Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

April 8, 2013

Practice of cursive writing is at risk in U.S. schools

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Critical to learning

Indiana University neuroscientist Karin Harman James has studied the effects of printing and writing by hand, as well as keyboarding in the development of children’s brains, using imaging technology to document how significant changes occur in the brain. The research led her to believe teaching young children how to write by hand is critical to how they eventually learn to read.

“These kinds of findings point to there being something really important about printing and potentially also about cursive,” said James. “They’re both fine motor skills, so they might be equally important in understanding cognitive development in children.”

Supporters of cursive skills argue there’s also a critical handwriting connection to the adult brain. Since a person’s handwriting becomes distinctive with age, they point out that a person’s penmanship is a symbol of their personality.

Theresa Ortega is a certified handwriting analyst who helped launch Campaign for Cursive, a social media movement that promotes cursive writing in schools. She maintains a person’s penmanship “can tell you a lot.”

Having analyzed hundreds of high school and college students’ handwriting, Ortega says she can see an impact from the fall off in cursive writing instruction. She fears a keyboarding-only generation of students will be more introverted and less able to express themselves creatively.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t use all those digital tools,” Ortega said. “I just think we need the connectivity of cursive writing to equalize the force of technology.”

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

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Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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