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posted by n1 on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-but-illegible-scribbles dept.

The NY Times asks does handwriting matter? The Common Core standards stop teaching handwriting after the first grade, preferring a proficiency in typing after that.

However, studies are showing that children learn faster, are able to retain more information, and generate new ideas when they first learn to write by hand. The process of thinking about how to form a letter and putting it on the page stimulates more areas of the brain. This come from the inherent messiness in free-form writing, which can be a valuable learning tool.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by WillAdams on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:09PM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:09PM (#51052)

    If children don't learn how to write cursive, then they lose their fluency in _reading_ it as well --- for an extreme look at this, look at Turkey which switched from using the Arabic writing system to Latin --- people have to hire scribes to transcribe their parents and grandparents letters so as to be able to read them.

    Moreover, having nice handwriting gives one a boos on one's SAT scoring: http://blogs.bostontestprep.com/2006/10/should_your_sat.html [bostontestprep.com] (tldr; the 15% who submitted in cursive had higher scores)

    For those who want to work on improving their own handwriting, Kate Gladstone's materials are much better than her website indicates: http://handwritingrepair.info/ [handwritingrepair.info]

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:33PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:33PM (#51060)

    Talk to the genealogy people. I haven't written cursive in at least a decade now, and I also find it nearly impossible to read simple census documents.

    I know cursive "used to be" faster to write back when people used it, but I wonder if it was always considered basically illegible or if thats a modern characteristic.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by hojo on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:40PM

    by hojo (4254) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @12:40PM (#51063)

    There's always the potential confounding factor of "which came first" when you you study things like "nice handwriting improves SAT scores."

    E.g.: Students who study cello do better on the SAT. Is the root cause the fact that cello students all have involved parents and a relatively affluent beginning, reflecting a better startup condition for learning, or does playing the cello make a person smarter? The same issue comes up with things like this cursive report.

    I think the more likely causal issue is that good students are good at lots of things that they test for on the SAT. It doesn't matter if you're a winner in ballroom dance contests or win the spelling bee--in both cases, you've just shown your true scholastic aptitude in a different venue, especially your willingness to work hard at some task.

  • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:51PM

    by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @01:51PM (#51083) Homepage

    Why do we need to be able to read cursive? Honestly, historical documents have already been typeset non-cursive. It is the ideas of the Declaration of Independence, the cursive adds no value. At a minimum, a few academics will keep it alive. I mean, we don't spend a lot of time on Roman Numerals. They have historical significance but honestly, how often should anyone care?

    As for the SAT boost: correlation is not causation. Your article also put it as a "slightly higher score" and there were no measure of statistical significance or an actual reporting on how much higher the score was. (It could be statistically significant but so trivial as to be meaningless). How long before students just take the SAT on a computer and type their essay? I also note no one is claiming a higher score on the non-essay section and most colleges don't actually care about the essay.

    So my students could be reading, writing, doing math or problem solving with the inordinate amount of time we use to spend teaching cursive and you want to save it for those two reasons?

    • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:41PM

      by WillAdams (1424) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:41PM (#51108)

      Because it's a fundamental skill which improves the ability to communicate, to preserve information and to express oneself.

      Studying and practicing handwriting provides an affordable way to practice and acquire fine motor control and skills which translate into the ability to do fine manipulations, &c.

      It can be worked into the curriculum in place of fragile, expensive, electronic devices at a net savings.

      • (Score: 2) by efitton on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:08PM

        by efitton (1077) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @07:08PM (#51301) Homepage

        You claiming it is a fundamental skill does not make it so.

        Many different tasks can be used to practice fine motor skills, including print writing.

        It is not the financial cost of cursive that is the problem, it is the cost of time that is the problem. Reading, arithmetic, problem solving can all be bolstered by dropping cursive as a requirement.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by fishybell on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:38PM

    by fishybell (3156) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:38PM (#51106)

    AARGG!!! MY EYES!!!

    That link (http://handwritingrepair.info/) has got to be the most garish thing I've seen on the internet in years.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:29PM (#51193)

      Indeed, send her to http://htmlrepair.info/ [htmlrepair.info]

    • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:12PM

      by Open4D (371) on Thursday June 05 2014, @02:12PM (#51683) Journal

      Garish? Well, it looks like the site design hasn't been updated since 1996. But I'd happily take that over one of the new fangled websites you encounter these days (e.g. 1 [fairphone.com],2 [particlefever.com]).

  • (Score: 2) by DrMag on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:52PM

    by DrMag (1860) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:52PM (#51215)

    Interesting site; I found it rather telling that in many of her examples (particularly those for fixing doctors' handwriting), the 'fix' seems to be switching from cursive to manuscript...

  • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:00PM

    by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:00PM (#51220) Homepage Journal

    If children don't learn how to write cursive, then they lose their fluency in _reading_ it as well

    With a few exceptions (like "Q") cursive letters still LOOK LIKE LETTERS. It's not a completely different writing system, like Arabic, it just has a few extra lines.

    I'm sure there's some corner cases where SLOPPY cursive might go from "completely illegible" to just "barely legible", if you're experienced writing in cursive. But in general, cursive writing is still just fancy writing.

    I may pause for a few seconds when I see some old book, where all the "S"es look like "f"s, but a small amount of thought clears it up, even if you've never EVER seen that before...

    I know for a fact that people who have NEVER been taught how to write in old-English calligraphy, can still read fancy writing in crazy fonts they've never seen before. In fact, not only can they read it, but they even DESIRE having it used prominently on their important documents that they want others to read...

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.