Do children need to learn cursive anymore? Or has it died with the birth of technology?

My husband, who is British, has a very difficult time reading my cursive writing (but I always get compliments from Americans on how pretty my writing is). What he learned is slightly different (called “joined up”), with the same concept, but the letter formation is different. He doesn’t feel that cursive writing has an purpose in society (he studied Linguistics at university), and it got me thinking – has the need for cursive come to an end with technology?

Aside from signing your name - can you really think of a purpose for cursive, outside of pretty wedding invitations and formal documents? :confused:

I’m quite sure I’ve heard of schools that don’t even teach it anymore.

I have such vivid memories of writing with that big extra fat black pencil in Mrs. Hunt’s first grade class, on lined newsprint. I always had trouble making a capital “Q” :smiley:


This is an interesting history on cursive:


My children’s school teach it.

My poor son’s writing is illegible…but his notes and tests need to be in cursive. :frowning: He can type his home projects though.

DD still prints, and has very nice handwriting.

When I hand write I call it “script” it isn’t very pretty, but it’s quicker than printing.:o

My index finger got cut in half (writing hand) right around the time we were learning cursive in school, so I missed out on almost all of it.

I think doing I’m okay despite the setback.

My twins in 5th grade know it. Same, DD has great handwriting and DS not so much. They also learned Powerpoint presentations. That was impressive to me.

I’m not convinced that there has been a ‘need’ for cursive since the advent of affordable typewriters.

Even though I learned cursive in school, I pretty much never used it except for the few years it was required…in Middle School I reverted back to print (with some lingering cursive influence) and have used that ever since.

We called it “joined up” or just “handwriting” (whereas printing was the opposite), and yes most certainly do I think it should still be taught! The little education that our children receive today is important, and proper handwriting skills should be an important topic!

I know that in my state, teaching cursive has gone out the window since handwriting is not on the big standardized test at the end of the year. :rolleyes:

Not saying you are wrong, but why do you think cursive writing in particular is important? I agree that at the very least a person should be able to print clearly, but why in particular do you feel cursive should be taught?


Cursive writing can be faster and neater than print. If you have lots to write and it should be legible, and you don’t have much time, cursive wins.

In the medical profession, in Britain at least, the GMC always moans about the need for doctors to write proper notes about patient encounters. It can help there, short, neat and fast. In the US, I don’t know, since you guys have gone all digital and electronic. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. It still matters in clinical research trials though where there is resistance to go all electronic and paper source notes are still quite common if not required.

I don’t even sign my name in cursive writing. My “signature” is a scrawly monogram with a big ol’ circle around the whole mess. It’s unintelligible and I would imagine really hard to forge.

The last time I tried writing in cursive I had to stop because I was so focused on the mechanics of the writing that I kept losing track of what I wanted to say. It was too mentally cumbersome. When I was in college I was reluctant to use electric typewriters (yes, I’m that old) because I could hand write faster than I typed. Now it’s just the opposite.

If I could prognosticate I’d wager that in 50 years there will be very little need for penmanship, and manual writing will be reserved for hobbyists, much like calligraphy is today.

The children in our town are no longer being taught cursive. I think it’s really sad! Even countries like China have their own form of ‘cursive’ writing. C’mon people it’s not that hard and can look quite nice!!!

I think as long as they are taught to print they will be fine. Any type of formal letter or report has been typed for quite some time now.

I can see offering it as an elective course. There need to at least be electives offered to learn to read cursive so that future historians can make sense of old documents. Communication changes over time and I think we will see this with cursive.

Not teaching cursive in school just because typewriters and computers are available, is like not teaching Shakespear because The Baby Sitters Club and The Harry Dresden Files are available.

Same here. I haven’t written in cursive regularly since grade school (my cursive was horrid and I don’t miss it). Today I only use it to write checks and even then it’s a print/cursive hybrid where I just print the more elaborate capital letters.

I still think children should learn it anyway just to have that skill under their belt. The biggest thing I got out of my cursive lessons was the ability to *read *it.

Does cursive just mean joined-up writing? Wikipedia says it’s “is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner”. You learn something every day :wink:

I always assumed cursive was just a really fancy, elaborate type of joined-up writing. Are there really schools that don’t teach joined-up writing any more.

I and most people I know have a style of joined-up writing of varying degrees of legibility - people often say they can’t always read mine (though to be fair they’re often trying to read my own notes - I’m more careful with writing others need to read - mainly rare letters or postcards). I can also write a basic form of joined-up Cyrillic (Russian) letters.

Yes, some form of joined up writing should still be taught even if we all end up having minicomputers that never run out of battery on us at all times. But an elaborate style (which I personally don’t always find that legible) like I image being taught in 1950s British boarding schools maybe isn’t.

Edit: It seems cursive is more an American expression, so maybe that explains it. I first heard the word on a Simpsons episode (the James Bond supervillian spoof one) in my childhood where elaborate handwriting was depicted on a blackboard. Maybe that’s where I got the idea from?

I think they should. Imagine rendering much of written English unintelligible for future generations. That would include the Declaration of independence, the Constitution and many other revered documents. Find great-grandmother’s old letters in the attic, or perhaps even George Washington’s grocery list, and they might as well be in Greek, because people won’t be able to know what they are.

Many, many decades of land title records are in cursive. Will they become the preserve only of those who have undertaken to comprehend an arcane script for occupational purposes? Old Court records are the same. Self research of land histories, family histories and many other things will be blocked off from people, and for what? Because one has to sweat a bit learning cursive in the first three grades of elementary school? Might as well drop history and older literature as well. After all, those subjects don’t help a bit in operating a computer or trading derivatives either.

And of course it’s faster to write in cursive. That’s why it existed in the first place.


I’m getting my 11 year old daughter a nice fountain pen for Christmas. She specifically asked for one since she wants to become a writer. This is a girl with her own Mac Laptop.

If our kids don’t learn cursive writing, it will go the way of latin, as well as other old languages. Who will be able to read old manuscripts in 200/300 hundred years from now? So much will be lost. Let’s keep it alive unless we want all those wonderful documents and letters our ancestors wrote to each other to need interpreting.

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