News and Tribune


April 23, 2013

Cursive has moved out of state requirements, but might work its way back in





At Clarksville Elementary School, principal Kathy Gilland said teachers set aside time to teach letter formation and eventually, incorporate cursive into other lessons. Social studies teachers for example, she said, might require students to write vocabulary words in cursive.

She said usually beginning in the third grade, students start learning how to write in cursive. But she said it’s more than just getting the skill. It’s also something students see as taking a step forward in their academic careers.

“They do it as a rite of passage — they want to be able to read their parents notes, so they have a motivation to learn it,” Gilland said. “There are certain children that it corrects reversals. For example, B and D. In print, sometimes those letters are difficult for children. In their head, they know which letter to put down on paper, but when they make the move to do it, they sometimes forget. In cursive, they know what to put down.”

She said since the letters have to connect, it helps some children learn the correct way to write letters without getting them backwards. She also said she thinks cursive is a little faster to write than manuscript, which could help students when they’re taking notes in class.

But she also said getting any new required piece of curriculum can be difficult when there’s already a lot that teachers have to squeeze into a school day. She said making that happen requires creativity on the part of teachers.

Her students get a weekly class in technology where they learn basic computer functions, how to use various programs and get lessons in keyboarding.

“We’re going to have to use both of them, just depending on what situation you’re in,” Gilland said. “We want to have our students prepared for all situations in life.”

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