Updated August 22, 2019
In years past, public schools have continuously removed traditional activities and methods from their regular curriculum—diagramming sentences, drilling number facts, memorization, cursive writing, and more. However, several states have been working to reintroduce one of these activities into their schools’ curriculum because they see the benefits it offers their students. In this blog, we’re going to cover those benefits and show why learning cursive can prepare students for a successful education.
We believe cursive writing in the early grades is valuable and necessary. While we offer both manuscript and cursive curriculum options for kindergarten, we encourage that cursive be taught early. We asked Dr. Phyllis Rand, senior editor of Abekamazing for Christian School and a former Pensacola Christian College administrator with over 40 years of service in Christian education, why she encourages that cursive be taught in the younger grades. Here’s what she told us.
Why Abeka Encourages Teaching Cursive in the Younger Grades
Cursive is actually easier to learn than manuscript.
According to Dr. Rand, the argument that cursive writing is harder for children to learn is not based on facts. Young children struggle to write the straight lines and perfect circles manuscript requires. Yes, cursive requires skill. But it also requires curved lines, which children can easily form. Additionally, the flow of cursive is easier than the frequent stop and start motion of manuscript.
Cursive provides long-term academic benefits, especially in language development.
Cursive writing stimulates the part of the brain that develops language skills, Dr. Rand says. There are also reasons to believe that cursive improves students’ reading and spelling skills. When young children learn cursive early, they are less likely to confuse letters that look similar in print, such as b and d, because cursive letters are more distinct. Students who confuse letters less become better readers and they learn to spell correctly.
Cursive helps children develop fine motor skills and coordination.
The benefits of teaching cursive go beyond education and directly affect physiological development. Writing stimulates the development of fine motor skills and coordination by causing eyes and hands to focus on the same thing. While writing in cursive, children are focusing their hands and eyes on the formation of the letter. Dr. Rand quotes Jeanette Farmer, a handwriting specialist when she says “handwriting has a physiological/psychological link in the brain.’” This link is so strong that “‘nothing else done in the classroom can begin to compare with the powerful impact that repetitively manipulating the thumb and fingers over time has on the young brain.” In an article entitled “What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain,” William Klemm adds that “cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding.” When young students learn cursive, they are further prepared to learn new skills.
Cursive helps develop character.
The formation of character is an important byproduct of learning cursive. Students have to be careful, orderly, responsible, and thorough. Cursive requires strengths such as patience, memory, focus, prediction, attention, sequencing, estimation, and creativity. The practice gives students opportunities to develop cognition, learn skills, and learn work habits that will carry into higher learning and adulthood, and benefit them their whole life.
In response to public schools dropping cursive curriculum, Dr. Rand says this: “Let us not be hasty to eliminate opportunities for students to develop cognition, learn skills, and learn work habits that will benefit them their whole life. Lessons in cursive writing are well worth the few minutes of class time given to them daily.”
Learn more about our preschool curriculum here.