Cursive writing is now a requirement for all first through sixth-grade students in California public schools.
The state law, which went into effect on January 1, has revived the traditional style of penmanship that benefits students in several ways, KPBS reported on January 10.
The outlet noted that cursive has not been a requirement in California schools since 2010 when a greater emphasis was placed on standardized tests.
Eleven-year-old student Sofia Cach told the outlet, “It’s like a fun experience to write with cursive, and it kind of helps you write neater.” She also said she feels grateful her teacher taught her how to write.
According to Texas’s Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, cursive has a powerful connection to a person’s brain function:
Forming letters with the hand by using a pen or pencil is cognitively different than pushing a physical or virtual key on a keyboard. When learning, forming letters by hand creates a connection with the movement of the hand to the visual response of seeing the letter on the page. There are multiple processes coexisting simultaneously: the movement of the hand, the thought of the letter, and the visual cue of the letter. This is reading and writing concurrently, which is a necessary skill.
Children need to go through this process to fully understand the English language and connect words to motor memory. Learning cursive handwriting is important for spelling skills, enabling children to recognize words when they read them later. Typing doesn’t have the same effect on the brain, as it doesn’t require the same fine motor skills and simultaneous activity.
Writing in cursive can also help young people with disabilities, such as dyslexia, who may experience difficulty writing in print because some letters look the same, the Resilient Educator website says.
“Cursive letters, however, look very different from print letters. This gives dyslexic students another option — an option that can decrease their dyslexic tendencies and make them more confident in their abilities,” the site reads.
According to a CBS News report from January 2023, penmanship is turning into a lost art. However, one young student in Brooklyn, New York, told the outlet she loves the neatness and fun associated with the cursive she has learned in the classroom.
She loves it so much that she became the Grand National Cursive Champion in 2021:
“On the question of whether cursive is still useful today, it does allow us to read historical documents, including John Hancock’s famous signature on the Declaration of Independence,” a reporter for the outlet said.
In 2022, a Southern Living article listed several reasons why cursive is important for people to learn. The article said it is artistic, faster than writing in print, traditional, looks stylish and appealing on the page, and such handwriting is always impressive to those who read it.