Is Cursive Handwriting Necessary?

Schools are spending less time than ever teaching the art of cursive handwriting, especially as more time is devoted to typing in the early grades. On the 2007 SAT essay questions, only 15% of college-bound students used cursive writing. The rest wrote in print. Some teachers argue that writing in script helps hand-eye coordination, even though average legibility peaks around 4th grade.
Text messaging, e-mail, and word processing have replaced handwriting outside the classroom, said Cheryl Jeffers, a professor at Marshall University's College of Education and Human Services, and she worries they'll replace it entirely before long.

"I am not sure students have a sense of any reason why they should vest their time and effort in writing a message out manually when it can be sent electronically in seconds."

For Jeffers, cursive writing is a lifelong skill, one she fears could become lost to the culture, making many historic records hard to decipher and robbing people of "a gift."

What do you think? Is it important for children to learn cursive, or should it go the way of the dinosaur? Link -via Digg

(image credit: AP/Bob Bird)

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Studies have shown that students perform better in written exams if they write using cusive, or joined-up handwriting. The brain is left with more creative thinking space when writing of words is flowing and automatic as opposed to writing individual charaters.
Cursive writing doesn't have to be 'old-fashioned' and loopy; modern cursive has fewer loops but the letter flow naturally into each other. There is also a need for printed writing when labels are required, and schools should ensure that they don't teach cursive exclusively.
My kids are OK at cursive handwriting but were never taught printing which really annoys me. shows how to write modern cursive.
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It should still be taught, in my opinion. Over the past couple decades, writing skills have diminished sharply. Not just cursive, either. I've interviewed prospective employees, all college graduates, that can't even put two words together, much less put them into print. Sometimes skills are worth learning to promote discipline for learning other skills that are more important.
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