Monday, November 18, 2013

revisiting cursive

Did you know there was an issue about cursive writing? To teach or not to teach, to write or not to write...

Where do you stand on this issue, what are your thoughts?

Three years ago I wrote the post (below) about cursive writing, which prompted some good discussions with bloggers and others, including Bonnie from Chattanooga, who since then has sent me articles on cursive in the news, knowing that the subject was important to me. Just this weekend she sent an AP article titled, Should students learn cursive? Some states say yes, in which these lines popped out:

In years gone by, it {cursive} helped distinguish the literate from the illiterate.

cursive conveys intelligence and grace, engages creativity and builds brain cells… more areas of the human brain are engaged when children use cursive handwriting than when they keyboard

scholars of the future will lose the ability to interpret valuable cultural resources - historical documents… The Constitution of the United States is written in cursive. Think about that.


I am collecting old recipes for a family cookbook and of course many of them are written out in cursive writing. Just seeing the words written out identifies that person to me and sparks wonderful childhood memories. Cursive writing is so personal and unique to each individual, a written and tangible extension of their personality that you can hold and keep. I am including some of these hand-written recipes in the book, I just hope the younger generation can read them.




August 20, 2010 - Longhand:


Cursive - (definition at Merriam-Webster): a) of writing: flowing often with the strokes of successive characters joined and the angles rounded; b): having a flowing, easy, impromptu character.

Longhand - handwriting: as a): characters or words written out fully by hand; b): cursive writing.

Penmanship - 1): the art or practice of writing with the pen; 2): quality or style of handwriting.

Cursive writing is obsolete - why didn't I know this?

I missed a clue a year or so back when the grandkids were so surprised when I wrote on their blackboard wall in cursive, I didn't put it together at the time, but they were all like 'how'd you do that?'

As a medical transcriptionist, I once was hired because Medicare could not read the doctor's handwriting and he had to go back and dictate all of his office notes in order to be compliant with their demands - a good thing, for me.

You may not be able to read a doctor's handwriting and prescription, but you'll notice his bills are neatly typewritten. ~Earl Wilson

I remember spending what seems like the entire 3rd grade practicing cursive writing. The charts and arrows, the way the letters were supposed to fit together for a seamless word, the flow of the pencil or pen, not lifting off the paper until the end of the word. The fun curvy capital L and the funny looking capital Q that looked like a number 2.

So many things have become obsolete, but I really did not see this one coming, and now it is almost gone?

It makes me want to start writing more, you know on paper, with a pen and all, to preserve the mechanics of writing. Maybe get this book from Amazon that advertises - make handwriting practice meaningful. I wonder how long I would last? If my wrists hurt now from typing thousands of words a day, I wonder how they would feel if I wrote it all out longhand?

Time magazine article, Mourning the Death of Handwriting:

Zaner-Bloser (the method taught in schools) recently eliminated all superfluous adornments from their alphabet. "They were nice and pretty and cosmetic, but that isn't the purpose of handwriting anymore. The purpose is to get a thought across as quickly as possible."

So it all comes down to time. We don't have time to write anymore. So sad.

Don't hurry. Don't worry. You're only here for a short visit. So don't forget to stop and smell the roses. ~Walter Hagen

Handwriting is so personal, from the boldness of the stroke to how many curlicues you use, or do you dot your I's with a heart? Now the only way we can personalize the appearance of our writing is by using different fonts. What font are you?

I started to say that I have my signature in cursive at the bottom of all my blog posts, but upon further inspection it is not cursive at all, and of course it is not actually MY signature, but one created online here. Even I have contributed to the demise of cursive writing, bummer.

So go, write something down, put pen to paper one last time before you forget how.

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

1 comment:

The Calico Cat said...

I think it definitely should be taught. As many people as possible should be able to read primary sources & not have to rely on someone translating. Can you imagine hiring someone to translate cursive writing?

Just look at your recipe card "1/2 spoon Baking P"

I translate that as 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

Someone in a hurry or not versed in baking could translate that as 1/2 tablespoon baking powder, or baking soda... (The same person could be adding a 1/2 cup of salt!)