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 have exciting news? If you’re like most kids, you can’t wait to share it with your friends. But how do you do that? If your friends are with you, it’s easy to tell them in person. If not, you’re probably going to reach for an electronic device. You’ll send your news in a text or direct message.

What you probably won’t do is reach for a pen and paper to write them a letter by hand. In today’s modern digital age, handwritten letters have mostly become a thing of the past. Most kids learn to print letters when they learn the alphabet. Many are no longer taught how to write in cursive, though. This has led some people to believe that one day soon we’ll stop writing in cursive altogether.

Are you familiar with cursive writing? If not, 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 say that some form of cursive writing has been around as long as writing itself. This style of 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 writing the same sentence in print.

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. Some date back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.

In the 20th century, typewriters, word processors, and computers became common. As a result, less time was spent practicing penmanship. Today, most states use the Common Core State Standards, which don’t require kids to learn cursive writing. Some states have stopped teaching it completely. Others have kept cursive instruction and even made it mandatory.

Will cursive writing one day disappear forever? Does it matter? Should we care? Some educators believe we should care. They point to studies which suggest that writing by hand activates more areas of the brain than typing on a keyboard. Studies show that students who take notes by hand take in more information than those who type notes. Some people even claim that handwriting text improves idea creation and vocabulary usage.

Cursive is a more efficient means of handwriting, so many experts believe it’ll always be around, whether it’s taught or not. Many people believe that it should still be taught in school. Some cite the need to be able to read handwritten documents. They also point to the need to sign your own name on important legal documents in the future.

What do you think? Is cursive important? Do you know how to write in this way? As technology advances and becomes more widespread, cursive writing may or may not become a thing of the past.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Mmmm! Can you smell that? Join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow as we defrost that frozen Frisbee and bake it into a tasty treat!