You may wonder if cursive writing and learning the cursive alphabet have fallen out of favor in recent years. It’s true that cursive handwriting is no longer included in the Common Core Standards. However, if you love cursive like I love cursive, I have some good news for you.
Is Cursive Writing Making a Comeback?
Even though cursive isn’t included in the Common Core Standards, it is included in 21 states’ standards. These states include California, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, to name just a few. There are many good reasons and advantages to teaching cursive.
Why is learning to write in cursive important in this age of technology?
I’m so glad you asked!
I’m a big proponent of learning to read and write in cursive, and here are some reasons why. Once I’ve shared those with you, I have some ideas for how to teach cursive in just minutes per day. We all know how hard it is to find a few minutes for yet another topic to study in the classroom, but I think you’ll find these hints helpful.
There are plenty more benefits than just the ones listed here. For the sake of brevity, I’m including the ones I feel most strongly about.
5 Benefits of Cursive Writing for Students
- Fine motor skills: Learning cursive helps students to continue to develop those important fine motor skills. Normally students begin learning cursive handwriting in upper elementary, but sometimes even sooner. At that point in their development, they still need practice with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Brain engagement: Research has shown that art such as coloring and drawing can relax students and engage their brains. This is why so many teachers include color by code or illustrative techniques in their lessons. Cursive is similar to art in its beauty, and in the practice it takes to master. It definitely relaxes students if you teach it the way I’ll show you later in this post.
- Connecting with primary documents: Students will lose accessibility to many historical primary documents if they can’t read cursive writing. Think of the political cartoons and articles from historical archives that will be lost to them if they cannot read them. We don’t want cursive to become like ancient hieroglyphics where only a few experts can read it.
- Connecting with family history: How many of us have traditional family recipes handed down over generations? They’re typically written in cursive. So are diaries, journals, and many genealogical records. Our students deserve to be able to learn their family culture and heritage first-hand, by being able to read in cursive.
- Improved focus and mindfulness: It takes a good deal of concentration to learn the swirls and strokes involved in cursive writing. While learning cursive, students need to slow down and take their time. It becomes a practice in mindfulness and quieting the mind.
5 Benefits of Cursive Writing for Teachers
- Enhances spelling and vocabulary lessons: Once students can write in cursive, it can be used as another means of practicing vocabulary and spelling. Students can choose to use it as an option.
- Enhances note taking: When students are learning to take notes, they can speed up the process if they are able to use cursive to write more quickly. It also adds a decorative element to doodle notes and charts they create.
- Helps with attention to detail: Teachers can use the cursive alphabet to help students pay close attention to what they’re reading. Using primary documents becomes easier because you can let the students read them instead of you having to translate them.
- Enhanced legibility in manuscript writing: After practicing cursive, some of what students learn about careful letter formation and spacing transfers over to manuscript. Being able to write legibly connects with the purpose of writing for an audience and communicating a message. Legible handwriting is still a part of many states’ standards.
- Legacy: The legacy of cursive handwriting goes back to the founding fathers of the United States. Having a connection to that legacy is something not to be taken lightly.
How to Teach Cursive Writing in Minutes a Day
When I first met one particular student, she had spent her summer learning cursive from a book on her own. She spent a month learning the cursive alphabet, and then practiced for another month. Her cursive was beautiful.
I taught cursive to my students in tiny bits of time. We didn’t have time to spare, so it became something we did for five minutes after lunch, or five minutes at the end of the day. Just that little bit of time allowed the students to learn a letter. They practiced mostly as homework.
A couple of years after one student had left my class, I ran into his mom. She went on and on, thanking me profusely for teaching her son cursive. She said being able to read and write in cursive made him feel so proud and self-assured.
Tips for Adding Cursive to Your Teaching Day
- Teach similar strokes at the same time. Don’t teach the alphabet in order. Begin with simpler letters, such as e, l, i, and t. Students can practice two to four letters a day if they have similar strokes.
- After the simple strokes, move on to overcurves and undercurves. Again, teach the letters in groups.
- Add an option of practicing cursive as homework. Teach for five minutes, then let them practice at home. I found parents were happy to help with this, too.
- Make it fun! Each day, students proudly shared their work with me as we learned new letters. I took a marker and circled the best formed letters on the page. They loved the positive feedback, and it inspired them to keep practicing the letter exactly like the circled one.
- Add more fun puzzles and activities. Students love to do mystery word puzzles and color by code puzzles. These activities are perfect for cursive practice. They help develop letter and word recognition in cursive. Here’s an image of what I mean.
Teaching Cursive is Worth the Effort
I already mentioned that I’m passionate about keeping cursive handwriting alive in our schools. Yet many schools don’t have a cursive writing curriculum, or what they do have is old and well-worn. Because of that, I created a resource packet using the five tips for teaching it.
I’ve included a pacing guide with the letters grouped for teaching. I’ve included several practice pages for students for each uppercase and lowercase letter. I’ve included Mystery Word matching puzzles, color by code puzzles, and silly alliterative statements. The resource also includes five pages of science topics such as the solar system, the water cycle, and the rock cycle for students to trace and copy.
It’s a comprehensive resource that literally took me months to create. It was a labor of love. See it and all that it features in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Just click on the image below and it will take you there!
Did you know that when you follow me on TPT, you get new products for 50% off for the first 48 hours after I’ve published them? It pays to follow my store!
I’d love to hear your opinion! Do you think learning cursive is something we should spend time teaching? Let me know in the comments!