Typing takes its toll on cursive writing

Feb 26, 2014 Full story: KVAL-TV Eugene

Kids are spending more time on computers, phones and keyboards, and they are losing the ability to do the cursive handwriting that children have done for generations.

Full Story
Kate Gladstone

United States

#1 Feb 26, 2014
I'm a handwriting teacher in Albany, New York (that's right: NEW YORK) who has been watching Kelly Tomlinson's excellent KATU/KVAL story about the mess our handwriting is in, and the "write" way forward.

Kelly Tomlinson, with her interviewees Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay, doesn't just present the problem, but shows it being solved.

Barbara's and Inga's way out of the handwriting mess is important and worthwhile. I say this as someone who remediated my own handwriting, mostly out of their books, when I was 24 (I am now 50). Without the approach they use (italic handwriting), my handwriting today would still be the tortured, illegible, molasses-slow mess that it used to be, back then. Certainly it would not be decipherable — let alone legible and rapid, as it is now.

KATU is doing a great job of getting the word out that handwriting matters. KATU viewers may want to know that the research agrees with Barbara and Inga — against conventional cursive.

• Research has long documented that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility.(Sources for all research are available on request.)

• Current research demonstrates that the fastest, clearest handwriters are neither the print-writers nor the cursive writers. The highest speed and highest legibility in handwriting are attained by those who join only some letters, not all of them – making only the simplest of joins, omitting the rest, and using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree. This is consistent with what Barbara and Inga are doing. It is NOT consistent with conventional cursive instruction.

Reading cursive still matters, of course — KATU and Kelly Tomlinson deserve credit for pointing this out. However, even small children can be taught to read writing that they are not taught to produce.
Reading cursive can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes — even to five- or six-year-olds, once they read ordinary print.(In fact, now there's even an iPad app to teach how: named "Read Cursive," of course — http://appstore.com/readcursive .)
So let's teach our children to read cursive — along with teaching other vital skills, including some form of handwriting (such as Barbara's and Inga's)that is actually typical of effective handwriters.

Educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference hosted by Zaner-Bloser, a major publisher of cursive textbooks. Only 37 percent wrote in cursive; another 8 percent printed. The majority — 55 percent — wrote a hybrid: some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive. When even most handwriting teachers do not use cursive for their own handwriting, why impose it on the rest of us?

Mandating cursive to preserve handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to preserve the art of tailoring.

Yours for better letters,

Kate Gladstone
Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
and the World Handwriting Contest
http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com
MaltaMon

Newmanstown, PA

#4 Feb 27, 2014
Kate Gladstone, my (I presume) fellow American: You must ignore this human eyesore who calls himself "DJW" (or three-word screen names that begin with those initials, as he does here), "Zuiko", "Katie Mellish", and, more than infrequently, one form or another of my screen name and some version or another of "Phil". He also uses other aliases, but their sources are more random. DJW's schtick is to present himself as a concerned adult (he is, in fact, neither) who "campaigns" (his word) for greater modestly for schoolboys in the locker room. You will note from this very posting, however, that he is a hypocrite--that he is, in fact, obsessively fixated on naked schoolboys and otherwise on the forced nudity of boys, usually under orders, or in the presence, of sexually abusive (and fully clothed) adults. He usually posts on threads dedicated to the discussion of schoolboy nudity. Why he has chosen to deface yours, with its theme and single post about cursive writing, by posting his characteristic pedophile/homoerotic fantasies for masturbation, is baffling. He is deeply disturbed and disturbing, an obvious threat to children, and yet there apparently is no stopping him short of reporting him to the authorities. The webmaster(s) of Topix itself doesn't seem to care that this obsessive pedophile posts on the site. Either they're indifferent to content (which is in direct contradiction to their Terms of Agreement) or they are complicit in offering this middle-aged Englishman a forum for his child erotica.
MaltaMon

Newmanstown, PA

#5 Feb 27, 2014
Note, Kate, that there is another who posts from England (usually Manchester) who consistently goes by the name of "Phil" BUT who is NOT DJW. Rather, DJW uses his name, just as he does mine, to mock him because Phil objects strongly to DJW's postings, just as I do. That "Phil", the original (for lack of a better classification) isn't a pedophile or otherwise a pervert. The UK is represent in that category by DJW.
Nan Jay Barchowsky

Aberdeen, MD

#6 Feb 27, 2014
Thank you! It is so good to see some movement toward a logical solution to handwriting issues. The sad part is that the changes that are so badly needed in education move in such a painfully slow pace. Presentations such as KATU’s are too few, but so welcome.

Just a very few years after the Getty/Dubay instructional materials were published, I published my own ( www.bfhhandwriting.com ), so I am aware of the italic’s progress.

Since: Jan 14

Delhi, India

#7 Feb 28, 2014
Cursive writing is faster and more fluid because the pen doesn't leave the page as much as with publishing, and there are fewer quits and starts. For that reason, you can write more throughout an exam, or take down more of what the instructor said during class.

Thanks!
Topadmit

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