When did school classrooms stop teaching our children the art of cursive writing? Perhaps in the early 2000s, when computers and technology began to take over? Or when the laptop boom saw touch typing to be more efficient compared to writing with a traditional pen and paper? And what if technology fails us one day and we cannot use our laptops? Would we still have the skills to communicate using handwritten notes? For one state in the United States, this won’t be a problem.
Beginning from the 2019–2020 school year, cursive writing will be mandatory for Texas elementary students after the State Board of Education modified the “English Language Arts and Reading” section of Texas Education Code, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), in 2017.
From second grade, Texas school students will “develop handwriting by accurately forming all cursive letters using appropriate strokes when connecting letters,” according to the Texas Education Code. By grade 5, students are expected to write legibly in cursive writing.
Diane Schallert, a professor from the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, said learning could be enhanced by improving writing skills.
“With language comprehension, there’s this reciprocity between producing and comprehending,” Schallert told Fox News. “By seeing the letter being formed slowly at your control, you’re considering its sound-symbol correspondence.”
According to Suzanne Baruch Asherson, an occupational therapist and presenter for Handwriting Without Tears, an early childhood education company, cursive handwriting improves communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which is absent when we print and type. Asherson added, “the physical act of writing in cursive leads to increased comprehension and participation.”
Teachers have acknowledged the difficulty in implementing cursive writing lessons in their classes, as something would need to be omitted to allow for the writing to be included.
“There’s only so much time in the day,” Schallert said. “Whatever you decide to put into the curriculum, you’re deciding to take something out. It’s a big decision to decide to exclude it or include it. That’s hard.”
“Schools have transitioned from spending an enormous time on letters to switching to computer keyboarding,” said Howie Schaffer, spokesman for Public Education Network, a public school advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
Currently, the majority of school districts in Texas do not teach students cursive writing, reported Fox News.
Despite some potential challenges to implementing this change, it seems that many are encouraged by the state’s decision.
“I know we have the internet and things of the sort, but I think it’s a good habit to teach them old skills,” Nehemiah Oatis, a parent in Kileen, Texas, told ABC 25.
Elizabeth Giniewicz, executive director of elementary curriculum for the Temple Independent School District in Texas, also told the news network that it’s important for kids to communicate through the written word and spoken word.
Other benefits to cursive writing include hand-eye coordination, and developing fine motor skills.
“It helps make those connections and the fluid strokes and all of the lettering so your brain just develops appropriately,” Giniewicz said.
It looks like the lost art of cursive writing will be making a notable comeback.