Assemblywoman wants NJ schools to teach cursive

New Jersey. Ever since cursive was dropped as a requirement under Common Core standards in 2010, many schools have opted not to include cursive in their curriculum.

16 Dec 2019 | 11:41

Elementary schools in New Jersey would be required to teach students how to read and write in cursive under legislation recently introduced by Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, D-31.

The bill would require elementary school curriculum to include activities and instructional materials to help students become proficient in reading and writing cursive by the end of third grade.

McKnight pointed to research that finds learning to read and write in cursive benefits the development of cognitive, motor, and literacy skills, and may help students with learning disabilities like dyslexia read and write with greater ease.

However, since cursive was dropped as a requirement under Common Core standards in 2010, many schools have opted not to include cursive in their curriculum.

“In some cases, children are entering middle school without knowing how to sign their own name in cursive,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “We are doing our children a disservice by not teaching them a vital skill they will need for the rest of their lives.”

Nearly two dozen states have made efforts to reintroduce cursive in schools, including Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.

“Our world has indeed become increasingly dependent on technology, but how will our students ever know how to read a scripted font on a word document, or even sign the back of a check, if they never learn to read and write in cursive?” said McKnight. “This bill will ensure every young student in New Jersey will have this valuable skill to carry with them into adulthood.”

The legislation would apply to the first full school year following the date of enactment. It now heads to the Assembly Education Committee for review.

How cursive writing benefits literacy
A Université de Montréal study suggests that children learn cursive may receive a significant boost to critical reading and writing skills. The researchers found benefits in cursive over printing:
Spelling
Elementary students who learn cursive are better at spelling because they learn how letters fit together to form words more quickly than those who write in print.
Forming words
Cursive encourages children to visualize each letter as one united word, which makes it easier to remember the word afterward. Researchers also found that students writing in cursive are less likely to write letters backwards.
Writing
Students who write in cursive write better sentences and improved their grammar. They were letter at learning how words should be organized to craft complex sentences.
Schools like Monroe-Woodbury (N.Y.) and Sparta (N.J.) include time for recess and cursive-writing since the adoption of the Common Core, but there has been a decline. “With the benefits of cursive-writing and recess for kids, it’s hard to imagine school without such classic staples. Educating the whole child is critically important, we don’t want to lose sight on enrichment opportunities that can help our kids." --Eric Hassler, superintendent of curriculum at Monroe-Woodbury Central School
“I have students who still use cursive writing and some who do not. My own children are in the third and fourth grade, and they both have practiced cursive because I see worksheets that they bring home.” --English teacher Leslie Lordi, Delaware Valley High School