Has Cursive Become Useless?

Last Thursday, I read an article that said Indiana schools are no longer requiring their students to learn cursive. Is that a tragedy or a relief?

I learned cursive in the third grade. I did not use it in the fourth grade, but for some reason, in fifth grade, we were supposed to use it again. Needless to say, I had forgotten how to form most of those squiggly letters in the year I hadn’t used it.

Today, I occasionally write in cursive, when I write poetry on paper and of course, when I sign my name. If I really try hard, my cursive ends up looking somewhat decent, but it’s nowhere near as beautiful as the cursive my grandma or any of my relatives born before 1960 uses.

Will every school system in the United States follow suit and abolish cursive like Indiana has? In a way, I hope not. Cursive definitely has its uses. It’s a faster form of writing that, given practice, is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read, even though it may be as archaic as the typewriter.

I’m still divided on whether or not cursive should be taught. Keyboarding may be a more valuable skill to have these days, but cursive is something that demands practice, discipline, and a kind of perfection. It’s an art, almost like music. But if cursive is still taught, it should be taught consistently – not abandoned after third grade.

What do you think? 🙂

13 thoughts on “Has Cursive Become Useless?

  1. Hi, Maggie

    This question seems to be bouncing all around the Blognet these days. People say they’re divided on it, but most bemoan the loss of the art.

    The thing is that our opinion isn’t worth much. It is easier to type, and much easier to read what is typed, even it it is full of errors. Kids are growing up around keyboards, and, like yourself, no longer are called upon to write cursively. World-wide electronic signatures are just around the corner, so you won’t have to use cursive to sign things soon.

    Something else to consider, though is this: typing is also on the way out. And many of the younger people who are laughing at the cursive tribe will be complaining about using voice-writers. “It isn’t natural,” they’ll say. “I like the feel of a keyboard,” they’ll add. “I do my best thinking while I type,” they’ll finish.

    It’s evolution of culture. One thing you can take to the bank (as long as THEY last), you can’t drive a stake into a river and expect the water to stay in one place.


    • That’s true. Change will always come, whether we like it or not (or even whether we see it as true progress). Thanks, Rik!


  2. I expect that typing courses would be more advantageous to most school kids than cursive. 😉

    At least until voice writers become the “wave of the future.”

    I use a hybrid between cursive and printing for most handwritten notes.


    • I used a voice writer once before and it was pretty neat, but I’d probably be one of those die-hards who’s old-fashioned and uses a keyboard anyway. 🙂


  3. I think Richard is right. And I’m certainly willing to resist change (I write most of my first drafts with a fountain pen), but it will come no matter what we think. I still miss radio drama (compared to television), and radio drama was mostly dead before I was even born.

    But I’m not all nostalgia. I remember writing novels with a typewriter. Nuff said. 🙂

    And, given all the stories I hear about students not knowing basic geography and history, I’m not going to worry that much about how they’re missing out on cursive handwriting. (My handwriting is so dreadful that I print everything anyway, and my printing is no treat either.)

    Last time I checked, Steven Spielberg still cuts film, and he’s been the only one for a long time, as I talked about here:


    • It’s nice to have nostalgia for old things, but too much of it (like anything) can be unhealthy. We’ll all have to get used to change… but I’ll try to stick with cursive for as long as I can. It can be fun to revive something that was once popular, even if it’s just for personal use.


  4. I enjoy writing in cursive, yet not very often do I have the opportunity to do so. When I was in art school they taught us how to print in various graphic modes. I found this to follow me throughout my career. There are many art forms that are now coming into question because of the leaning toward science, math and technology. But we who are artists and writers will always embrace these forms of art and style that we have come to know and love.


  5. Maybe a citizen of the United States of America can read the “Declaration Of Independence” as it was written without the need for an interpreter. One not taught in cursive would view it as if it was a hieroglyph from ancient Egypt. Wait I hear the cries from the masses saying: “Oh wait I cant read nor spell, nor write or type because my iPad lost power”. Is this is the legacy of education that is the mainstay for our country? My father and mother instilled ideals in a reality that was based on common sense. Should we wait until you have to have a DNA sample to get the weather report, or worse yet… You have to get a your moms permission to be tardy to work. How far in reverse is the driver of education in America allowed to traverse? Signed with no signature cause I’m too stupid to write….


    • I know… sometimes it seems that all this “progress” is only causing us as a nation to regress… kind of sad. Thanks, Kevin!


  6. Study after study suggests that handwriting is important for brain development and cognition — helping children hone fine motor skills and learn to express and generate ideas


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