Every time we sign our name — on a restaurant bill or on a check — it can be easy to take for granted the skill that allows us to apply this unique stamp of approval. In today’s fast-paced world of technological advancement, the skill of cursive handwriting has been slowly removed from our schools’ curriculum. While printing, texting, and keyboarding are incredibly important forms of communication in the modern world, at the same time, cursive writing is not outdated.
Imagine a world, sometime in the not-too-distant future, when Americans can’t write in cursive, let alone read it. What would that mean for our history as a nation? Our founding documents are written in cursive, including the Constitution. Those original pieces of work, which have so much meaning to the American narrative, would no longer serve a purpose. That’s why the Ohio House has taken steps to make the teaching of cursive a regular part of our children’s education.
House Bill 58 would require the State Board of Education to adopt curriculum for instruction in cursive handwriting for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. This skill is valuable for students to develop, as it contributes to better literacy and fine motor skills, as well as increases cognitive development. Further, research has shown that cursive can help those with dyslexia to recognize words.
I understand that teachers already have packed classroom schedules, but cursive writing is just as fundamental as printing and typing. Each skill should be given adequate time in the classroom and should simply be incorporated as a part of reading, writing, and spelling courses that are already given dedicated time.
Twelve states have made cursive handwriting mandatory for their schools’ curriculum, and with the ultimate approval of House Bill 58, Ohio could be next. Should the Ohio Senate and Governor approve the legislation, the State Board must develop the curriculum by the end of this year and adopt it by March 31, 2019. With that schedule in mind, it would be fully implemented for the 2019-2020 school year.