Regarding the guest commentary, “Cursive writing isn’t a skill students need in 21st century”: To say cursive writing “isn’t a skill students need…” is simply foolish! All the original historical documents and even an individual family’s own history is written in cursive, so how will 21st century students read it?
Entering into any contract requires a “signature,” which is the personalized and unique identity of an individual. Twenty-first century students cannot enter into a contract or, I guess, apply for a voter registration or a driver’s license. As a former English/exposition teacher, I have observed a definite decline in mathematical and creative-problem solving skills with the absence of more and more cursive writing, but I never had any data to “prove” this. Well, apparently, I was not alone.
Karin James, psychologist, Indiana University, conducted research in which she scanned the brains of four- and five-year olds before and after half of them had been taught to visually recognize chosen letters and the other half had been taught to write them. After four weeks, brain scans showed that the minds in the second group had enormous spikes in activity in the reading network.
An educational psychology professor at the University of Washington, Virginia Berninger, claims that because handwriting necessitates physical sequential strokes to form just one letter (as opposed to a single strike in hitting a single key), massive regions in the brain are activated, including areas of thinking, language and temporary information storage and management.
Scientists are discovering that learning cursive is an important tool for cognitive development, particularly in training the brain to learn “functional specialization” — the capacity for optimal efficiency. With cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control and thinking.
Common Core has done nothing to improve any student’s learning ability no matter how dumbed down the tests become, and cursive writing should be reinstated into the primary grades, so that 21st century students can even understand what 20th (and before) century students were even talking about, much less be able to solve tomorrow’s challenges!