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

I use cursive every day, for my daily journal at work. I find it easier to just quickly jot notes into my journal than to type them into a computer - plus, I know that my handwritten journal can only be seen by those for whom it is intended; it can’t get hacked and published on to the web very easily.

I forgot about that aspect :slight_smile: I also write in cursive on a regular basis. I find that my prayer and faith book looks so much prettier with script, and when I want to make a big point such as a special prayer or thought, I will write it in block letters and it stands out well against the cursive. It’s also quicker to write in cursive than block letters for me. My handwriting is atrocious at times though LOL!

I’m not sure there has been a need for it since the invention of inexpensive ball point pens. Back in the age of writing with a quill dipped in ink, a writer wouldn’t want to lift the quill off the page while an abundance of ink was still on the quill. Otherwise there was a risk of getting an accidental ink blot. Cursive writing minimized the need to lift the quill since the letters of a word were linked together. However, ball point pens eliminated the hazard of ink blots.

We were taught cursive in school 40 years ago, but I think mainly out of tradition. Yes, supposedly it is faster to write that way but I think the speed comes at the cost of legibility. I haven’t written in cursive for a long time.

It seems the teaching of cursive (joined together writing, running writing, etc) is being phased out in the US.

Forty out of 50 states in the United States have adopted the Common Core curriculum, which phases out cursive writing in the classroom, for their public schools. According to its mission statement, Common Core seeks to teach skills that are “robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” In Common Core, the time formerly devoted to teaching cursive is spent on learning to type and other digital skills.

I am not sure that is a good idea to totally abandon it. While writing skill in such a style is increasingly irrelevant, being able to read it does have value.


Just an anecdote you may appreciate. Our youngest went through British National Curriculum schools (in Europe, not the UK). Which means that he was taught this horrid “joined up” writing. IMO, it produces ugly handwriting compared to what Americans used to learn as cursive. His writing is messy-looking and hard to read, sad to say.

Does it matter? YES. They taught him this dumb way of writing and then all the O-level and A-level exams are hand-written and I believe it has counted against him.

In the US I don’t know if it matters to students, since the SAT is multiple choice. Surely other school assignments are still hand-written? Or all done on computer and printed out?

My husbands “joined up” writing is nearly illegible to me. Only now, after seven years, am I starting to be able to decipher it. But when he takes quick notes, forget it, I can’t read it at all. :shrug:


I was taught how to write starting in 2nd grade (went to a private Catholic school till high school). In high school the kids there didn’t know how to read it. So that shows you something right there.

I you gotta have your name in signature not your name in print. Right?

I am not surprised. :smiley:

When I was in grade school, ordinary daily work was checked by the students. You passed your homework forward or back, you were handed someone else’s paper, and while the teacher read out the correct answers, you graded your fellow student.

Yes, we certainly could read each others’ handwriting. Most assuredly.

That’s how we did it, as well - and there were no problems with reading each other’s handwriting that I remember - even the left-handed kids could write legibly.

I occasionally used handwriting for my own notes in university, but I printed on exams and the profs. didn’t seem to mind. I can’t read my mother’s handwriting though, sometimes it just looks like a wavy line to me! Unfortunately, the only way she can print is ALL IN CAPS which looks very unprofessional (and she can’t spell while printing, either, which is just strange to me).

Nowadays, I print as it’s just easier to read. I don’t want to take the chance that someone will misinterpret something I’ve written.

I should also point out that there are fonts that display text in cursive, so it’s not as if no one will be able to send out fancy invitations! :smiley:

Here in Australia our slang term for cursive is ‘running writing’.

I’ve always found it to be quicker to write in cursive than print. Even when I do consciously try to print, I eventually start speeding up again, and so the letters tend to kinda join up again!

And so I guess I’ve always just kinda assumed that was its purpose. :blush:

The only thing nice about cursive is that no one can read my writing but me because it is so atrocious so it is my own coded language. Even I struggle to read my writing at times.

Cursive was the only class I ever failed in grade school. The teacher told me I was going to get an F I basically said I could care less. My parents thought it was hilarious.

The other time my writing got a call to my parents house was in high school. Of course the teacher was mad because my writing was so bad and said something. I then told the teacher that if the graders of the AP exam could read it and give me a passing grade then you can too so deal with it. Oh, good times.

But to answer the question, yes, cursive is still necessary because there are times when one is without a computer and needs to write quickly.

Cursive writing is a good way to develop fine motor skills. It can also be much faster and neater than print, if the writer knows how to do it well. I think there is still value in teaching the fundementals of it to all students, but I don’t see any reason to require students to use it. All students should be taught proper typing (keyboarding) skills as well.

I personally don’t see the point of learning cursive. If a person develops an interest in history, literature, etc., they can learn to read cursive to be able to study older works.

It seems to me that these days, there is so much that children need to learn to be able to merely function and get a decent job in the United States. Cursive handwriting should be set aside in favor of something more useful, like reading at a 6th grade level, at least.

We have a huge, frightening shortage of health care professionals in this country, and yet the “occupiers” are running about claiming that there are no jobs–nonsense!

The problem is, children, especially girls, don’t get enough good education in science and math when they are young, and by the time they get to middle school, they are afraid of science and math.

There is also, unfortunately,a perception that only losers and nerds are interested in science. It’s ridiculous! So many people, including young single women with children (the poorest group in the U.S.) could get off welfare and be self-supporting IF they would have prepared themselves for health care careers, but being “cool” takes priority over learning biology, chemistry, and simple math.

I would like to see our entire education system in the U.S. overhauled and brought up to date. I think we are still trying to hang onto a “classical” system of education that emphasizes “the classics,” and instead, we need to be hammering into children from their first day of kindergarten that they must prepare to get a JOB when they grow up and become self-sufficient members of society who not only support themselves, but give back to their fellow man.

I think education in the U.S. should be done with the intent of helping each and every person find and embrace their “calling” in life, whether it be welding or medicine or the ministry or keeping a home.

Right now, we are telling ALL children that YES, THEY CAN someday go to college and become the President of the United States! We are raising children to believe that they are all equally-capable of being doctors, lawyers, and movie stars, instead of showing them the vast number of valid options that are open to them to be able to support themselves.

I realize that this should be something that parents do–help their children choose and prepare for a job/career/vocation when they grow up. Unfortunately, too many children comes from single-parent homes or dysfunctional homes, and they end up parenting their parents. So it seems to me that the schools have to pick up the slack and help children to find their place in life, a place that will get them off the public dole and help them to contribute to society rather than suck the life out of others.

In case anyone is wondering, my children did receive a classical education from a private, secular prep-school that ran from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, and was highly-competitive, and offered many “old-fashioned” courses e.g. Latin, Calculus, Bible as literature, European history, lots of AP courses for high schoolers, etc… The parents of children at this school were passionate about learning, and so our children were passionate about learning. It also cost a fortune, and so is not an option for most children in the U.S.

I think that homeschooling is an option for those who want a classical education without the huge cost. But for most children in the U.S., homeschooling is not an option.

We simply have to somehow get the idea into our children from an early age that they must WORK for a living, and that they will probably not be professional athletes, rock stars, or write a series of novels that sell billions. Most of us will be nurses, teachers, carpet cleaners, welders, computer programmers, plumbers, short-order cooks, cops, homemakers, etc. I can remember when I was little, ALL of these careers were discussed, and we were given many ideas about what we wanted to do “when we grew up.” Now, the only option is “doctor, lawyer, or President,” as though it is somehow shameful to be a farmer or a truck driver or a mechanic.

Bravo Cat! While I beleive strongly in the “classics”, I see that the way schools are structured now does not fit the way children are raised. Very few high schoolers now find that Virgil or Plato is opening their minds to a new world. They are either sleeping in class or laughing at how stupid the old Greek dude is. It won’t help them function it they can’t really read properly anyway. Or write a complete sentence with proper grammar.

Of course, no one wants a job that they see as being looked down on. Nursing isn’t the heroic Florence Nightingale job it once was. We need to respect those jobs more *and *help kids get prepared to take them.

So… let’s see here. I remember back in the third grade (which really does feel like it was yesterday) my teachers promised me that I would be required to use cursive writing forever. Now I’m in University and if a professor comments on written answer portions of a test at all it will be to tell us to print not write. It just makes things so much easier for the teaching assistants to read. In fact, I so rarely handwrite anymore that sometimes I’ll write some nonsense sentences on paper just to see what it feels like. So is handwriting a useful skill? Maybe out in the wider world I guess, but it certainly hasn’t proven very practical for me as of yet.


The Middle East has always held my interest and as a consequence of that I have tried multiple times (and will try multiple times in the future) to learn Arabic. What always strikes me is how beautiful the written Arabic language is. Everything in Arabic is cursive, as as a consequence reading anything in Arabic (to me at least) is like looking at a piece of art. Come to think of it, whenever I write anything to another person that is supposed to convey meaning (… I’m thinking of the Christmas Cards I’ve just finished, among other things) I use cursive. Because cursive is just that much more personal.

So is it useful? I haven’t seen it as such. But is it still valuable… well I certainly think so in some capacity.

I write in cursive all the time - in fact 99% of what I write as part of my curriculum is in cursive. I think the biggest problem with it is people who don’t develop the skill properly and turn it into a mish-mash. It just takes practice and a steady hand to develop good cursive writing. Of course, not everyone has a lot of time or a steady hand either, so I would say it should still be taught and encouraged but optional.

Agreed - except formal typing I don’t really see as a necessity either though. Granted I still can’t really use one without looking at it briefly, I can put out perhaps 35 or 40 wpm when I need to and I’ve never had any formal classes. We have a Mavis Beacon teacher but that hasn’t been used in ages.

Now that I think about it, I’m not entirely convinced our primary school even systematically taught “joined up” writing. I think most of us just started naturally joining our letters together, and by secondary school it was expected most people had some sort of joined-up writing style.

I don’t know how it is now - I think my little sister does more homework on a computer - but during my secondary school and sixth form education (ages 11-18, between 1998 and 2005), most of our homework was handwritten and handed in for marking, as were all our exams (as, for that matter, were our exams at uni 2007-11).

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