Cursive is not dead despite the fact that many schools no longer promote this art of penmanship and aid to learning. In fact, cursive is very much alive at Tall Oaks Classical School. Stop by my classroom anytime to see cursive on the white board at the front of class as well as on the papers on students’ desks.
At Tall Oaks, students begin cursive in Kindergarten where children hone in on their fine motor skills that are integrated, through learning cursive, with visual and tactile processing skills. In the grammar school, cursive is mandated in all subject areas. And, it’s a beautiful thing to see!
According to a 2016 study by William Klemm, Ph.D., senior professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, the advantages to cursive writing are far-reaching to include enhanced creative thinking, better critical thinking, improved memory retention, and of course, reading skills. Care to read The Constitution in its original form or research your ancestry via the 1890 U.S. Census?
The fact is that the brain is more deeply engaged in the process of creating those curlicue letters when cursive is put into play over printing or typing. It is this kind of discipline that further engages the mind to think and create at a more thoughtful level. What are at first simply the letters of the name of a Tall Oaks student finger painted in one thoughtful swoop quickly turn into words, then sentences, then more illustrative sentences due to the awareness of limited word banks (thesauruses are a hot commodity in my room), then paragraphs, essays, and the eventual Eleventh and Twelfth Grade Theses capstones.
While a growing tide feels “if it ain’t broke, break it,” some are changing their minds after seeing the effects of tossing this art to the wind, and cursive is making its way back into some schools. Just chat with my sixth grade class who received a letter from a fellow sixth grade student as part of the “Great Mail Race” in which same-grade students exchange information about their state and school. This printed letter revealed to them for perhaps the first time an awareness of the vast differences in composition standards, and an appreciation for their own ability to write eloquently and in cursive as second nature.
And the endearing beauty of cursive simply does not grow old. No typeface or printed words will ever be able to outweigh how your mother so beautifully first penned your name. It’s a fingerprint – uniquely created to express love. And love – there is nothing greater.