- Lower School
Cursive handwriting has become a rite of passage in second grade at Stanley Clark. Our students eagerly await the day we pass out their crisp new handwriting books and begin practicing this slanted, twirly alphabet. We value teaching cursive not only because it connects us to our past but also because it provides an important foundation for deeper learning.
While it can be challenging to fit everything into our full curriculum, cursive writing has tangible and lasting cognitive benefits for our students. Scientists who have administered brain scans during handwriting have found that cursive, unlike printing or typing, activates both hemispheres in the brain, which supports the enhanced development of cognition, language, and working memory. Studies have also shown that students process and remember information more effectively when writing in cursive in comparison to printing or typing on a keyboard.
"The physical act of touching pen to paper builds muscle memory that is foundational for learning," as stated in the article Research Shows Huge Benefits to Learning Cursive, but Most States Don’t Require It. Forming the curves and connections of cursive letters requires hand-eye coordination and planning ahead–the same skills required to play an instrument or participate in sports. The left-to-right motion and connected letters necessary to writing in cursive support fine motor skill development and also help prevent reversals (writing letters backward).
And finally, cursive handwriting enables our students to read cursive script, including in historical documents and handwritten letters from older generations, providing a powerful connection to our past. Taking time for cursive writing in our classrooms shows that we recognize our relationship to those who have come before us and that we value the developmental benefits of a style of writing that requires a little extra time and effort.
So the next time you reach for your device to send a text or email, consider writing a lovely cursive note instead. You may be creating an artifact for future generations to read!
About the Author
2nd Grade Teacher