Ask Dr. Blank: Should We Still Be Teaching Cursive?


When children can write effectively, they can read effectively; writing and reading are skills that reinforce one another.  In the digital age however, the way we write is becoming less traditional, with cursive handwriting appearing to have faded out of focus. Sandra (teacher) asks:

Should we still be teaching cursive?

Dr. Marion Blank, the creator of says:

Cursive handwriting has been shown to have many benefits.  For example, with its mastery, children can write faster and space their words more effectively. Unfortunately, almost no teaching time is devoted to it and so very few children ever get to realize its benefits. Most experience it as something they need to do for a few minutes a week in one particular grade (usually third grade). Under these conditions, they get the disadvantages of cursive (i.e., it slows them down) and none of the advantages.

Of course, in the hi-tech age, the argument is usually advanced that computers render handwriting unnecessary. But that overlooks the advantages that accrue to cognition from having multiple approaches to the same activity. In a sense, it is somewhat akin to the benefits that bi-lingualism holds for language functioning. Each “language” tends to strengthen the other.

It would be nice to pilot these issues in a number of schools. To do that, we would have to introduce it earlier and teach it on a daily basis for sustained periods of time. Catholic schools, for example, handle it in this manner and their students typically have excellent handwriting. In the current climate, the likelihood of that happening across the population seems slim at best.

But if you have the time and inclination, teaching cursive is definitely worthwhile.

The Reading Kingdom program teaches children to read up to a third grade level, while helping them learn to write and spell as well.  Read testimonials and sign up for a free 30 day trial today!

Marion Blank

Marion Blank

Dr. Marion Blank is a world-renowned psychologist and expert on the development of literacy and language in children as well as the creator of the “Six Skill Integrated Method” for teaching children to read. Prior to creating the Reading Kingdom online literacy program, she created and directed the Light on Literacy Program at Columbia University. She has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles and books and developed numerous award winning teaching and assessment programs. Dr. Blank is also a recipient of the Upton Sinclair Award which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to education.
Marion Blank