Younger friends, can you write or read cursive? I’m curious.

58 thoughts on “Younger friends, can you write or read cursive? I’m curious.

  1. I learned cursive in 3rd grade, and I’ve written in cursive ever since. I have mixed feelings about it: on the one hand, it’s annoying because when a classmate is gone and they ask to see my notes, all it takes is one look at my notes and then they’re like “You have nice handwriting, but I can’t read that.” On the other hand, it makes me feel a bit like I’m writing in a foreign language because even one of my middle school teachers couldn’t read cursive. I also find it a bit aggravating because, especially with class assignments or group projects, I have to write in print so everyone can read it. Personally, print takes longer to write, and my spacing gets thrown off while I’m trying to take notes fast. I do have a question though: for people who can’t read cursive – what is it like? I’m only asking out of curiosity. Especially for my friends, I have to write cards and notes and such in print. Do you ever find motivation to at least try to read cursive because of close friends or family? Again, I’m only asking out of curiosity because I’ve know cursive ever since elementary school.

  2. I personally prefer to write in cursive and can read it (cursive) perfectly. Unless it is very messy. I learned how to write cursive in a private school in the philippines but found out my classmates have not been taught cursive in the third grade. They have a hard time reading my handwriting which is usually in cursive. Makes it faster and easier to take notes.

  3. Although introduced to it in elementary, I conclusively had to learn it myself. I did so on behalf of the fact that writing cursive allowed me to retain more information when writing notes. I learned cursive the summer of my junior year going to senior year of high school (2017). Now im fluent in writing and reading it!

  4. Oh, I remember the days when I had to practice cursive in elementary school, I started to learn how to read and write it during second or third grade. Hard to believe it’s considered obsolete nowadays since it’s only main purpose know is how to write a signature.

  5. I just asked Carolyn to read my pictured handwriting. She occasionally had a little trouble, reading my capital “I” as the word “of” several times (understandable, if you notice the run of “I” and “of” at the beginnings of lines) and she read “significance” mockingly as “significamel” (again, understandable).

  6. Via snail-mail the other day, I received a very thoughtful thank-you note from a student. I had to take it out and look at it again because I couldn’t remember whether it used cursive. Apart from a few joined letters (notably a non-standard “th” with the crossbar of the t blending in to the downstroke of the h, and a “se” with the tail of the s crossing over to form the upstroke of the e), it’s mostly block lettering. The capitalization and punctuation are all correct — the student is an excellent writer.

    • I think that most of my handwriting is this sort of “pseudo-cursive” – it takes the most time-saving aspects of cursive, but mostly uses block lettering for letters where it doesn’t seem to make as much difference.

    • I do the reverse!😊 My cursive has a few printed letters in it, usually in places where the pen may lift from the paper anyway. None are “block letters”, though.

  7. I am age 30 and was still required to learn to read and write cursive (and in fact required to write in cursive on many assignments when I was in elementary school, IIRC). I do not always write in cursive when I take notes by hand, but sometimes.

  8. I learned cursive in second grade and was absolutely miserable while I learned it. Now I’m grateful to have the knowledge. I love learning about the American Revolution and while there are transcriptions of the articles in cursive, there’s something more personal about actually reading the handwriting and loops of a founding father.
    In my mind, cursive resembles the letters enough that I can’t imagine students looking at it as though it were a foreign language. I guess we’ll see!

  9. Dennis G. Jerz, I’ve learned from discussions about cursive with my boys that not all brains perceive the loops and connections as standards dictate. From the beginning, both of my boys would struggle to use the same start-points as the books dictated on printing letters and even numbers (i.e., starting a zero on the line rather than at the top). In cursive, the rules seem to change. “Stay on the line. End letters on the line. But not when they connect to these letters. No, only these letters, not those letters….Which letters? And that has a loop. Oh, well, it should have a loop. People don’t always make the loop. Yes, it’s still the same letter, even though they formed it differently…”. Finally I “gave up”, and to this day each has their own way that flows best for them and works with what apparently seems sensible to their own brain wiring.

    • …and that is of course why so many adults deviate from the “norm.” But I think the point of teaching the Palmer method (or some other norm) is to start everyone’s personal divergences from a common point.

  10. Personally, I see cursive as a lovely art form with practical applications. Like any art form, it is not necessary for everyone to achieve full mastery. Anthropologically, one could make a serviceable tool while others carved fine artistry on their tool handles. Needlework, in early America, was a standard part of the education of very young girl children. This practice faded as the culture evolved and changed. Like fine crochet, I hope cursive never disappears from our cultural lexicon. Often, younger generations rediscover the beauty of a “lost” art form and regenerate it’s practice. (Even latch hook and paint-by-numbers have been rediscovered!😉)

    • Like wood and metal shop. I wish they let boys take home ec in the late 70s. That would have been far more useful. The most useful class in HS was definitely typing. ASDF JKL;

    • Don Ammon I took a typing class in high school around 1985, because I wanted to touch-type. One day when we showed up to class, the keys were all covered. When the typing classroom got renovated, the teacher gave me about 24 old wooden chairs, which we used in our production of Our Town that fall. In my school, the boys and girls took both home-ec and wood shop in 7th grade, but metal shop was an elective. (I took it in 8th grade.)

    • Junior High 7th and 8th grade the Catholic kids from st. Regis had to walk across town to the public school where we took Woodshop and home Ec. Then we had to walk back to st. Regis. We got into all sorts of trouble on those walks. Snowball fights. We get back to St Regis soaking wet. Smoking. Taking shortcuts through town that we weren’t supposed to. Stopping at the candy store. Good Times.

  11. For the record, my 19yo has handwriting that’s so bad the woman who evaluated his homeschooling every year encouraged us to treat his fine-motor control issues as a disability. My 15yo almost compulsively fills notebooks with handwritten lists and dialogue (from the Sherlock Holmes musical she’s writing, or the high fantasy novel), but we’ve never forced her to learn cursive.

    • I was going to ask what path you chose. Interesting thoughts. For those of you have kids who struggle with taking notes, you should know that Microsoft word has a notebook function that allows you to record audio notes that are timed with the notes you type into the document. Hugely helpful for those with processing issues.

    • Cathy Ganley I did not know that! We experimented with a fancy pen that was supposed to do that, but the reviews were highly mixed, the pen was finicky, and my son didn’t find it at all useful.

    • Dennis G. Jerz It’s great. If you need me to send you some guidance on how it works, let me know. Otherwise just go to view, notebook layout. Start experimenting with the audio notes.

  12. My two homeschooled boys learned and practiced cursive for more years than even, perhaps, the Catholic schools (though NOT as thoroughly as in France😉). One enjoyed the artistry of it, and has lovely handwriting, but struggled to compromise beauty for the speed necessary in tasks like note taking. The other son far prefers the keyboard, and is exceedingly creative at stories and compositions, which he types. Both have noticed and complained that, although penmanship is TAUGHT standardized, adults of all ages personalize it into varying degrees of readability. I support them both.😊

  13. I can read and write cursive and so can my youngest brother, but my middle brother can’t. I actually wrote my big persuasive paper for freshman comp and culture about why cursive should still be taught in schools. One of my reasons I supported was that some studies I found showed it was easier to read than printing, even though I find most people’s cursive script WAY harder to read than hasty print, but I needed SOME way of making my case sound smart.

  14. Dennis G. Jerz I can tell you this – my son is 13 and they stopped texting cursive writing in his school district years ago – he could not read a work of cursive writing or sign his name- as a concerned and upset parent – I took it upon myself to teach him to write his signature – he will need this ability as he grows into an adult and I have worked with his so he can now read cursive handwriting – it was sad- he couldn’t even read a birthday card from his grandma- he can now! For me- a win for Mom!!!

  15. Ganley there’s an intimate connection between writing and comprehension — by which I mean the physical act of writing (rather than “keyboarding,” one of my least favorite neologisms). Writing longhand in cursive is one of the most liberating experiences I can give to a student. Mine (French, American, even Panamanian) all comment on how helpful they find it. It’s a skill we should not discard.

    • Anne, but one can still print and have the same exhilaration of crafting and creating. Additionally, while cursive works for you–and others, of course–there are many of this generation who find keyboarding (sorry) to equally as satisfying and productive.

      I relate cursive to stone carving, needlepoint, and papermaking. They’re all skills that create something beautiful. And if you want to focus on the act of creation, then sure–keep going. However, for those of us who simply want a headstone, pillowcase, or sheaf of paper, the modern way works for us and might negate the need to teach it to everyone. My $0.02.

    • In my specific case, I assigned a movie made in the 40s, that conveys information via closeups of handwritten note. Will my students need me to translate those notes? Would they bother to tell me if they couldn’t read such notes?

    • Dennis G. Jerz I can see your point about reading the letter in the movie. However, a simple caption, similar to a translated language, would suffice.

      As for historical documents, that’s different. German documents from the 1700s use an old script that I cannot read, even though I read and write in cursive.

    • I have no memory of the title of the movie or anything else, but as a teenager I remember seeing a scene from a black-and-white movie, in which a character opens a letter in the rain and a closeup shows the words dripping off the page (to a score punctuated with sweepingly emotional strings).

      A caption wouldn’t convey the emotional impact of watching those words get blurry in the rain.

  16. My children learned French cursive (“attaché”) at school in France. They don’t teach children to print. They start in preschool (which is universal starting age 3), teaching kids to make swirls and loops for fine motor control. The teachers incorporate the loops and swirls into art projects. Then pre-K and K years they teach the writing. Lots of practice and activities, it’s a main focus of the curriculum. French handwriting is a big deal. Now my daughter is in 7th grade and all her classmates complain they can’t read her writing.

  17. My students struggle to read it. The 8th grade English teachers at my school have found that we have to be careful when grading to write comments in print so that we don’t have to translate every comment that we write.

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