In 2013, 41% of teachers surveyed in an independent study by Really Good Stuff indicated that they no longer teach cursive handwriting in the classroom. Increasing pressure to focus on tested subject areas, as well as the elimination of cursive handwriting from individual state requirements and Common Core State Standards assessments have made it a challenge for teachers to fit cursive handwriting instruction into their daily or even weekly routine.
Cursive handwriting instruction has taken a back seat to technology and assessments.
The Campaign for Cursive
This decline led to the formation of the Campaign for Cursive, a committee formed in 2012 by the Southern California branch of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF). This charity born initiative’s purpose is to bring awareness to the importance of cursive handwriting as it concerns to brain development, as well as to expose children to the idea that being able to read and write in cursive is something that is “cool”.
On January 23rd, 2015, events across the United States will be taking place in honor of National Handwriting Day. From California to Pennsylvania, children will have the opportunity to connect with cursive at local museums, libraries, and schools. In a press release by the AHAF, they explained the significance of January 23rd. “The date was chosen because it’s John Hancock’s birthday; this important signer of the Declaration of Independence is said to have written his name big and bold ‘so King George could see it without his spectacles’.”
How to Get Involved
Teachers can incorporate cursive in their own classroom by creating short cursive handwriting lessons, having students write cards, letters home, or to soldiers overseas, or by partnering up with class pen pals to send postcards in cursive to one another. You might also write a letter to your state’s governor or a local representative asking them to support the study and practice of cursive in the classroom. The Campaign for Cursive also has some more great suggestions on their website.
Outside of the classroom, consider getting involved with something like Hannah Brencher’s More Love Letters.
How to Teach Cursive
If your cursive handwriting skills are out of practice, these resources and contacts can help refresh your memory and give you a good starting point for cursive instruction.
On January 23rd, pause your normal instruction for a half hour and showcase the beauty and fun that is cursive handwriting. Flowing script, personal letters, and the ability to read historical documents are just a few of the “cool” things about cursive writing. What will you share with your students on National Handwriting Day?