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Teenage Stars With Bad Handwriting: Is This the Death of Cursive?

Teenage Stars With Bad Handwriting: Is This the Death of Cursive?

The Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights. The Gettysburg Address. Jane Austen‘s original manuscripts. All of these important documents were written in cursive. Will anyone be able to read them in 100 years?

As the importance of computer literacy and typing skills continues to rise, skills like cursive writing are falling by the wayside. This article by Katie Hetter on CNN shows handwritten notes from teenage pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and illustrates how the lack of emphasis on handwriting skills in schools today leads to bad handwriting later in life. Many celebrities under 30 years old are notorious for their illegible signatures and childlike printing. Experts say that bad handwriting is frustrating for readers and causes negative impressions to be formed about the writer. This could actually be a problem for teenagers who aren’t famous pop stars and are applying to colleges or searching for jobs.

In many states, individual school districts are now allowed to decide whether or not to teach elementary school children how to write in cursive. For those who spent second, third and fourth grade struggling to form a capital Q, the elimination of cursive may seem like a gift to America’s children. Columnist D.L. Stewart writes: “Eventually all those classroom hours previously devoted to learning how to dot your i’s and cross your t’s can be replaced by more relevant lessons, such as how to convert U.S. dollars into Chinese yuan.”

Others lament the loss of cursive and the beauty that comes with an elegantly handwritten note. Certainly, cursive has played an important part in Western cultural history. John Hancock‘s giant signature just wouldn’t look the same on a word processed page. But today’s kids often focus more on speed and content as opposed to the presentation of information. Has the time come to leave fancy handwriting behind?

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Photo credit: whgrad

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65 comments

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4:26PM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

cursive is lame and pointless. i hate when my mom writes in cursive, it looks like chicken scratch.

4:25PM PDT on Sep 3, 2011

To just give up on cursive and let it become a lost art seems lazy. At least teach it and, for students with disgraphia or real difficulty writing, allow them to print or type.

12:36PM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Just because they can type doesn't mean they shouldn't know how to write.

3:09AM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

I think some people like to make their signatures look as little like their names as possible. Writing a squiggle suggests they are too busy/interesting/ important to bother with legibility for the rest of us. I think that's why we are often asked to print our names as well as signing.

As a marker of written examinations, I hate very tiny writing and the use of pale blue ink. Those papers take so much longer to read. The use of little circles, kisses or hearts to dot an i is merely irritating.

3:25AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

I wish instead of three years of struggling with cursive, school children were exposed to a short, maybe two-week unit on calligraphy taught by the art teacher. I hope that would be enough to give them a shot at being able to read other persons' handwriting and to find out for sure whether or not they would be interested in adopting a style of penmanship other than the printing they were taught in first grade.

7:45PM PDT on Aug 15, 2011

Writing in cursive shows discipline and also that the person has taken the time to make the letter/note as visually appealing as possible.

10:19PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

One day we may again have to resort to the village scribe and sign "documents" with fingerprints or Xs. We could even forget how to read the language. Oh well, we won't need all those handwriting experts. And perhaps Richard C might read George Orwell's novel, 1984 where Newspeak replaces English. Can't write, can't read, can't think. That is one way to eliminate the thought processes and dumb people down.

9:34PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

how the heck r they going 2 write their signature? cursive handwriting is very important. why r they refusing 2 teach it??? what is wrong with schools these days?!

12:31AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Why not go back to signing with Xs?

3:26PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

Cursive writing is part of our Culture! It must be taught in schools!! Don't let this die because we have gotten lazy, and would rather Text something to someone!!

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