States Push for 'Back to Basics' Bill That Teaches Kids Handwriting

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Many schools in recent years have stopped teaching handwriting to children and instead have focused on computer keyboarding.

But now, some states are asking that children be taught cursive handwriting because it helps them with spelling and studying.

North Carolina is the latest state to pass a "Back to Basics" bill which has elementary school students learning to write in cursive again. 

Dr. Denise Donica, an assistant professor of occupational therapy at East Carolina University, has applauded the bill. She said it could help boost cognitive ability and improve spelling.

"Studies show how much more mature the connections in the brain, the neurons firing, are with children who are actually writing letters versus just visually recognizing them as you would do in typing," she said. 

Other advocates of it say that it helps children connect to the past.

"There may be older documents they may need to read. I think it's a smart decision," Worth Forbes, vice-chairman of the Pitt County Board of Education in North Carolina, said.

At least 45 states have adopted the U.S.'s educational Common Core State Standards, which were implemented in 2010. These guidelines do not require cursive learning lessons in K through 12 schools and instead focus on keyboarding.

But some are asking that cursive writing be brought back. Those states include North Carolina, California, Massachusetts and Georgia.

Though the benefits of handwriting are clear, some teachers are saying that it is pointless to teach kids cursive, especially during an era of standardized testing.

Karyle Green, who formerly served as the superintendent for East Allen County Schools, said, "The skill of handwriting is a dying art. Everything isn't handwritten anymore."

Handwriting expert and instructor Kate Gladstone said, "Teaching handwriting doesn't mean it has to be cursive, any more than teaching math means it has to be Roman numerals."

She said she is an advocate for teaching kids how to read cursive but is against handwriting mandates.

Sources: Daily Mail, Mashable