Mr. Exum's piece this morning brings back the joy of learning how to write in the first and second grades beginning with those giant cards the teacher held up, each bearing a letter of the alphabet in bold black print. Next came the cursive and that to me was pure art. It still is.
I am fortunate to have the many love letters from my great-grandfather to his sweetheart (my great-grandmother) dated in the late 1880's and early 1890's in his beautiful handwriting in cursive italic with flourishes primarily in a very fine pen or pencil. His writing is consistent with that of our founding fathers in the historic documents we honor and cherish.
Being an avid fan of the various forms of needlework, particularly with silks, I often refer to my cursive as "word stitchery" since it falls into place so beautifully. I believe our youngsters will enjoy cursive as an art form that eventually will become as natural to them as speaking. After all, handwriting in cursive essentially is speaking with the ultimate class. It is too bad that all those who write prescriptions for our medications did not learn the value of writing in a legible form so we could know what we are requesting when we tender the scribbles to the pharmacist.
Each time I sign a check in the future I will feel Mr. Exum's pain and appreciate my cursive even more. Once perfected, the joy of it will never leave you.
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While I appreciate that cursive writing is almost a fine art beloved by the English literature crowd, it is not enjoyed by many science and engineer professions who predominantly print for laboratory records and engineering documents. I have never seen engineering or laboratory notes in cursive.
I am in awe of the individual that can write in comprehendible cursive, it is beautiful. I have just rarely seen these individuals that write cursive well.
A major downside of cursive is for children with sensory integration deficiencies in fine motor skills. We see this in Autism and other disabilities.
Cursive is not achievable in many of these cases, because the connectivity of letters and challenging shapes. Printing box style letters is achievable for many of these students due to their inability to cross midline of their brain. To be able to write challenging shapes means you dominate hand must be able to cross the midpoint or midline of you face. When we write, we cross over our hand across our face. Try writing without your dominant hand, right or left, moving over to the other side of your face. Hard huh? That is what a child not being able to cross midline faces trying to write, and box print is about as good as it can get.
I hope this legislation is not going to have unintended consequence for a significant group so children, mandating cursive that they cannot achieve due to sensory integration problems.