To Write a Wrong

Yes, sadly that “write” is correctly written.  The  State of Indiana has recommended that Indiana schools stop teaching children cursive handwriting and replace it with keyboarding.  This is drawing everything from ridicule to applause from all over the country.

Me?  I don’t like it at all.

I think cursive handwriting is part of the formative process of learning a language.  I’ve read that research has shown that the process of physically forming and connecting cursive letters actually enhances the cognitive language learning process.  It has to do with the brain’s analysis of the letters and sounds making up the word as the hand slowly forms the letters one by one.  It aids with spelling, which heavens knows, a lot of people can use the help with.

An article in the New York Times by Jennifer Lee describes how using a computer keyboard has all but destroyed many Chinese people’s ability to write Chinese characters.  They’ve plain forgotten them.  You can see the article here: .  Americans who use computers all the time forget how to spell properly, too — their spellcheck does it for them.  As a linguaphile, I know how untrustworthy spellcheck can be.  Just because you type a word doesn’t mean it’s the word you meant.  But if it’s in the dictionary–even if it’s the wrong word for the sentence–the spellcheck often accepts it. 


I like a keyboard as much as anyone else.  It’s fast, and it’s simple.  But I’d rather get a handwritten thank you note any day than a tweet.

I’m old fashioned.  I believe we owe it to our kids to keep them in touch with a pencil or pen and teach them the detailed care of creating cursive letters to heighten their language learning.  In my opinion, taking the easy way out by teaching strictly keyboarding at the expense of cursive writing is asking for trouble. Indiana doesn’t get it.   This decision isn’t doing our kids any favor. It’s just going to make them language poorer.

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