Chicago — Three years ago, the Common Core Standards (CCS), a set of academic standards taken up by several states across the country, began omitting cursive instruction. That means that since then, some Gen Z have never been taught to read or write in the form of handwriting. But as the form falls by the wayside, does it even matter? Who uses it anyway?
You’d be surprised. According to Yahoo News, archival work depends on how well someone can read hard-to-read texts in shorthand and cursive. Considering that many written documents from the 19th century and other early time periods are written in cursive, we might have a big problem on our hands. That’s why an Atlantic article notes that in the future, the form “will have to be taught to scholars the way Elizabethan hand or paleography is today.”
But in addition to archival impacts, there might be other reasons to be concerned about cursive loss, Drew Gilpin Faust, who wrote in The Atlantic about the topic, is quoted as saying by Yahoo News.
“I mean, just imagine if you had some kind of contract that you had signed and you couldn’t read it and someone told you, well, this is what’s in the contract. That’s what’s in the contract. And then later you might find that it was something else,” Faust explained. “So there are limits in your power, in your sense of how the world works and your sense of how the world used to work when you can’t have access to a means of communication.”
Not learning the form might also keep Gen Z from reaping some of its benefits, said Cindy Long in a National Education Association article.
“On team cursive, advocates point to the many studies that have shown that learning cursive not only improves retention and comprehension, it engages the brain on a deep level as students learn to join letters in a continuous flow,” Long said. “It also enhances fine motor dexterity and gives children a better idea of how words work in combination.”
The very few who are interested can still learn it. There are tons of free cursive writing practice sheets online via sites like K5Learning.
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on X: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett