I was embarrassed for the two girls heading off to college. Their friends were giving them a lovely shower but they had to turn to their moms to read the handwritten notes they’d received with their gifts. Those notes were written in longhand (cursive) and they’d not been taught that skill. Because everything a student reads today is in printed form, many schools have dropped it from the curriculum.

I urge you to type in “cursive writing” on a computer. You will find that experts have reported a strong link between successful reading and writing programs and the teaching of cursive writing. In fact, some schools teach cursive writing before printing.

Equally important are the social implications of not knowing how to read and write cursive. Family genealogies and documents written hundreds of years ago by George Washington, Uncle Abe, grandpa and grandma, are mostly handwritten. My grandmother’s donut recipe is tattered and torn, but it can still be read. Priceless, written in her own hand.

I strongly believe children should be taught both forms of our written language. Let the student decide which form better suits them. It makes no sense, in an increasingly global world where learning foreign languages is encouraged, that we should handicap our students by not teaching them all forms of their own language first. And that, it would seem, would be a good preparation for learning other languages.

I urge parents and educators who believe, as I do, that this is an important issue, to talk to other parents, attend school board meetings and write or call the Department of Education. You can make a difference if you get involved, and remember this: once a skill is not passed on from one generation to the next, there’s a very real chance of losing it forever.

Alice L. Flagg


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