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How a teacher's demand sparked the debate over writing in cursive again
A Facebook post showing a teacher's frustration with a 7-year-old student writing her name on an assignment in cursive went viral, posing the question of whether learning the style reaps benefits or wastes time. - photo by Payton Davis
What started as standard red-inked feedback in regards to a class assignment morphed into another rendition of the debate over cursive writing when a teacher's disdain for the penmanship went viral.

According to Fox 46 Charlotte, 7-year-old Alyssa learned to write cursive at a young age but received criticism from her teacher when scribing her name in the form at the top of an assignment.

"Stop writing your name in cursive. You have had several warnings," the teacher's comment on the assignment read.

Brenda Hatcher shared the feedback on Facebook, which has garnered more than 447,000 shares. Some social media users suggested the teacher didn't know how to read cursive, others said the girl should've followed directions, and a few opined they'd be sure to teach their kids how to read the penmanship, according to Mommyish, a resource for parents.

In 2015, would that be worth their time, though?

The debate

As far as science is concerned, understanding cursive boosts children's brain power, according to Mic.

Mic cited a study in the journal "Academic Therapy" that linked higher scores in reading and spelling among first graders to knowing the craft. Cursive changes the way students look at words and comprehend them, the report read.

"One possible explanation is the continuity of movement in cursive, whereas in [print] writing, attention is given to single letters," Mic quoted from the study. "The continuous line in writing a word provides kinesthetic feedback about the shape of the words as a whole, which is absent in manuscript writing."

However, according to The Conversation, taking time to pull out a pen and a notebook sounds nice but people today have little time in their lives to do so when screens run everything.

There's no denying a knowledge of language reaps benefits, but backtracking to the "good old days" isn't necessary in other aspects of life when more effective means of communication exist, The Conversation's piece stated.

"No-one would think to ask the textile industry to go back to using the 'Spinning Jenny,' an antiquated machine that enabled the production of textiles, or decree that a laundry go back to washing clothes by hand," according to the article. "But they think it's OK to ask teachers to concentrate on industrial revolution 'basics.'"

Elizabeth Licata wrote for Mommyish she learned to write in cursive at Alyssa's age; the positive aspects of her experience were that she used it often in her early academic career, and when it came to old-fashioned ways of saying "thank you," she was set.

Licata reported she doubts children with little knowledge of the skill face disadvantages, though.

A cursive comeback?

Whether that's true, cursive might be making a comeback, according to Today.

Parent complaints sparked a return to the form in certain parts of the country, with state governments including in Arkansas drafting their own education for instruction on cursive where Common Core Standards don't mention it, Today reported.

Today said Tennessee, Florida, California, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio are implementing the skill in their curricula or figuring out ways to do so.

What's happened in these places?

Youths build strong communication skills but, nationwide, children struggle in this regard, mom Corinne Schmitt told Today.

"A handwritten note carries so much value and meaning, perhaps even more now that communication is so technical," Schmitt said. "We lose a way to connect with each other when we are no longer able to communicate in this way."

According to Time, supporters of the craft are also shelling out cash to see its resurgence.

A Kickstarter created by mom-daughter duo Linda Shrewsbury and Prisca LeCroy to finish a book on cursive garnered $33,000, Time's piece read.

Shrewsbury and LeCroy told the publication they don't seek to take classroom attention away from typing; they're trying to preserve a skill that instills creativity.

"Wouldn't it be bad if a generation of kids didn't learn it?" Lecroy asked. "Why would we want to strip away that little bit of creativity?"
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