I learned to write in cursive in the third grade. Like most young kids back then and those I encountered when I first began to teach, I couldn’t wait to learn how to connect my letters together and make the fancy curlicues that denoted grown-up writing.
Cursive writing instruction has been put on the back burner for a number of years now, with teachers and parents falling into two camps—one bemoaning the fact that students can no longer produce cursive writing, and the other quickly pointing out that computers and other technology devices make cursive writing obsolete, or at least unnecessary.
Cursive writing may be making a comeback, however, at least in Ohio, as House Bill 58 encouraging schools to teach cursive writing, was passed in June. In September it was introduced in the Ohio Senate and then referred to the Education Committee.
Under House Bill 58, schools would not be required to teach cursive but could opt to utilize the model curriculum and supporting materials that would be available from the State Department.
(B) The state board of education shall adopt a model curriculum for instruction in cursive handwriting in grades kindergarten through five to ensure that students develop the ability to print letters and words legibly by grade three and to create readable documents using legible cursive handwriting by the end of grade five. When the model curriculum has been adopted, the department shall notify all school districts, community schools, STEM schools, and college-preparatory boarding schools of the content of the curriculum. Any district or school may utilize the model curriculum.
State Representatives Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and Marilyn Slaby (R-Copley) co-sponsored the bill. They indicated the benefits of cursive writing, pointing to research that shows it supports children in developing improved literacy skills, fine motor skills, and increased cognitive development.
Rep. Brenner expressed his delight as the passage of this bill:
Cursive writing is so much more than just learning how to sign your name to a check For example, studies have shown that learning how to write in cursive helps students learn how to spell and read, especially children with dyslexia. I’m honored that my colleagues agree that cursive is an important and invaluable skill on multiple levels and should be made available to Ohio’s students.
House Bill 58 passed 89-4 with bipartisan support.
One of the four dissenting votes, state Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) argued against the bill, saying
[that he] flunked handwriting in second grade, that his 20-something staff never uses cursive, . . . [that he] would rather see class time used for computer coding or for a foreign language – [it’s] something for the future rather than from the past.
Co-Sponsor Slaby responded to this:
Yours may not be real readable, but you can still read somebody else’s cursive writing.
The fate of cursive writing in Ohio schools is now in the hands of the Ohio Senate.
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