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The benefits of cursive handwriting

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The benefits of cursive handwriting

Writing Time 22/10/21

Even in our digital world, educators can see the value that early primary students get from handwriting. But as the focus switches from print to cursive handwriting in upper primary, students and teachers may ask – why is cursive handwriting development important?

Here are just three reasons why cursive handwriting still has a place in our modern world.

Facilitates speed and fluency

Cursive handwriting was initially developed to improve speed and fluency. So, once your students have mastered letter formation in print handwriting, they can learn to use cursive handwriting to translate their thoughts into written words more efficiently. In doing so, they are able to free up their working memory to focus on creating good, reader-friendly prose.

As part of your cursive handwriting instruction, introduce activities that put a focus on developing speed. For example, you can conduct a timed challenge:

  1. Print a Blank Lines Worksheet for each student, available from Writing Time Online.
  2. Write a sentence on the board to demonstrate correct handwriting.
  3. Tell students to carefully copy the sentence as a sample of their best handwriting.
  4. Now it’s time to introduce speed as a focus. Have students write the sentence as many times as possible in two minutes.
  5. Ask students to peer review or self-reflect on their work and determine if the quality was on-par with the sample they wrote in Step 3. Tell them to be specific about how they could improve, such as spacing, loops, joins, etc.

Remind students that although the goal of learning cursive is to develop speed, it is essential they also maintain accuracy and legibility.

Boosts creativity and innovation

Many successful writers can attest to the creativity that comes with the process of handwriting.

Studies show that cursive handwriting is an important tool for cognitive development as it activates both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This promotes improved language and memory functions while also enhancing our ability to think innovatively. This activation only occurs with cursive handwriting, and is not present during print handwriting or typing.1

So, the next time your students need to engage in a creative task such as brainstorming or writing a poem, put the devices away and have them pull out pencil and paper.

Improves fine motor skills

Of course, one of the most important benefits of cursive handwriting is that it helps students develop their fine motor skills. Cursive handwriting requires more advanced hand movements than print handwriting. Students need to learn how much force they should apply to the pencil and paper, as well as the process of motor planning to form the letters in a fluid, constant motion from left to right.2

Poor fine motor skills can be detrimental to their overall writing abilities, leading to fatigue and disengagement from the writing task at hand. If your students are struggling with their motor skills, try these ideas to build motor skills in upper primary students in addition to cursive handwriting practice.

References

1.https://creativityworkshop.com/articles/connected-letters-connected-thinking-how-cursive-writing-helps-us-learn
2.www.memoriapress.com/articles/top-10-reasons-to-learn-cursive/.

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