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July 28, 2011

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Tracy in SW WA

Huh. I had never thought about how important (or not) 'cursive' writing is these days. Yes, it's faster but we all know that faster many times translates to 'a bear to read'!

There may, however, be benefits to having a Declaration of Independence-worthy signature. (I thought of a couple but they flew out of my brain while I was typing and editing my comment here)

Maybe teach 'signature' in art class??

7letterDeborah

I so want to read the book on plagiarism and naked highland warriors!

Bridgett

Ok you knew I was going to comment, right?

Handwriting, meaning cursive instead of printing, is essential if you are severely dyslexic and/or dysgraphic and need to learn to write. Why? Because connected letters together means you learn the shape of the intact word. You cannot write a single letter backwards in the middle of a cursive word (you can write the whole word, or whole page, backward, but that is easier to correct than single letter inversions). There is no b/d confusion because b and d are made completely differently from each other. You can't "draw" the letters like you can with printed letters. You start in one spot and continue to the end. Yes, you practice by rote but you practice many things by rote (typing, for instance, or math facts). Sophia had awful dysgraphia, worse than the dyslexia, and cursive didn't solve all her problems, but its rigorous practice helped cement text in her head. She writes out all her assignments in cursive (writing assignments, I mean) and then types them.

Montessori schools often teach cursive before print letters for this very reason, because many 1st grade brains have a fluidity when it comes to print.

I don't think it's a shame that beautiful handwriting is going by the wayside (though I covet what my mother-in-law can do on a grocery list that I can't do on a love letter). And obviously we are typing more and more. But typing comes out of typesetting, which comes out of the need for many copies of books, which comes out of the desire to read and write and communicate. Without cursive writing, a good chunk of the literate world would have an even more difficult time coming up to speed with their peers (statistics suggest 5-10% of the population, although a great number are not as seriously affected as Sophia is).

If we didn't attend a montessori, I am confident Sophia would have flunked first grade and been at the bottom of her class even now. Most of that is due to other characteristics of montessori education, but one of the pieces is the emphasis on handwriting.

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