Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Abby from Buford. Abby Wonders, “Why do we have to write in cursive when signing documents and other things?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Abby!
What do you do when you receive some exciting news? If you're like most kids, you can't wait to share it with your friends. But how do you do that?
In fact, many schools no longer teach kids penmanship. Instead, they concentrate on technology skills, such as typing and keyboarding. This has led some people to believe that one day soon we'll stop writing in cursive altogether.
Most kids learn to print letters when they learn the alphabet. Many are no longer taught how to write in cursive, though.
If you're not familiar with cursive writing, take a look at a handwritten document, such as the Declaration of Independence. See how the letters are slanted and connected together? That's cursive writing.
Writing experts believe that some form of cursive writing has been around as long as writing itself. Cursive writing is a natural way to make handwriting more efficient by connecting letters together. Writing a sentence in cursive is much faster and easier than printing the same sentence.
Our modern form of cursive writing is usually credited to 15th-century Italian Niccolo Niccoli. His unique script evolved over time into what we now call italics. However, forms of cursive writing had been in use long before, even dating back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.
Cursive writing systems for use in schools developed during the mid-19th and early-20th centuries. Some popular systems included the Spencerian method (named after Platt Rogers Spencer and seen in the logos of Coca Cola and Ford), the Palmer method (named after Austin Norman Palmer), the D'Nealian method (named after Donald Neal Thurber), and the Zaner-Bloser method (named after Charles Zaner and Elmer Bloser).
As typewriters, word processors, and finally computers became commonplace, less emphasis was placed on penmanship. After the widespread implementation of Common Core State Standards (which don't require cursive instruction), many states stopped teaching cursive completely. A few states, however, have kept cursive instruction and even made it mandatory.
Might cursive writing disappear forever eventually? Does it matter? Should we care? Some educators believe we should care, and some experts think that cursive will always survive regardless of what technologies or curricula exist.
Because cursive is a more efficient means of handwriting, some experts believe it'll always be around, even if it's not taught. The question then becomes is it better to have a million different individual versions of cursive, many of which might be illegible, or to teach a standard script.
Many people believe that cursive should still be taught in school. Some people cite the need to be able to read handwritten documents, as well as to sign your own signature on important legal documents in the future.
Others point to studies which suggest that writing by hand activates areas of the brain that remain unaffected by typing on a keyboard. Experts also suggest that students who take notes by hand retain more information than those who type notes. Some people even claim that handwriting text improves idea generation and vocabulary usage.