Keyboard: Cursive Killer

So what’s your favorite font? Times New Roman? Comic Sans? Tahoma? Maybe even something fancy, like Vivaldi? Well, according to third-grade English teacher, Ms. Katie Hammond, of the Dolbeare Elementary, most of her students’ favorite fonts in the computer lab are cursive fonts. In fact, when third graders are being taught cursive, Hammond says, “Most students love cursive! I think the main reason they enjoy it so much is that it makes them feel grown-up. They know their parents and older siblings can write in cursive, so they want to as well. (And, they think it looks cool!)”If this is so, then why are schools across the country scratching cursive writing lessons off the learning curriculum? Well, with computer technology on the rise, it seems most schools find it more of a priority to teach children how to operate and type on a computer properly rather than learn how to write the alphabet in cursive correctly. There’s also an increasing perception that cursive is complicated and useless. A study was conducted showing that only 12% of adults claim to use cursive after graduating high school, proving this furthermore. Some even suggest this is because students are able to print out more words faster when typing, resulting in better grammar and spelling as well as punctuation and overall length. Not to mention, it’s immediately clear and easy to read.  But, on the flipside, other recent studies have argued that there are definite benefits to mastering penmanship – higher SAT scores, to be more specific; although this is still quite controversial.Cursive enthusiasts also point to recent data on a fairly new writing section of the SATs established in 2006. The data specifies that the 15% of students who wrote their essays in cursive did slightly better than those who used some other type of handwriting, like printing, for instance. This is because those writing in cursive could write faster in one fluid motion, allowing them to write longer essays as opposed to the tedious etching of each letter when printing regularly. Ms. Hammond even says that, “Cursive can be especially valuable for students who have difficulties with their printing. Students who have difficulties with letter reversals (writing a “b” in place of a “d”) or cases (inserting a capital letter in the miDdle of a word) while printing tend to display these difficulties less when using cursive.”

In addition, cursive is considered a type of calligraphy and a revered skill in the Arts. If the school systems deprive pupils of cursive, they could be ridding the world of a rare art form — not to mention the constant demand for calligraphers regarding Wedding Invitations or Thank-you cards.   So the same question presents itself once again:  Is cursive a dying form of art and a secret tool for concentration? Or is it simply a waste of time in an age in which computers dominate?