Cursive writing becoming extinct

By Vanessa Morton

With technology of the 21st century constantly evolving, it’s no surprise that communication has become substantially easier. As computers continue to infiltrate our lives, keyboards and screens have replaced pen and paper. While technology has made everything more convenient, the art of writing may be at risk of being forgotten.

This is a problem, as educational institutions across the United States no longer require their elementary school teachers to teach cursive writing. Less time spent on cursive is the result of a relatively new national program known as the “Common Core Standards,” derived from studies done on teachers in 2009. Illinois became one of 44 states that have adopted these standards, which were implemented by the Illinois State Board of Education over the summer.

The new standards state the expectations of skills students should learn at each grade level from kindergarten to their senior year of high school. The program’s focus is to prepare students for a technologically advanced society. It also aims to stop setting learning requirements on a state-by-state basis and adopting a national standard. A national standardized test will be given to facilitate a comparison from students state-to-state beginning in 2014.

However, the idea of shifting from a state-by-state criterion to a nationwide one can do more harm than good. Now instructors will be given a blueprint to abide by when teaching in their classrooms, which will compromise education’s true value. Instructors will use too much class time preparing for a national standardized test.

While the new standards no longer include cursive, they now implement computer skills—along with the traditional reading, language arts, math and science. Encouraging computer skills—such as keyboarding class—in school is never a bad idea; however, there should be a minimum standard for an age level at which it should begin.

Cursive writing has generally been introduced to children in third grade, but has now been replaced by computers. While the aim is to keep students up to date on a “technologically advanced society,” children at such a young age have no need for it.

Cursive writing shouldn’t be replaced; instead, it should continue to be taught as a basic everyday skill. The act of cursive writing has shown to be beneficial to children’s early development.

As they begin to develop their fine motor skills, cursive writing has been found to be a link that improves hand-eye coordination, according to a article, titled “How cursive writing affects brain development.” These skills are also an important step in developing cognitive abilities, which are brain-based skills needed to carry out everyday tasks.

The de-emphasis of cursive might not be seen as a problem for many young adults because the form of writing is rarely used anymore. However, it does become a problem when people lose the ability to write legibly. I admit that typing up notes or an assignment on the computer is much easier than writing in cursive—or writing in general—but cursive writing does benefit people of all ages.

There is also some nostalgia that comes with the loss of cursive writing, harking back to a time when technology wasn’t vital to society. There was a point when people actually took time out of their day to sit down and write a letter or a card to someone instead of a quick email or text message without much thought or effort.

According to an article on, “Cursive handwriting no longer a focus in Illinois elementaries,” studies have shown that writing by hand in any form increases memory, helps students learn to pronounce words when learning to read and sharpens fine motor skills.

So instead of scaling back on cursive writing, maybe we can find a balance between our love for technology and the tradition of a writing style that has been around for ages.