Cursive handwriting is sometimes referred to as joined up writing, script or longhand. It is the process of handwriting where the pen doesn’t leave the paper until the word is completed.
The art of cursive handwriting grew from the time of the quill and ink. As the quill was such a delicate instrument it was better not to be raised and lowered too much so the words were written in one movement thus saving on quill tip.
There is no doubt that this type of skill is becoming a dying art mainly due to technology and the fact it isn’t thought to be important in education. There are too many other ‘valuable’ skills that need to be taught, alledgedly.
I’m a great fan of the glorious pen and gorgeous paper. It seems to me that cursive handwriting is a very personal thing and can be thought of as an art form.
There is a belief that your handwriting reveals your character. This is the practice of graphology. Although this may be rather far-fetched it could be argued that your state of mind as you are writing can be determined from your handwriting – thank goodness I’m using a keyboard!
Technology has seen the demise of the handwritten text and there are some people who consider it to be an outdated and unfashionable mode of communication. I can see their point but only if you consider handwriting only as a means of communication. I think there is more to a page of cursive script than meets the eye.
The muscle control, fine and gross motor skills and concentration needed to put pen and paper are crucial to produce a page of stunning handwritten cursive script. How much pressure do you use to produce just the right amount of ink to form the words? Remember, you can’t hit ctrl z to get rid of the mistakes so you have to keep your wits about you. Is this an advantage or disadvantage?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning to do joined up writing from the start?
- Many children start to write by printing their name and then have to learn another system to learn cursive writing. Starting with a cursive style means learning one system only.
- Children with dyslexic tendencies find it easier to learn and use a cursive script.
- Each word has the same starting point so there is no need to learn different lead-ins with each letter.
- As the words are written in one action they are easier to learn for spelling.
- Because each word is written in one flowing action, handwriting becomes quicker especially with practice.
- It helps with the prevention of letter reversals. eg b and d. It takes a completely different movement and direction to write these two letters.
- Being able to use a joined up script keeps history alive as well as the skills to read documents from the past.
- Using cursive gives writing a more personal touch.
- When children start to write in joined up handwriting it can look messy and is usually illegible. This does change though, with practice.
- The printed text used in books is very different to a cursive script so it can be confusing in the beginning stages.
- Learning cursive script is a long process and many consider the time should be spent on more ‘valuable’ learning.
- There is a feeling that handwriting will become obsolete in the future so why bother learning it.
So is there a point to it?
This is a matter of personal choice. I love writing in cursive script and also think a page of joined up writing can be a work of art.
I can understand the preference for a keyboard and touch typing skills especially for writing long texts, essays and books. The ‘cut’, ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ buttons are life savers. I would imagine that most university students would struggle to submit hand written dissertations on time, if at all.
But receiving a hand written letter or even just a note stills warms the cockles of my heart. Oh, and a handwritten envelope usually means the letter inside is going to be a pleasant surprise instead of a large bill to pay!
It would be sad to see the demise of the cursive script from a personal and artistic view but in the 21st century, it appears that time is lacking for such things.
What are your thoughts on learning handwriting?
Is it a waste of time or just preserving a skill from times gone by?