Flip the script: Cursive sees revival in school instruction In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017, photo, Christine Weltner helps one of her third-grade students as he practices his cursive handwriting at P.S.166 in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Flip the script: Cursive sees revival in school instruction
Lexile

Cursive writing is looping back into style in schools across the country. It is happening after a generation of students have been taught only keyboarding, texting and printing out their words longhand.
 
Alabama and Louisiana passed laws in 2016 mandating cursive proficiency in public schools. They were the latest of 14 states that require cursive. And last fall, the 1.1-million-student New York City schools, the nation's largest public school system, encouraged the teaching of cursive to students. That generally would be in the third grade.
 
"It's definitely not necessary but I think it's, like, cool to have it," said Emily Ma. She is a 17-year-old senior at New York City's academically rigorous Stuyvesant High School. She was never taught cursive in school and had to learn it on her own.
 
Penmanship proponents say writing words in an unbroken line of swooshing l's and three-humped m's is just a faster, easier way of taking notes. Others say students should be able to understand documents written in cursive, such as, say, a letter from Grandma. And still more say it's just a good life skill to have. Especially, when it comes to signing your name.
 
That was where New York state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis drew the line on the cursive generation gap. She had encountered an 18-year-old at a voter registration event who printed out his name in block letters.
 
"I said to him, 'No, you have to sign here,'" Malliotakis said. "And he said, 'That is my signature. I never learned script.'"
 
Malliotakis, a Republican from the New York City borough of Staten Island, took her concerns to city education officials. She found a receptive audience.
 
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina distributed a handbook on teaching cursive writing in September and is encouraging principals to use it. It cites research suggesting that fluent cursive helps students master writing tasks such as spelling and sentence construction because they don't have to think as much about forming letters.
 
Malliotakis also noted that students who can't read cursive will never be able to read historical documents. "If an American student cannot read the Declaration of Independence, that is sad."
 
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when cursive writing began to fall out of favor. But cursive instruction was in decline long before 2010, when most states adopted the Common Core curriculum standards, which say nothing about handwriting.
 
Some script skeptics question the advantage of cursive writing over printing and wonder whether teaching it takes away from other valuable instruction.
 
Anne Trubek, author of "The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting," said schools should not require cursive mastery any more than they should require all children to play a musical instrument.
 
"I think students would all benefit from learning the piano," she said. "But I don't think schools should require all students take piano lessons."
 
At P.S. 166 in Queens, Principal Jessica Geller said there was never a formal decision over the years to banish the teaching of cursive.
 
"We just got busy with the addition of technology, and we started focusing on computers," she said.
 
Third-graders at the school beamed as they prepared for a cursive lesson recently. The 8-year-olds got their markers out, straightened their posture and flexed their wrists. Then it was "swoosh, curl, swoosh, curl," as teacher Christine Weltner guided the students in writing linked-together c's and a's.
 
Norzim Lama said he prefers cursive writing to printing "'cause it looks fancy." Camille Santos said cursive is "actually like doodling a little bit."
 
Added Araceli Lazaro: "It's a really fascinating way to write, and I really think that everybody should learn about writing in script."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What factors work against cursive?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (53)
  • grantl-bur
    3/13/2017 - 12:38 p.m.

    Some factors that work against cursive are states dropping it and there is no reason why it is better. The text states, "But cursive instruction was in decline long before 2010, when most states adopted the Common Core curriculum standards.Some script skeptics question the advantage of cursive writing over printing". This clearly states that many states have changed curriculum and see no advantages of cursive.

  • slauren-dav
    3/14/2017 - 08:36 p.m.

    In response to "Flip the script: Cursive sees revival in school instruction," I disagree that cursive should be taught at schools. One reason I disagree is that it is totally unnecessary to learn it. Another reason is that I learned cursive at such a young age, and I never really needed it again. It says in the article "It's hard to pinpoint exactly when cursive writing began to fall out of favor. But cursive instruction was in decline long before 2010". It is clear here in this quote, that states see that cursive is unreasonable. Even though people think that it looks cool, and it is important to read cursive, I think cursive should not be tough.

  • owenp-bru
    3/16/2017 - 11:04 a.m.

    In this story, " Flip the Script: Cursive sees Revival in School Instruction, they explain the benefits of writing in cursive. Cursive is a faster way to write, but it can take time to learn. Some high schoolers don't know cursive. How will they be able to succeed if everybody begins cursive earlier, and they still don't know? It states, " Script skeptics question the advantage of cursive writing over printing and whether teachers take away time from valuable instruction." I belive that math, science, language arts, and geography need to be more focused upon than a cursive writing lesson. Emily Ma said that she thinks that it isn't necessarily needed, but it is pretty cool. I agree with this because most of the public today read print. Bliiboards, Signs, and posters are all in print. Books, newspapers, and magazines are all in print. A majority of our world today is print. I believe that cursive is fancy and looks pretty, but is not needed to have a successful career.

  • gabem-smi1
    3/17/2017 - 02:43 p.m.

    The factors working against cursive are print is easier to read and write, kids write so much faster when writing print and it would take a while to get kids back in the rythem.

  • daniellel-bru
    3/19/2017 - 09:37 a.m.

    According to the article, "Flip the Script: Cursive sees revival in school instruction", certain factors have worked against regarding cursive in school. As it states in paragraph 11, some script skeptics ponder the advantage of cursive writing over printing, wondering if whether teaching it takes away from other valuable instruction. Additionally, when most states adopted the Common Core Curriculum, it stated nothing about handwriting. Anne Trubek said that schools should not require cursive any more than requiring students to play a musical instrument, who is the author of "The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting." Principal Jessica Gellar at P.S. 166 in Queens, said that there is nothing official about taking away cursive handwriting, we just grew away from it with the addition of newer and faster technology. Although learning cursive could be a positive benefit, I think that it shouldn't be required in a student's education.

  • ldawson-dav
    3/20/2017 - 03:53 p.m.

    In response to "Flip the Script" I agree that cursive writing is coming back in style. No one is teaching it here but I wish they would. One reason I agree is that my parents and family write in cursive and sometimes it is hard to read. Another reason is that some old documents from a long time ago are written in cursive and they are hard to read. It says in the article that it is faster to take notes in cursive. That would make things easier in college where you have to take a lot of notes. A third reason is that I think it would be fun to write in cursive. My mom writes in cursive all the time and it looks good.
    One day maybe there will be special classes in school where you learn to write in cursive just like when my parents were kids.

  • benjaminm-bru
    3/20/2017 - 06:42 p.m.

    Throughout time cursive has been taught to some students and left for other students to pick up on their own. Although cursive has its pluses, it also has its negatives. One of the negatives is that, kids younger than the third grade cannot read it. Also, in the text it states " I think students would all benefit from learning the piano," she said." But I don't think schools should require all students to take piano lessons." This means that some people think that cursive is just a preference and that is should be in your power to choose if you want to write in cursive or not. I do agree with the opinion of it being a preference, but I think that cursive is a important skill to have for signatures. Another factor that cursive has against it is that some people and parents in there 20's and 30's were not taught cursive making them unable to read this type of writing. In the end, cursive is important skill and should be learned by all.

  • shelbyr-bru
    3/21/2017 - 09:57 a.m.

    There are many factors that work against cursive script. Today most children are being taught keyboarding skills and writing longhand print in place of cursive. Cursive is often degraded because it is not necessary to learn. Scripture may be important to lean. However, Common Core Curriculum says nothing about it being a necessity. Technology has also degraded cursive writing by a landslide, since computers are where kids are doing most assignments. School teachers simply do not have the lesson plan time to teach cursive writing. Very many factors work against cursive scripture what can we do to work with it?

  • karyssap-bru
    3/21/2017 - 09:57 a.m.

    Some factors that work against cursive are states dropping the teaching of cursive. As stated in the article,"But cursive instruction was in decline long before 2010, when states adopted common core curriculum standards, which say nothing about handwriting." Teachers began to focus on technology more than handwriting. There wasn't enough time to teach their students handwriting. Those are factors that work against cursive handwriting.

  • nolanb1-bru
    3/21/2017 - 11:44 a.m.

    After reading the passage, " Flip The Script:Cursive sees revival in school instruction" some factors work against cursive. "Its definitely not necessary,but I think its cool to have it" - Emiliy Ma I feel like our attitude against cursive has changed. Another reason is having technology come into our world/lives we are just to busy to get around to this. Also most states are starting to adopt Common Core Curriculum Standards, which say nothing about using cursive handwriting. Some factors do work against cursive and some do not, people of this world say its not useful only a fun skill and I hope to change this somehow!

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