Cursive writing is no longer a trend after emails, SMS, DMs and emojis. However, not all educators have abandoned classroom handwriting lessons. Here’s why.
For more than a century, flowing penmanship has been taught in schools across America, and some experts believe it’s a skill that should last.
Cursive writing has become a “dying art” as many schools in the United States remove it from their curricula, according to Amanda Stedke, vice president of product development at Zaner-Bloser in Grandview Heights, Ohio.
“We are starting to see that standard be reintroduced,” Stedke said in an interview with Fox News Digital.
She said educators in Ohio and Texas are starting to teach cursive again in schools.
“Kids who are not learning cursive don’t have a signature,” she further said. “They also can’t read it.”
Donna Whittaker, vice president of Curriculum and Education at the Big Blue Marble Academy, said cursive writing had previously been used as an “imperative communication” during the war and for annual Christmas cards.
She noted that the United States Constitution was also written in cursive.
“Now, we might use cursive writing to sign our name on a document or write a personalized message at the bottom of a greeting card. Most communication that we read is in print, so people tend to think, ‘Why teach cursive writing?'” Whittaker said.
“Printed letters, words, infographics and icons are used in books of all types, newspapers, signs and billboards, event tickets, email, computer keyboards and social media.”
For 30 years, Zaner-Bloser has held a national handwriting contest for children in grades K-8 at the school and state level. Millions of students compete for the title of Grand National Champion.
Kids would also be given trophies, cash prizes, and “the pride that comes with having the best penmanship in the nation,” said Zaner-Bloser.
Stedke stated that the competition is a fantastic way to honor children’s abilities, interests, and successes aside from athletics.
“That’s why we kept it going for all these years,” she stated.
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Winners as young as 4 or 5 have been declared.
The contest starts on February 14, 2023 – and Stedke urges schools all over America to participate.
Those who join must write these nine-word sentence (which contains all letters in the English-language alphabet) in cursive: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
“Handwriting experts [and] judges [will] judge shape, size, spacing, and the slant in letters – they are the four keys to legibility,” Stedke stated.
Per Stedke, Zaner-Bloser has witnessed winners go on to have intriguing careers, such as tattoo artistry and meteorology.
“It’s that expression. It impacts people in different ways,” she further said. “I think it’s one of the earliest forms of how creativity can come out in these students.”
How Cursive Writing was Created
A teacher from East Fishkill, New York, Platt Rogers Spencer, is credited with making a teachable cursive writing system in the 1840s, per the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH).
“The Spencerian method of penmanship was based on fluid movements observed in nature and was widely taught in schools beginning in 1850,” the museum said in a blog post issued in February 2022.
There are other styles of cursive in the US, and the majority of those are rooted from Europe.
For instance, the body of the Declaration of Independence was written in round hand, which was created in England and was crafted to work with quill pens, per the NMAH.
Spencer’s cursive style allegedly “allowed for personalization and embellishment” and replaced “the tight, stiff English Copperplate script, also known as round hand, which was popular at the time,” said the museum.
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