The Writing Advantage: Cursive vs. Print - Propelling Student Learning Speed
The debate between cursive and print handwriting has been a hot topic in the early childhood and elementary education world. Many educators and parents wonder which of these two writing styles is better for learning and whether there is a significant difference between them. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of cursive handwriting, examine the similarities and differences between cursive and print, debunk some myths, and provide pro tips to help students improve their handwriting speed.
Benefits of Cursive Handwriting
Cursive handwriting offers several advantages that contribute to students’ cognitive development and overall learning experience. Research suggests that cursive writing engages different parts of the brain, especially those related to working memory. The continuous flow of cursive letters promotes automaticity and enhances working memory, which is crucial for academic success.
Furthermore, cursive writing is often perceived as more mature and sophisticated. It carries a sense of tradition and history, as it has been used in important historical documents like the Declaration of Independence. For students struggling with print handwriting, cursive can provide a fresh start and an opportunity to improve their writing skills.
In fact, some experts recommend teaching cursive before print for children with dyslexia or dysgraphia, as it may offer unique benefits for their learning process. The positive impact of cursive is significant enough that it is being included in various handwriting curricula and resources.
Similarities and Differences between Cursive and Print Handwriting
Although cursive and print handwriting may appear drastically different, they share many fundamental principles. Both styles require correct letter formation, appropriate letter size, and attention to speed. The foundations of letter formation and the importance of speed apply to both print and cursive handwriting.
However, there are notable differences between the two styles. Cursive writing, with its loops and connections, demands more visual memory to recognize and navigate the letters. Additionally, cursive requires more practice to master, as it involves learning how each letter connects to the next. While print focuses on letter spacing, cursive emphasizes letter connections.
Debunking Myths and Pro Tips
One common misconception about cursive is that it must be fancy and elaborate. However, handwriting programs like “Handwriting Without Tears” offer simplified cursive styles, focusing on basic letter forms before incorporating personalization and flourishes. Starting with a more straightforward cursive style can make it easier for children to grasp and gradually develop their unique handwriting.
When it comes to improving handwriting speed, it is essential to strike a balance between accuracy and fluency. The speed component is often overlooked in handwriting instruction, but it is crucial for achieving legible and fluent handwriting. Parents and educators can employ timed exercises, like what article mentioned, to help students gauge their speed while maintaining accuracy. Encouraging students to use the entire allocated time for writing can help them focus on letter size, connections, and accuracy.
In the cursive versus print handwriting debate, both styles have their merits and can contribute to students’ learning experience. Cursive handwriting offers unique benefits, such as engaging different parts of the brain and improving working memory. It also provides a fresh start for students struggling with print handwriting. However, both styles share fundamental principles like letter formation and speed.
To help students learn faster and develop legible and fluent handwriting, it is important to focus on accuracy, incorporate speed exercises, and provide appropriate resources and guidance. By understanding the similarities, differences, and benefits of both cursive and print handwriting, educators and parents can make informed decisions about which approach to prioritize based on individual student needs.