The Value of Cursive Handwriting
By Chuck Stilwell
Dr. George H. Early in Academic Therapy Vol. IX, No.1, discusses the value of cursive handwriting. He found in his experience with learning-disabled children that cursive writing, properly taught, is a powerful tool for upgrading academic achievement, especially in spelling and reading. Dr. Early advocates teaching the art of good fluent cursive handwriting along with reading skills.
Advantages of Cursive Handwriting
One advantage of cursive writing is that each word consists of one continuous line where all elements flow together. The brain learns better that way. That is perhaps why the brain is disturbed by some of the rap music, whereas it is benefitted by the fluidity of certain symphony music, such as waltzes and polkas. The rhythm in cursive writing promotes the automatic nature of the writing task. After correctly learning cursive handwriting, attention can be directed to the message to be conveyed.
Dr. Early states it is essential in teaching cursive writing to emphasize the orderly and rhythmic flow of the movements which such writing naturally requires. In addition, cursive writing helps to prevent the development of early problems with directionality, whereas manuscript writing tends to promote such problems. The brain may not be able to fully process the information when there is not a flow. Perhaps that is why even the rhythmic flow of a good reader rewards him/her with better comprehension than a word for word reader.
Other studies show a significant positive difference in the academic success of children who began cursive writing in Kindergarten and learned manuscript in 3rd grade. Those who didn’t learn cursive in Kindergarten did poorer in both manuscript and cursive. We have found it so at Stilwell’s Learning Center in Sierra Vista, AZ. We can successfully teach students to have excellent cursive writing while concentrating on reading skills in 8 to 12 hours of instruction.
Dr. Gerald Getman sums it up in his January 1985 Academic Therapy article entitled, “Hand-Eye Coordination”. He refers to “Writing—The Most Important Process” and discusses how writing is “the road to reading; the most highly developed expression of self; the most concrete evidence of one’s vocabulary; thus the most reliable indicator of one’s intelligence.”
I strongly urge teachers and parents to embrace cursive handwriting for good learning.
At Stilwell’s Learning Center – We Get Results!