The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Ramona's picture

    What Does The Death Of Cursive Mean?


    As someone who dreaded Penmanship class, and who always–and I mean always–got poor grades in it, let me just say if writing in cursive goes away I’ll be right up there in front mourning the loss.  (Cursive:  flowing letters all connected to make one word.  What we used to call “handwriting”.)

    We learned the Palmer Method in grade school, where every letter had to follow a pattern and fit between the lines, and where loops and curlicues had to loop and curl, but not too little or too much.  Just right.

    cursive palmer method

    So much pressure!  I choked.  I couldn’t do it.

    But some time after the 6th Grade, after penmanship was no longer required and I could relax, I realized that if I could barely read my own writing there was no chance  anyone else could, either.  I began looping and curling on my own, starting with row after row of connected capital S’s.  I spent hours over the course of many days looping and curling, not worrying about staying within the lines, and before long I found to my amazement that I was creating letters and then words that were actually legible.   It wasn’t exactly true Palmer Method–it was better.   It was a variation on the theme of Palmer and it was all me.

    Maybe it’s because handwriting came so hard for me, I don’t know, but I’ve been taking the news of its imminent demise pretty hard.  I’ve noticed over the years that fewer and fewer people were actually writing in cursive and more and more were printing, but I had no idea there was an entire movement bent on killing off that lovely, traditional form of English handwriting.

    In a USA Today article called “Is Cursive’s Day in Classroom Done?” I was shocked to read that 41 states do not require the teaching of cursive penmanship.  When did this happen?  To the casual observer it might seem obvious that cursive should go the way of the quill pen.  It takes up valuable class time to teach it, and, since the advent of the computer and digital keyboards, pecking has already taken over for block printing, which took over for cursive writing.

    Nobody wants to actually write anything by hand anymore but when they have to they want it to take longer (In speed trials between cursive and printing, cursive wins, hands down) and look like the plain letters kindergartners use before they’re ready to try real handwriting.   I get that.

    There are already young people out there who learned to read and write block print only and can’t read or write cursive.  That’s astounding, but apparently true.  When a witness in the George Zimmerman trial, a friend of Trayvon Martin’s, was handed documents written in cursive she was embarrassed to have to admit she couldn’t read them.

    But in a Washington Post article, “Cursive is Disappearing from Public Schools”, there was this:

    Deborah Spear, an academic therapist based in Great Falls, Virginia, said cursive writing is an integral part of her work with students who have dyslexia. Because all letters in cursive start on a base line, and because the pen moves fluidly from left to right, cursive is easier to learn for dyslexic students who have trouble forming words correctly.

    Another side of it is that there is an art to writing in cursive.  With a stroke of the pen, we can set ourselves apart.  Whether our handwriting is beautifully executed or more akin to chicken-scratching, it’s all ours.  Nobody else can do it like we do.

    I admit that I do most of my writing on a keyboard now.  It’s so much faster and ridiculously easy to correct.  It has become second nature to think and type at the same time.  I will even admit that electronic word processing has changed my life.   But when I want or need to write by hand, I like nothing better than to be creating a sentence that, at least visually, couldn’t have been written by anyone but me.

    But in that same WaPo article, here comes this guy:

    Steve Graham, an education professor at Arizona State University and one of the top U.S. experts on handwriting instruction, said he has heard every argument for and against cursive.
    “I have to tell you, I can’t remember the last time I read the Constitution,” Graham said. [in answer to the claim that if the teaching of cursive dies out there may come a day when people won't be able to read the original manuscript of the constitution] “The truth is that cursive writing is pretty much gone, except in the adult world for people in their 60s and 70s.”

    Well, that would be me, buddy, but I’m not such a stickler for traditional anachronisms that I want to keep this particular kind of handwriting around for old time’s sake.  (Though, of course, that’s a part of it.)  No, I want to keep it around because to kill it off severs one more part of us that is unique and individual and takes some effort.

    We’ve done enough of that already.



    I remember my friend Paul, a very smart guy even then and a philosophy professor now, convincing me in 6th grade that writing in cursive was a stupid waste of time and that we should adopt a scientifically minded print, with crossed 7s and Xs with a line through the middle to distinguish them from multiplication marks.  I promptly forgot cursive and my signature is flamboyantly illegible.

    But, in a way, that started me on a path to developing my own shorthand.

    Paul had it right.


    Thank you, Ramona. I had a conversation about this not long ago, and was astounded to hear that my friend saw no point in cursive writing. None at all. I really found that odd - I broached the subject with a "can you believe it?" attitude, only to find that yep, he could. As you've so eloquently stated, our handwriting is as unique as our fingerprints. When a signature is required, it is rarely accepted if printed ... there's a reason for that. Forging a printed word is a snap compared to copying anothers longhand, cursive writing. It speaks to who we are, what we're trying to express between the lines. Even the worst handwriting is beautiful in its own one-of-a-kind way. I like that. I like reading something that someone wrote to me "by hand". Not typed, not printed, but written. Like most people, I sigh when faced with a pen and paper. Can't I just send an email? But if it matters -- really matters -- I bite the literary bullet and scratch it out, hoping they'll excuse the penmanship. And they will, just like I always do. You see, it isn't calligraphy we're talking about. It's personality.

    Thanks, Barefooted.  I feel as though I've been living in a cave.  Until recently I had no idea there was even a movement to get rid of cursive.  (Until my grandkids were in school I had no idea that "cursive" was even a word--that's how behind the times I am.  But I know it when I see it.)

    Cursive is be no means dead. Please see There are many important reasons to return it to the public school curriculum.

    Thank you, Sheila.  That IS cool!   Good for them.

    Well, I expected comments about this subject, but I didn't expect to be the subject of someone else's blog post because of it.  Hmmm. 

    Probably to nobody's surprise, I agree with Fragh: cursive will be kept around in the same way that Latin is, and that's fine. As a personal anecdote, handwriting (cursive) was the one subject in which I constantly got a "U[nsastisfactory]", and yet when it no longer mattered (because handwriting was no longer graded past 5th grade or so), I took up calligraphy for sheer fun, and was actually pretty good at it. Of course, calligraphy is in some ways more like print, but it also allows somewhat for personal expression. My non-calligraphy writing was still as messy as ever, and has only gotten worse over the years.

    I have to say that I am kind of ambivalent about cursive writing being tossed aside in and of itself. What I find worrisome about this is found in two of your comments, the emphasis mine:

    To the casual observer it might seem obvious that cursive should go the way of the quill pen.  It takes up valuable class time to teach it, and, since the advent of the computer and digital keyboards, pecking has already taken over for block printing, which took over for cursive writing.

    Another side of it is that there is an art to writing in cursive.  With a stroke of the pen, we can set ourselves apart.  Whether our handwriting is beautifully executed or more akin to chicken-scratching, it’s all ours.  Nobody else can do it like we do.

    Basically, the same argument could be made for teaching any of the arts in school.  There is obviously not going to be any interpretative dance knowledge required on any of the tests, nor is being able to express one's self through charcoal or water colors a "skill" that assist any student in landing a job right out of high school.  And to teach these things take up "valuable class time."

    People have always told me that I have very good handwriting, but like you, Ramona, I hate to write in cursive. I can't seem to relax. I tend to squeeze the pen so tightly that if I were just a little stronger I would break it. While I can do it well, I just never could relax while doing it.

    You're also right about it being so distinctive, and when I was a kid, I was very fortunate that was the case. When I was in about the fourth grade, someone tried to get me in trouble by writing my name all through one of our textbooks, but the teacher glanced at the writing, and not only knew I didn't do it, but she immediately knew who had - a woman scorned, which was also a valuable early lesson in life.

    The teacher, Ms. Lady Lee, knew the circumstances surrounding the incident, and she was so amused that she didn’t even punish the girl. She recalled the incident when we later came to visit her as teenagers - as a couple.

    But in spite of that, I've opted for a fancy form of printing all of my life. It's not as stressful. Nevertheless, I mourn the passing cursive writing, because it serves as just one more nail in the coffin of a dumbed-down society.

    Thank you for a great article. I need to do some things like this. I’m always so dark, and political. But like I said, I just can’t seem to relax.


    Relax!  It's good for the heart and soul.  The dark stuff will wait.   It's not going anywhere.

    This is a general trend in education that is handicapping students from developing the ability to think.  Why teach operations because the students will be using a calculator or computer?  Why teach cursive when the students will type (why indeed then should we teach printing either, as the students will be typing? (please)  Why teach art, they will not be artists (no, but they will appreciate art and have a happier life for it), same with music, yes?  Where do people think the thinking will be taught?

    Students who have not done things and analyzed those procedures themselves are not able to effectively turn over the tasks to computers.  The point is not memorizing but learning how to think, compare, express yourself coherently, communicate, and think logically.

    Most of these people above have not a clue.

    You are exactly and precisely right. The arguments do not hold and the beautiful things in life are not "tested".

    This has nothin to do with nothin but I write notes and specifications for dinner and such all the time.


    And your blog caught my eye and I looked over my most recent 'diaries'.

    I have no printer so I have to keep track of things like my duties for the next day or my main meal (when did I put the carrots in the water?) or grocery lists or ...whatever.

    Sometimes I even write from some book with paper and such.

    Well I gave up 'writing' and I print.

    Broccoli or spinach or carrots or whatever.

    I print everything. hahahahahha

    I hated cursive.


    Cursive will never go away.

    Artists and artistes will always make ads and panels and big ads on buildings and just plain paintings.

    I evidently, because I forgot about the entire subject, just began decades ago to hand write printing.

    I am not now, nor have I ever been an artist.

    the end

    I beg to disagree, Richard. You are definitely an artist. Go back and read some of your old posts.

    You know what?

    You are a very nice man.

    And the older I get, the more I appreciate nice men.

    the end


    Looks like most everyone prints now.  Just heard from my niece who's been teaching in Virginia for 10 years.  She said they don't teach it because they can't test it.  Her students couldn't read what she wrote in their yearbooks because she wrote in cursive!

    Okay, I give.  Cursive is done.  I'll start mourning.

    As an alternative to what I wrote above, I would be perfectly fine on teaching cursive as long as a) it was only taught for one year (e.g., 3rd grade), and b) the focus was on being able to read cursive rather than on having pretty penmanship (penpersonship?).

    Spoken like a true engineer

    Hey Ralph, how about register and write some blogs, rather than tagging on 5 year old threads? You seem to have something on your mind, happy to hear it.

    Or at least link us to some site selling vibrators or porn.

    Yeah, 3 comments w/o telling us how much he's making working from home?

    When I was in 2nd grade, I was helping out at my elementary school and a gust of wind caused a heavy door to slam close, lopping off the tip of my left thumb.

    Thanks to quick thinking by my dad and my teacher, I was brought to the hospital and the tip of my thumb was sewn back on. As a result, when everyone else in my class was learning cursive, my left hand was bandaged up and my left arm was in a sling.

    Being left-handed, this meant I fell behind the rest of my class in penmanship. I struggled to catch up.  Three years later, in my one and only year in Catholic school, the nun who taught my class made sure I was made an example for my lack of skill in penmanship, making me write with big pens made for 2nd graders and frequently making me write on the blackboard at the front of the classroom so everyone could see how badly I drew circles that leaned in the proper way. and how hopeless it was for me to make pretty letters that flowed from one to another.  In the short term, I developed my own half printing, half cursive style and in the long term, I eventually caught up to the rest of my classmates. But it all seems like such a waste of time and effort.  I never understood why it was so important that I needed to be made an object lesson and why a mastery of cursive writing was so essential to pleasing the nuns and / or succeeding in Life.  

    Although I now am up to speed with my cursive writing , I still tend to wonder what all the hoopla was about. It reminds me of Olympic figure skating; for years, they had something called the compulsary figures, which made up 60% of a figure skater's final score.  In compulsary figure skating, skaters were required to trace patterns like figure 8's on the ice.   It was an exercise in rote recall.  Eventually the did away with the compulsary figures portion of Olympic Figure Skating, leaving only the performance parts of the competions.  Cursive writing feels to me like Compulsary Figure Skating, an unecessary apendage to a creative expression.  Eh, but what do I know?  :-)




    Cursive was taught in school because it was functional, the most efficient means of communication. While it might be pretty perhaps even "artistic" that wasn't the reason it was taught. If cursive is an art form than our schools have declared it the greatest of all art forms since we require students to spend more time on penmanship than sketching with charcoal, water colors, learning a musical instrument, etc. If cursive is an art form add it to the art curriculum and let it compete with other art forms. I support teaching the arts but certainly wouldn't put a high, or even a low, priority on the "art" of cursive writing.

    Now that cursive is no longer the most efficient means of communication and subsequently is rarely used as a means of communication I see no reason to learn it. The idea that historians need or want to read historical documents in cursive is not a reason to require all students to learn it. Any college level adult that decided it was necessary to read cursive documents could learn how in a few months.

    Researchers have found a correlation between good penmanship and reading and math. But correlation is not causation. Cursive is not an intellectual pursuit, its simply hand eye coordination. All it takes to excel is practice. Good students tend to do the homework assigned no matter how worthless and trivial so its certainly no  surprise they would succeed at a skill that only requires practice. They would likely do just as well if the course work included neat and accurate reproduction of celtic runes. That wouldn't show that learning celtic runes improves a students ability to read or do math.

    Cursive is certainly unique to each person though most often its an example of how uniquely each person can have lousy penmanship. Its hard for me to see the value in spending so many hours teaching a technic that is unique to each person if the vast majority of people will never display that uniqueness after they exit school.

    In the age of computers and the internet cursive is the equivalent of the quill pen. There's no longer any reason to use it and therefore no reason to learn it. Its time to move on.

    When I was a boy, we yodelled. Not as good as cursing, mind you, but still - important that the schools teach our young people some basic conversational skills. 

    And back then, if you couldn't yodel, you were no goddamn good. 

    Not to be trusted. And most likely a German. 

    Now, just look around the place. Germans! Everywhere! 


    America. I've given you all and now I'm nothing. 

    America why are your libraries full of tears? 

    I'm trying to come to the point. 

    I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.

    I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not sorry. 

    Now, I just sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet. 

    My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right. 

    I won't say the Lord's Prayer. 

    I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations. 


    America. Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine? 

    I'm obsessed by Time Magazine. 

    I read it every week. 

    It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie 

    producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.  

    I am talking to myself again.


    America you don't really want to go to war. 

    America it's them bad Russians. 

    Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians. 

    The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages. 

    Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader's Digest. Her wants our 
    auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our filling stations.


    America this is quite serious. 

    America is this correct? 


    It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts 

    factories, I'm nearsighted and psychopathic anyway. 


    America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.



    Fascinating ... if I squint it looks like cursive.

    My grand daughter who will go into the 4th grade taught her self handwriting.  She thinks it is fun.  My grandson who is going into the 6th grade, wants to learn how to sign his name.  So this is a summer project here with hand writing games.  

    I recopied my recipe cards in hand printing because I figured in the future no one would be able to read them.

    I think we sell our kids short by not spending a little time teaching them to hand write.   

    We sell our students short every single day in the schools across this country. The teachers are not selected by watching them teach. They are not quizzed on their knowledge of the subject matter. In one of our major cities, they tested the grandfathered teachers on the MATERIAL they were TO TEACH and 1/3 failed that test and were removed.

    This cursive issue is symbolic of the ridiculous paths are students are forced to take in schools, and accounts for the reason we fall farther and farther behind the civilized countries of the world. :(

    Welcome, Ralph - does that reflect a teacher shortage?

    Ditto on the welcome to Ralph. Ralph, it would be great if you thought about signing in for a free account and using the "Blog Now" link at the top of the page to share your thoughts about education whenever they cross your mind or articles you like. Doesn't have to be fancy stuff...goes in the "from the Readers" column at left, which moves slowly.

    I am getting the impression that no one here so far ever wrote much in longhand. Either that or there is a misunderstanding of the meaning of cursive. It simply means joining letters together when handwriting which will happen naturally if you do much of it because it is faster.

    Also, handwriting is still used as a form of business and personal communication so some standardization in lettering is necessary or it just will not work which is why cursive should be taught. It does not have to be the fancy script or calligraphy of ye olden days. Leave off the serifs and curlicues. Those were just status markers anyway. Figure out the most efficient design for joining letters together into words and teach that as a communication skill because that is what it is.


    What I remember from so many handwritten correspondence in the business world was that people tend to mix cursive with printing.  So for instance. the word "instance" would begin with the printed letter "i" then the "ntan" would be in cursive, and then finally the "ce" would be in cursive again.  In some ways this made it more legible.

    There is some test out there I remember seeing recently that shows that one can leave out every other letter in a word and the person can still read what the person wrote because the brain automatically fills in the gap wit the correct letter. A lot has to do with context of course.  In the above example, while out of context, seeing just the word "instance" written this way may give a person pause, but in context, with the preceding words "So for...," the brain is able to jump to the conclusion based on the letters it can make out, it must "instance."

    Obviously there will be times the conclusion jumped to is wrong. 

    But I also know that there are some, and not just doctors, whose handwriting is atrocious. In my last job, I had people bring me the boss' handwritten cursive writing because I was the only one who could read it (there was a consistency to it even to the casual observer it was chicken scratch).

    My own handwriting is a mix of block and cursive but usually only block caps and then cursive except for a couple of letters I stylized in my signature that carry over.

    Legibility is one reason I think it important to emphasize penmanship as a communication skill. Illegible handwriting like mumbling in conversation is not only rude but potentially dangerous if misunderstood. It places too much of the burden of communication on the recipient and too little on the initiator.

    Communication is hard under the best circumstances. We should do what we can to make it easier. Always keep in mind this saying that regularly circulates in business offices: 

    I know you understand what you think I said (wrote). I am just not sure you realize that what you heard (read) is not what I meant.


    I agree. My first post to this blog started with me claiming to be ambivalent about the demise of cursive writing, but the more I have reflected on it, the more I lean towards its need to remain in school as a skill.  Like every subject, there will be those who find it comes to them easy, while others struggle [except for the capital letters "Q" and "Z," which I remember just about everyone having difficulty with it to point of loud voiced exasperation, maybe because they were so different than their block letter counter part.]

    Sometimes it is hard not to be somewhat insulted personally when some writes in an illegible manner, as if the person didn't feel communicating with them was important enough to give an effort.  I think people assume that if one really tries (i.e. puts their mind to it), he or she could write legibly (whereas I think someone like my boss truly was incapable of writing legibly). 

    As someone with a very low voice, and if I'm not careful, a mumbler, I have suffered the glare of people's personal frustration (being insulted) by how I respond or express myself., whether in a committee meeting or just in casual conversation.

    Emphasizing penmanship in school, especially in the early grades is a prime way to express the value of communication between people.  Meaning what you say and saying what you mean is not as easy as it sounds (as I have blogged about before), and the same is true when it comes to writing what you mean, mean what you write. 

    It does remind of the debate over eubonics being taught in the school, as well as the impact of the world of texting on how children today are learning to express themselves though the written word.  I am someone who believes that language evolves over time, definition of words change, some words drop away and others are created (how many words did Shakespeare create?). Yet I always claim Orwell's primary warning with 1984 was not about thought police and such, but with the degradation and simplification of the language to the point we were limited in our ability to express ourselves (thus making us easier to control by the powers to be).

    Teaching penmanship, a physical skill as much as a mental skill, is also an opportunity to teach our kids to express themselves with words and thoughts that they might not get in other areas where all they do these days is "teach to the test."


    When it comes to communication, I'm far more concerned with children's ability to spell than their ability to have pretty handwriting. Legible is good, but legible is easier in block letters, and given that there's not much need for large amounts of writing, block letters can suffice. That's not to say I'm against the use of cursive, far from it, just that compared to skills such as spelling, grammar, and even touch typing, it's not high in the list.

    HA !!!  Many schools across the country have dismissed instruction in spelling, because:
    1.  we have spell checker

    2.  we are discriminating against bad spellers because the spelling gene is inherited.

    Instead of asking students to reach for the stars, we are lowering them to the lowest common denominator. 


    If kids today have trouble expressing themselves with words its not because they didn't learn cursive. Its because schools may be teaching to the test. Teach them to type on a computer and emphasize expressing their thoughts with type written words and it will be better than learning cursive. Learning to express oneself well doesn't automatically follow learning to hand write in cursive. Back in the 60's everyone of my classmates learned cursive. Very few of them learned how to express their thoughts very well with words on paper even though some of them had beautiful cursive.

    You express yourself quite well, on a computer on the internet without cursive.

    I would only say that it could be an opportunity to teach kids to better express themselves through words, something lacking in today's teaching to the test environment.  When we learned cursive in my elementary days it was always the skill that was the sole focus (and upon which we were graded and praised (or not praised)). 

    There are other opportunities for teachers (and parents) to facilitate greater self-expression, mostly ignored. But I would say there is definitely a difference between writing on a computer and writing in my journal, pen in hand.

    That's kinda condescending. I think everyone here knows what cursive is and most of us have used it a lot in our lives. Judging from the people who have posted their age or picture the users here skew older. Many of us lived in a time when we couldn't write a letter on a computer, click print, and mail it off. Then there's so much communication that doesn't even use snail mail.

    People are using cursive less and less. That's not because its not being taught. Schools are eliminating it from the curriculum because its being used less and less every year. The question really is moot because cursive will eventually disappear since there are so many better means of communication.

    Communication is hard under the best circumstances. We should do what we can to make it easier.

    I agree. That's why I'm happy we have such better and easier ways to communicate now. That's why I'm happy to see cursive go the way of the quill pen.


    Sorry, did not mean to sound condescending. Was just flabbergasted that so many here like you do not see cursive's continuing utility as a communication skill and why as such it should be even more standardized than it is and continue to be taught.

    People may now be using cursive less and less but that may be about to change as powerful touch screen tablets with styluses (stylii?) are a growing market. We will soon be back to handwriting and since cursive is faster than block eventually there will be an app that recognizes it albeit in a very, very standardized form.


    Top 5 Stylus-Equipped Android Tablets

    Use handwriting to input text on Android with MyScript Stylus - CNET

    Tablet and stylus, android tablets

    With a stylus in hand, business users can quickly write down notes, sign digital documents, annotate PDFs and more.
    Credit: Tablet image 





    Obviously, we need a standardized script. But why do we need two? What's wrong with relying on block letters for increasingly rare written communication?

    Never said we needed two. My handwriting looks more like block letters joined together than the flowery script in Pamona's samples. Some countries teach only cursive. That would be my preference. I think anyone who writes longhand very much will end up joining block letters together anyway.

    Having spent my entire working life deciphering the infinite personalized variations, I may appreciate the idea of standardization more than others here. Writers like you, Pamona and Maiello work solo, kat works in a ghost town. None of you are likely on the receiving end of post-it notes, phone message and scratch pads, hand edited or annotated letters, forms, invoices, etc. even strange white board lettering that is difficult to read. Those from academia probably can relate somewhat but those in higher education not so much. They have the ability to dictate the format they will accept. Most business people do not. Why should those whose lives are least affected decide to stop teaching something that is still useful to a far greater number not sitting or standing in front of a computer?



    I've been a caretaker of a ghost town for 3 years. Since I'm 57 and not independently wealthy I've actually worked other jobs. None of my views are determined by the unusual job I'd have for the last 3 years. When I was in the computer business in the 80's/90's cursive was already on the way out and rarely used. And that was when almost no one had a desk top PC, just a keyboard and a monitor connected to a computer in a separate room.

    Why should those whose lives are least affected decide to stop teaching something that is still useful to a far greater number

    From everything I've been reading for years its the opposite. Even though most educated people can still read and write cursive its rarely used or needed. You, as one of the few people still finding cursive useful, seem to think everybody should required to learn it. The vast majority will never use it. Educators are not forcing the demise of cursive. They're simply noting it and adjusting the curriculum accordingly.


    So cursive is not for ghost writers?

    Exactly. In an office environment, post-it notes and quickly written messages ARE communication. And because they're scratched out in a hurry the script is usually some form of longhand. It's just faster. Most reporters at pressers grip a pen and notepad instead of a laptop or ipad. Learning block letters - how to print - is unquestionably necessary. But cursive is the "formal" version. Not to be fancy or floral, just a means to write in a more adult (for lack of a better word) way. An extremely useful offshoot of that is the learned ability to form a word without lifting pen from paper. Great for casual and hurried correspondence without a huge need for legibility. Yet the ability to create a formal document in longhand is arguably as important as knowing how to compose a business letter on a computer. A brave new world full of technology and shortcuts, convenience and ease. We can talk to the world in 140 characters or less. We can write a sentence full of more acronyms than words. WTF? IDK. IMHO u r ... luv u! Should cursive go the way of the quill? Should we stop teaching how to tell time with a big hand and a little hand on a clock face? Digital is all the rage, after all. Progress ...

    It's been many years since I wrote out anything longer than a thank-you card, and those were block print. My signature is the only cursive I've penned since 1990. And this from a guy who's trying to make a living as a writer.

    So it's hard for me to see the purpose of requiring children to labor over a difficult skill that is no longer necessary and for most us, not very useful. I don't see it as a loss but rather an opportunity to spend the time learning something better.

    I hate it when I put up a blog post and life comes party-crashing, draining all of my attention elsewhere.  Sorry I haven't had much of a chance to respond to all the great comments here, but they're much appreciated.

    I'm still in favor of teaching handwriting in schools, but I can see the other side, too.

    I had a comment on my website from someone who creates handwriting fonts.  Thought you might be interested in what he's been doing.  It's here.


    What lovely stuff!

    The “print letters" style that replaced “cursive” made it impossible for people to ever read the CONSTITUTION of the United States of America.

    Yes, because the constitution must be read in the original cursive like a photo document. It's pretty much impossible to find a "print" transcription, except for probably hundreds of sites on the internet.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Article. I.

    Section. 1.

    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Section. 2.

    The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature......

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