Q:

The teachers at our school are debating whether cursive writing should still be taught. What are the advantages of teaching cursive when students with poor handwriting can just use a computer? -- Useless or Not

A:

This debate on the need to teach cursive writing is going on in many schools. And we are sure that some of you will want to weigh in with your opinion. Many teachers are now saying that cursive is a waste of time and want to spend the time working on other skills. They point out that we live in a print world. What children see in their books and on signs is manuscript (printing). Furthermore, students are being taught to keyboard as early as first grade, reducing the need for handwriting.

There are still advantages in teaching cursive. Many educators believe that it is easier to learn than manuscript. Cursive can help children learn to read, as confusing print letters -- such as "b" and "d," "p," "g" and q," and "f" and "t" -- do not look similar in cursive, as they do in print. It also makes the blending of sounds more obvious to beginning readers. Furthermore, it might improve spelling because the hand learns the pattern of words through writing them many times. And cursive does remain the preferred way to write letters of condolence and thank-you notes. There also still are occasions when cursive writing is more likely to be used than manuscript. This includes writing essays on standardized tests and college-admissions exams. Plus, cursive is generally used for signatures. Finally, cursive handwriting is a personal expression of each individual's personality.