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Cursive writing not necessary

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

I've taught handwriting for 26 years — and Caleb A. Myers, author of the letter “No longer needed” (Sept. 22 and TribLIVE.com) about cursive, is right. Research shows the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive — skipping most strokes joining letters and writing many in print style.

Reading cursive, which matters, can be learned by 6-year-olds in 30 to 60 minutes. (Even an iPad app, “Read Cursive,” teaches how.) Teach cursive reading — with other essentials, including handwriting actually typical of effective handwriters.

In 2012, textbook publisher Zaner-Bloser surveyed handwriting teachers. Only 37 percent wrote cursive; 8 percent printed. Most — 55 percent — wrote otherwise: some elements resembling print, others resembling cursive. When handwriting teachers — educated adults — quit cursive, why exalt it?

Some suppose cursive confers intelligence or grace. They claim research — which they consistently misquote or otherwise misrepresent.

What about signatures? Cursive signatures have no extra validity over other kinds. (Ask any attorney!) All writing, including printing, is individual. That's how teachers know who submitted unsigned, printed work.

Mandating cursive to save handwriting resembles mandating hoop skirts to save tailoring.

Kate Gladstone

Albany, N.Y.

The writer owns Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works (handwritingrepair.info) and directs the World Handwriting Contest.

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