Which Form of Writing is best for Your Child's Cognitive Abilities?
Believe it or not, cursive writing is essential to a child’s cognitive development, a prospect currently being ignored by more and more public schools that opt to teach children print and typing instead.
It is not hard to remember those days when we learned how to do our perfect handwriting, following the curves and swirls and wondering how certain letters could resemble what they were supposed to be. Most kids have trouble with the s and r, though most other letters seem to make sense.
It’s a shame school boards have deemed cursive writing unnecessary, removing from common core programs and public schools in general. In 2014, 24 American states will have removed this component from their curricula. Luckily, Quebec has not joined in the mass parade. According to a University of Montreal study, one form of writing should be removed, but it is not cursive.
Traditionally, schools teach children how to print in first grade and switch to cursive in second. This is one of the worst things you can do for a child, according to research.
There is nothing wrong with printing when it comes to the ease with which a teacher could mark. But for a student, it takes more time to write in print, which reduces the amount that could be written and much of what is thought gets lost.
What is the best approach?
When it comes to cursive writing, a study looking at over 700 Quebec students found that those who learned cursive early on and stayed only with cursive dud better in spelling and syntax, with better graphic-motor skills pertaining to speed and quality of writing.
On the other hand, the worst approach was the combination of print and cursive, with print learned in first grade and cursive in second. Focusing on a single form of writing allows the child to master it completely, instead of starting from scratch again. This means that he or she will write quicker, have better spelling as it is not on the letters itself that the concentration is on, and will write more in detail, again because it’s the content and not the writing that’s focused on. The extra work the brain does impedes memorization abilities.
What other reasons do we have to teach children cursive from a young age?
No more backward letters. Literally.
When a child learns to connect the letters, there’s no way to treat it like a picture as is done with print and write the mirror image of it. On the contrary, they learn early on that letters make up words to be separated by spaces to create sentences. This concept seems to be lost for a while when learning through print. Because the words are created with stuck-together letters, children do not have the same problems with spaces as kids who learn print do.
Learning to write is hard enough. Schools should just stick to cursive writing until a child has the ability to change to print, having mastered spelling and syntax as well as proper sentencing.
Source: University of Montreal