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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

No case for cursive

Cursive handwriting instruction is returning to elementary school classrooms in New York City,” reports NBC News.

Penmanship remains relevant, states the city’s instruction manual for cursive handwriting. “First, learning to form letters by hand improves perception of letters and contributes to better reading and spelling,” the manual advises. “Second, automatic letter writing promotes better composing—both amount written and quality of writing.”

There’s “no evidence” that writing in cursive is better than printing for most normally developing children, writes Philip Ball, a London-based writer, a leftie and an eschewer of cursive.

“Writing by hand aids cognition in ways that typing does not: It’s well worth teaching,” writes Ball. “But imposing cursive from an early age is another matter.”

Writing in cursive is slower than manuscript (printing), according to a 2013 study, writes Ball. “Fastest of all was a personalized mixture of cursive and manuscript developed spontaneously by pupils around the fourth to fifth grade.”

There may be an advantage for some children with developmental issues, he concludes, but there’s no reason all children should learn cursive.

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