Why Cursive?

I’ve heard it from many parents on the internet: What’s the point of teaching cursive!? Nobody writes in cursive anymore! It’s time consuming and difficult! Why bother when you can just print and most of us end up typing anyway? My work in my Primary classroom (ages 3-6) involved teaching children to write in cursive. The Sandpaper Letters were in cursive and our focus on writing was to start in cursive. Cursive is developmentally advantageous to teach children as they first start writing. When a child is in the Sensitive Period for writing, around ages 4-6, cursive is helpful because each letter is singular in how you make it. There is less confusion between letters like d and b like there is in print. With cursive, you start in the same spot and end in the same spot (except for a few exceptions that end similarly). Most importantly, cursive moves in circular motions. Children at this age are drawn to the circular gross and fine motor motions. Many Practical Life activities in the classroom will involve scrubbing or moving the arm in circular motions, from left to right (to mimic writing.) Once cursive is learned, jumping to print is very easy in both recognition and writing. Print letters are a bit “wilder.” They start and stop in many different places on the writing line. There are many different ways to make each letter. It’s harder to connect to cursive if you start with print. In my classroom, the adults always wrote in cursive, but if anything was printed off a computer it would be in print. The child is then exposed to both forms of letters as they are learning to read and write . They are able to connect them seamlessly. If a child ever struggled to connect with cursive, I would then connect them to print instead. And sure, your child might lose their beautiful cursive skills as they grow more independent in writing and choose the much faster and easier print. But the point isn’t for them to have beautiful cursive skills for life. The point is to facilitate the connection to the letters, to writing, and to reading in the most intuitive way for this Sensitive Period, and cursive does that.

Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

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