Bring cursive writing instruction back to schools

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I can hear the grumblings from students now. Why do students need to learn cursive writing when our world and job expectations are requiring less handwriting and more computing?

Some have argued cursive writing instruction is not only outdated, but unnecessary. However, bringing back cursive writing instruction to the classroom still benefits students, even in this technologically advanced era.

One of these benefits is in the workplace. While most office tasks are completed using computers nowadays, businesses that have been around for 20-plus years may still have handwritten documents in need of review or filing. If a young person just entering the workforce has had little to no exposure to cursive writing, their ability to perform routine tasks decreases.

However, the benefits of cursive go far beyond reading loopy script.

Numerous neuroscientific studies show learning and using handwriting help develop fine motor skills necessary for cognitive development.

In young children, handwriting has been proven to help children improve literacy, spelling, composition, and mathematics. Part of the reason for this is writing by hand engages the brain differently than typing.

A recent study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles found when students take notes on their laptops, they have a tendency to try to take verbatim notes. However, students who took longhand notes had to be more selective with their notetaking. Researches later asked the students questions about the presentation, attempting to gauge their comprehension. While students in both the laptop and longhand groups fared well when asked to recall facts, students in the longhand group performed significantly better than laptop note-takers when asked conceptual questions.

The evidence above is reason enough to reintroduce cursive writing instruction back in schools. This year, I've sponsored legislation that would do just that.

House Bill 2006 would simply direct school districts to incorporate cursive writing curricula in English language arts courses.

After Common Core dropped cursive writing from its curriculum standards in 2010, several states followed suit. Today, nearly half of the states still offer cursive instruction. Since then, cursive writing and the art of penmanship has been slowly dwindling from our educational landscape. If we continue to push aside this instruction, I am concerned the loss of this skill will disadvantage my generation and those to come.

State Representative Skyler Rude, 16th Legislative District
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7828 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000