.

I believe I've already lamented over my hatred for the foul style of writing that is supposed to look good but come on, really doesn't. Cursive made my handwriting worse. That's a fact. Instead of the shaky, but readable print I had in third grade (a sample can be found here), it is now a mix of cursive and print that makes a doctor's notes look like the printed word.

And I was yelled at for my handwriting so...much. Time and again I was told that if it couldn't be read, it didn't count. But somehow cursive is supposed to be neat?

No. Just no. From third to fifth grade, I was taught cursive and I still can't write it or read it (at least, not universally; most of the time, I can make it out). However, it has infected my handwriting, morphing n, m, o, q, and z into cursive-like beings, and making sure all my letters are connected in some way so you can't tell if that word is "sinister" or "similar."

I envy people with nice, neat cursive loops. It is pretty, I'll give it that. But I can't replicate it and it has never helped me understand handwriting or communication like that article claims. It says that kids need to be "fluent and automatic" in their writing, as most classwork is by hand. Yeah, that's true. But why must it be in cursive? I don't understand how that particular writing style is easier than print. I was a shaky writer in elementary school, but cursive didn't help me become fluid. Constantly writing--in my own style--did. So no, I'm afraid I don't think it should be taught anymore. Let kids develop their own style. It might just be easier to read.

Teachers? Parents? Your thoughts?


  1. I feel your angst. I shifted schools a lot as a kid (my father was a foreign service offcier, so we moved every two years or so). And each of them taught handwriting slightly differently. Now my handwriting is an illegible mess. I don't write much of anything by hand anymore. If I want to be able to read it in a month, I use a keyboard.

    Aaron (Dreaming About Other Worlds).

  2. Cursive fluid and automatic? Not so much.

    When I was in high school, I found myself automatically going back to printing when I had to write something fast, like taking notes. (Specifically in math and driver's ed.) By the time I graduated, I printed everything.

    Although, it is a bit annoying when the kids in various classes complain that they can't read something because it is in cursive. (The spelling lists from one textbook write all those lists in cursive.) They should still learn to decode that.

    (However, they also complain that they can't decipher the analog clock on the wall. I think that may be more about them wanting an excuse to check their cell phone, but I'm cynical that way.)

  3. Hee hee, didn't realise this was the topic of today's blog post! The only cursive writing I've done since primary school was that paragraph on the SAT that you have to write out-- they may not even do that any more. Of course, my printing isn't exactly legible, either.

  4. I have a print/cursive hybrid writing. It is infective to just...connect everything!

  5. I used to love cursive. It seemed so fancy at the time, but I don't know what the purpose was except that it made writing letters a tad faster. Now it's been replaced by the mighty keyboard. What will be next?

  6. There are some things made obsolete by progress and I think it's okay to let them go. And Alexys makes a good point. Someday, keyboards will be replaced by something we can't imagine (maybe think-typing :D) and I just know there will be die hards, maybe myself included, who wail that typing teaches kids how to communicate.

  7. I can't read it very well, it is an outmoded form of writing in my opinion - the only reason to learn it at all is to reach the bridge between print and cursive - then again, I only longhand what is to be read by myself only - and cards to my wife. Otherwise everything is written either on my Mac or my IBM Selectric III typewriter.
    My son wants to learn cursive and I lamented to him that it was useless, it is not a secret society of writers and that I knew almost no one that wrote in it well, it's invention is best left to the early 20th century.

  8. Interesting topic. I stopped using cursive in high school when I had to take copious notes in Physics and realized my printing was neater and easier to read. So yeah, I hate cursive as much as you do. Can't write it anymore.

    But if American kids aren't at least taught how to READ cursive, then in the future, no one will be able to read the original documents that forged our nation, like the Declaration of Independence.

    The Other J. Fritz

  9. My printing is okay. My cursive is illegible. I'm talking doctor level of illegible.


Please validate me.