Cursive Handwriting Getting Erased as Schools Teach Typing Over Script

Filed under: In The News, Education: Big Kids

cursive handwriting

Writing things out by hand? Don't make us LOL. Credit: Getty

With the mass adoption of text messaging as a form of communication over the past 10 years, educators and linguists have lamented the butchering of the English language by the younger generation, what with its abbreviations, acronyms and all manner of "text-speak."

Yet, while many of us have learned to decipher our kids' text messages and really do understand what GR8, BTW and LOL mean, a new threat to the written word has been identified.

Cursive handwriting has been omitted from the Common Core State Standards, the new curriculum standard that more than 40 states adopted last summer, the Associated Press reports.

Educators in Georgia may start using the new standards in schools as early as the next school year. However, Matt Cordoza, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Education, tells the AP that teachers and administrators from across the state will meet in March to decide whether to amend the standards to retain cursive writing.

Typically taught in third and fourth grade, cursive is already disappearing in some classrooms. With students widely using computers or text messages instead of hand-writing their communications, teachers are choosing to spend less time teaching script, the news service says.

Even when handwritten assignments are required, many students reportedly prefer to use printed block letters instead of script, Ellen Jackson, a teacher at Clarke Middle School in Athens, Ga., tells the Athens Banner-Herald.

"A lot of my students over the years have stopped being able to read cursive writing, so when I write on the white board, I have to make sure to write in print because they can't read it," Jackson, who has taught English for 20 years, tells the newspaper.

Though cursive is still a requirement in Georgia, many teachers say they don't have as much time to spend on cursive handwriting lessons, and that standardized tests given to elementary school students don't measure how well they can write in script.

"You try to squeeze handwriting in anywhere you can," Lisa Lyles, a third grade teacher at Gaines Elementary School in Athens, Ga., tells the AP. "Unfortunately, the state has so many other standards that something like handwriting has gotten to the point where we don't have enough time in the day."

Those who favor keeping cursive in the curriculum say it helps kids learn how to read and communicate. However, the widespread use of computers has forced students to learn to type at the time they would be learning to write script.

Yet, more than 80 percent of written work in classrooms is still done by hand, Kathleen Wright, a national product manager for Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of education writing materials, tells the AP.

"Students need to become fluent in writing, and be able to write fast and automatic," Wright tells the news service. "What I'm hearing is these kids are missing the practice they need in handwriting instruction between second grade and middle school and their skills decline."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.