Herberich Primary School is Keeping Cursive Alive for 3rd and 4th Graders
No longer a requirement for most students in the US, teaching cursive still has a home in the Copley-Fairlawn City schools thanks to the efforts of teachers like Mrs. Moore and Ms. Beavers at Herberich Primary School. Both teachers are focusing on the benefits of cursive, or script, writing and that is having a positive impact on students.
The beginnings of cursive teaching is in the 3rd grade where students learn two letters a week. Each of the letters for each week use the same stroke and this focus allows students to develop stroke discipline, progressively building skill and physical dexterity. By March, Ms. Beavers 3rd graders have typically been taught all the letters and will then begin to write their name, their classmates’ names and names of staff and teachers in the building.
The handwriting work is not graded, but the teachers are sure to direct students on letters that could use more work and also areas where students are excelling in their cursive writing. By the end of 3rd grade, students will be able to write whole sentences in cursive as well as their name. This means students leaving 3rd grade are able to sign their signature!
Mrs. Moore’s 4th graders take what they learned from Ms. Beavers and begin adding technique including ways of slanting their paper, positioning their pencil, and proper posture (don’t lift the pencil!). With remote learning, the teaching couldn’t stop, so Mrs. Moore incorporated YouTube videos so students could hone their muscle memory and workbook pages for practicing their handwriting.
The debate of whether or not to teach cursive writing has only gotten stronger as more and more schools prioritize technology instead of actual handwriting. In 2019, then Gov. John Kasich signed a bill requiring schools to include handwriting in the curriculum, and Herberich has found the lessons to be beneficial for students in the long run.
“Typing, print and cursive are all included in curriculum,” Mrs. Moore said. “This provides multiple ways for students to communicate in today’s digital world.”
Studies have shown that learning handwriting, including cursive writing, can build hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, spelling and composition skills, and other brain and memory functions.
“Cursive is important as a life skill,” Mrs. Moore added. “It’s imperative to be able to read it as part of the English language, and it helps students write more quickly when needed, getting their ideas out quicker.”
In the meantime, students at Herberich will continue with their important lessons in cursive, and you can bet they’ll sign their names to the benefits!