California brings back cursive to elementary classrooms

3 min read

In a throwback to traditional penmanship, California elementary schools are making a significant shift by reinstating the teaching of cursive writing in classrooms. While it hasn’t been a mandatory requirement since 2010, the recent statewide initiative aims to reintroduce the art of cursive to young learners, emphasizing its cognitive benefits beyond mere script mastery.

Many schools, including sections of classrooms at the Stockton Unified School District, continued teaching cursive even when it wasn’t obligatory. Seventh-grader Dovie Silva, who vividly recalls learning cursive in third grade, initially questioned its relevance. “I just never thought I’d need to know to learn cursive,” she admitted.

Despite the prevalence of digital communication and the ubiquity of smartphones, educational experts argue that cursive writing holds cognitive advantages. The superintendent of the Stockton Unified School District, Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, emphasized the broader purpose behind taking a pencil to paper. “If you want your child to have their optimum ability to learn, remember, and synthesize information, you will want them to focus on handwriting and cursive,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

Cursive, it appears, is more than a mode of written communication; it is a tool that enhances memory and learning retention. Dr. Rodriguez highlighted the significance of using pen and paper, explaining that it provides more hooks for memories and facilitates better retention of information.

Read more:

Despite some classrooms in Stockton continuing to teach cursive even during the period when it wasn’t mandatory, the district anticipates a seamless transition to the renewed curriculum. Dr. Rodriguez emphasized that cursive instruction should not be rote practice but purposeful and intentional, with an emphasis on authentic handwriting experiences.

According to Dr. Rodriguez, the best way to learn cursive is through meaningful writing that reflects a student’s voice and expression. She has championed an emphasis on handwriting and English Language Arts since assuming her role as superintendent, promoting the idea that students’ writing should convey meaning and personal significance.

Cursive writing, deeply rooted in history with many significant documents scribed in this elegant style, serves a dual purpose. It not only aids in quicker writing but also engages parts of the brain that remain inactive during typing or printing, according to research. This cognitive engagement aligns with the broader goal of developing young minds beyond basic writing skills.

While some students initially questioned the practicality of cursive in the digital age, others, like Silva, recognize the importance of having a legible signature and the ability to sign documents. This move is not merely a return to a traditional form of writing but a conscious effort to nurture the cognitive development of young individuals.

The new California law, effective January 2024, mandates the inclusion of cursive writing in the curriculum for elementary students. As schools adapt to this change, it reflects a recognition of the enduring value of cursive writing in fostering both cognitive abilities and a connection to our historical roots. The reintroduction of cursive is not just a revival of an ancient art; it is a thoughtful investment in the holistic development of the next generation.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours