The importance of cursive writing

Last weekend my husband and I traveled to Elk River to help our youngest granddaughter celebrate her birthday. Olivia turned 10 years old and is really growing fast. Early in the afternoon we had her open her gifts. When she opened the card from us her first words were “grandma, I am so glad you didn’t write in cursive so I can read it.”

I was shocked that she is not learning how to read cursive. She is in the fourth grade and I believe that might be a little young to learn how to write in this manner and I really hope it will be coming in the next few years. However, I have also been hearing from young parents that the school system is discontinuing this subject. 

That means sometime in the future,  our young people will not know how to sign their name. They will not be able to read personalized cards and letters sent to them by loved ones. 

I have been thinking about the many times I have signed my name in cursive. The first thing that comes to mind is signing checks. I realize that many people no longer use checks to pay their bills but it makes me feel much better to actually be able to look back and see the checks I wrote in my check register. 

Another place where signatures are required was in legal documents. Quite often these documents will ask you to first print your name and then sign them with your signature. This makes it unique as everyone’s signature is different.

I know many of these things can be covered if the children are taught to write their name in cursive but what about all the old documents that they may want to read or decipher. Will they need to consult a handwriting specialist before reading them? What about the many things I have saved for my grandchildren to read that are in cursive?

Some believe that when children learn to read cursive it helps them memorize the spelling of a word. It is also faster to write in cursive as you don’t have to lift your pen for each letter. When new state standards were released a few years ago, cursive was no longer a requirement so many schools decided not to teach it. 

I have seen some pretty poor signatures over the years but each one is unique to that person. I have heard it said in our office that they can tell who wrote something simply by how it was written. Things that are printed or typed do not have that quality. 

I hope that school systems will continue to at least teach children how to read cursive even if they don’t put a lot of emphasis on writing anything other than their name. This will at least help them in many aspects in their future.