Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

May 5, 2013

Cursive Handwriting included in Back to Basics curriculum in NC

Cursive Writing Occupational Therapy Child and Family DevelopmentThe North Carolina General Assembly has been considering a bill to require students to learn cursive handwriting.  The “Back to Basics” bill ensures that the teaching of cursive handwriting will become a priority in elementary school classrooms.  Many other states in this country are also considering similar bills. 

The importance of cursive handwriting is for helping children develop more refined fine motor skills, learn self-discipline, and increase brain activity in the visual-motor areas of the brain. The small muscles in the hand develop as we use them for precision skills. Handwriting is one of those precision skills.

We use different sets of muscles to hold the pen correctly with a tripod grasp than with a less refined grasp. Cursive writing is usually taught later than printing because we need even more muscle control to guide the pen smoothly across the page as we connect the letters to form words. The stop and start movements in printing do not encourage those muscles to develop endurance or “flow” as cursive writing teaches. These same muscles are the ones that help children with manipulating clothing fasteners (Can they button and tie their shoes well?)

If we raise a generation of children that don’t fully develop their dexterity then who will take over the jobs such as surgeons, scientists and computer technicians that require fully developed fine motor skills.

Thank you to those individuals who recognize that cursive handwriting is still an important skill in this age of technology.