Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Does Cursive Still Matter?

We live in a world where almost everything is typewritten. It can easily be argued that it is much more important from a practical standpoint that children today be able to type well rather than write well. My local school system doesn't even teach cursive anymore.

In all honesty, my own cursive writing is atrocious. I pretty much failed handwriting in Catholic school. People forced to read my handwriting are subject to a puzzle of brain-numbing proportions. Thankfully, most of what I write is typed, but the one thing that I still hand write are my private journals. I've been keeping them since I was 15 and I have always planned to leave them to a grandchild someday, hoping that they may be interested. But, I recently realized, that yet-to-be-born grandchild may not even be able to read it, and not just because my handwriting is poor. He or she may not even know how to read cursive.

Children may not need to learn to write in cursive (with the exception of a signature), but if they don't at least learn to read it, we as a people will quickly lose the ability to decipher many historical documents. In May, Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts ran a special series of programs on handwriting. In the advertisement for this, the museum stated: "So much of what we know about the past has been learned from handwritten documents - letters, diaries, and account books are some examples. As we become more and more distanced from handwriting, we could lose an important skill."

The world will not suffer if no one can read my journals after I die. Heck, it might be the better for it! But, there is much to be lost if we don't at least teach our children how to decipher the writing style of the past.

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