Sunday, April 7, 2013
Until recently I had no idea that cursive handwriting had disappeared from the landscape. As I understand it, 44 states have mandated that it need not be taught at all, and in many states even printing is barely taught as well. Yes, there are studies that show kids with skills in cursive writing remember better, they have better motor skills. They are, as one woman put it, more graceful.
When I have to remember something my first instinct is to write it down. I may lose the paper, but I remember what's on it. I no longer use cursive except for documents or letters, but it exists in my head. If I need to memorize anything my first step is to write it out, whether it's a poem or a shopping list.
The fast forward to all of this is a bit other-worldly, and has not really been addressed: any of these children who have no working relationship of cursive writing will also be unable to read it. That simple. May not sound like much, but how will they be able to get a job in, say, the field of history? or as a librarian? Not all documents are digitized into print mode. And any older documents that need to be studied are lost to them.
How do you read old letters, old documents, wills, deeds, legal decisions from the not so distant past? To further extrapolate, since I am in an extrapolatory mode: if these documents are unreadable except by a few "old folks", who will read these when those old folks are no longer there--who will even know how to translate them into 'readable' format?
Posted by mittens at 1:01 PM