Can Gen Z Read Cursive

James Lee
• Tuesday, 29 December, 2020
• 7 min read

My son is about ready to graduate from middle school and his yearbook reflects the camaraderie that he and his friends share for one another. It reminded me of my school journey with the ritual of signing yearbooks in those last few days of school, and grabbing phone numbers of friends, or just seeking to make that connection before everyone parts for their separate ways over the summer months.

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(Source: www.reddit.com)


They did have the chance to meet my grandfather, who died when they were both small, but still young enough to know who he was, and both of my kids burst into tears upon hearing the news of his passing. I had an autograph book myself that we purchased at a local card store, with Snoopy, my then favorite cartoon character, on the front.

When I look at my autograph book, I see signatures and special messages from people in my life now gone, including my grandparents, great aunts who have now passed, distant cousins, elementary school friends, elementary school teachers and others. But opening up my Nana’s autograph book for me is a trip down memory lane for sure for both my son, and myself because of the nostalgia of the generation.

Showing him his great-grandmother’s autograph book, however, opened up a whole other topic for discussion, which not only brings up the “cultural” differences between the “Greatest Generation” and the Gene ’ERS, their great-grandchildren. But having been drilled in cursive myself to the point my writing skills were especially being micromanaged due to being a lefty, which was often a predicament for teachers, I decided to explore this topic more with him.

But even more was my child’s reaction to actually reading an entry out of my grandmother’s autograph book from one of her classmates. His difficulty reading cursive opened the can of worms for me, and the reporter juices started brewing.

“Let Cursive Handwriting Die,” was one cold opinion that I found from an “educator” (I use that term lightly upon reading his insights) from California who praised the controversial Common Core standards in 2013 in The New York Times. There are many parents like myself who find the Common Core filled with flaws, and if I was to do my own New York Times opinion piece to counter this guy I’d pen (literally, I would pen it just to rub it in, and scan my penned reply as an image copy along with the printed version) “Let the Common Core Die.” The over 400 comments mostly countering his ridiculous opinion noted everything from signing checks to signing SAT’s with the honor code were required in cursive.

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(Source: www.facebook.com)

In Arizona, a 2014 USA Today article showed that students there, in spite of the Common Core standards were still writing cursive in some communities. TIME magazine noted that cursive should still be taught in the classroom because of all the reasons that I’ve already mentioned, combined with the need to be able to read old documents.

For me as a genealogist and reporter who pores over old documents, including some from the 1700s and earlier, I understand this need. But as TIME aptly pointed out, the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, some of our founding documents, kids won’t be able to decipher the originals when asked, since they have difficulty recognizing the cursive script.

This noble and practical piece of legislation was referred to the Assembly Education Committee but shows no other traction on the bill A3190. This bill was reintroduced in 2016 thankfully, with A3042, with Assemblyman Dancer and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-21), having been co-sponsors.

To me, this sadly shows the politicking involved in our school systems, and I’m not referring negatively to Assemblyman Dancer, since I saw this simple piece of legislation as something to protect the children of New Jersey. Instead, I see the politicking from the other side that something as valuable as this would die, while Democratic Politicians, including Bill Clinton, would hop onto the Taylor Ham versus Pork Roll debate while campaigning for Hillary, a silly piece of legislation that President Barack Obama also jumped onto recently while visiting New Jersey and made national headlines.

An editorial without a byline popped up in the As bury Park Press, slamming the idea of cursive writing in the schools, but the publication was all over the Taylor Ham versus Pork Roll name debate. The Common Core that wishes to quash handwriting…a move that has upset not just parents, but students and teachers.

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(Source: www.reddit.com)

The Common Core, which prepares children for a battery of test taking, rather than practical life skills, such as signing their names…while tying the hands of our dedicated educators, and keeping them busy with more mandates. Our teachers are maxed out, trying to squeeze all that they must into each school day, just to satisfy the gazillion mandates.

The Common Core, which is preventing our children of being able to read the original words of our Founding Fathers. This document contains words that they type and read on a daily basis but in a scripted form is becoming hard to understand.

Losing the art of writing and reading cursive not only buries our history, but our important political principles that our Republic was founded on. Then stay on the scene with InsideScene.com, and continue to follow Jennifer Jean Miller’s Reflections of a Gene Mom and all of our other stories.

When meeting with her recently, another colleague and I discussed it and counseled her to just say “I’m having difficulty reading your handwriting” or better yet, work with the executive’s assistant to decipher the edits. The world of personal computers, email and texting has rendered the handwritten note an anomaly, something that many of today’s students get only from grandparents.

Recently the Illinois General Assembly passed a mandate started requiring public elementary schools to provide cursive instruction beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year. Innate or automatic hand writers are able to draw complex shapes and write their names before they head off to preschool.

(Source: certifyletter.blogspot.com)

However, it can be difficult for parents and early childhood teachers to discern which students will pick up handwriting easily and which ones will need more instruction. So aside from these difficulties and the obvious challenges in communicating effectively between generations, there are also historical impacts, according to Nix’s article.

“If students can ’t read or write cursive, there will be parts of the world they will not be able to access,” stated Patrick O’Neill, an assistant principal in Sacramento, CA. It will be interesting to see if the art of cursive handwriting can be saved, or if we will become a society where thank you notes are only received via text, Facebook or email, or if in hard copy form, with chicken scratch signatures.

Cursive writing practice, now required by many states as part of their curriculum, supports academic success in spelling, writing, and note-taking. Sequenced, grade-appropriate ruled sheets provide practice forming cursive letters and words.

× The grade 2 resources feature wide-ruled sheets that provide practice forming uppercase and lowercase cursive letters. All practice sheets include engaging images that connect each letter to a familiar animal or object.

The grades 3, 4, and 5 resources feature ruled sheets that provide practice forming and connecting cursive letters and forming cursive words and sentences. Cursive letters are grouped by stroke type, so students gain confidence in one stroke type before moving on to others.

Word and sentence practice sheets include engaging content and vocabulary students are likely to encounter in grades 3, 4, and 5. “My company has a landline, and I haven’t used one in years,” Matthew Krill, a 20-year-old East Villager interning at a marketing agency, tells The Post.

Take Krill: The marketing intern moonlights as an influencer with nearly 55,000 followers and believes his generation’s pics-or-it-didn’t-happen culture gives them an edge in the office. “It’s hard, because my body language is the exact same when I’m texting a friend versus looking through hashtags to use for our next post,” says Krill.

During one of the recent polar vortex school closings, someone posted on Facebook about having to help her daughters read a recipe card. Two years ago when my granddaughter was in third grade, I remember a handwriting book that was part of her homework.

And teaching cursive will do nothing to improve the school's or teacher's year-end rating, but higher test scores will. When I suggested not even being able to sign your name to a letter, document, greeting card, or check was sad, she set me straight.

You can print your name, and no one writes checks or sends hand-written letters or snail-mail cards anymore. Beautiful handwriting takes a lot of time to learn, is not easy for kids with motor challenges, and is a dying art.

I'm more likely to compose a personal letter on Word and print it out than write it by hand. It suddenly hit me, however, that if my grandchildren never learn to write in cursive, they will also be unable to read it.

If they do original research that involves pre-21st century documents, will they need an interpreter for the handwritten ones? Someone has decided that our schools shouldn't waste much time teaching things that don't matter like cursive writing or art appreciation or literary classics.

Ours is a disposable society, and we are fine with tossing aside the things that are not practical for the college or career. Maybe I should start transcribing my parents' letters, so they are not lost to their great-grandchildren.

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