Friday, February 22, 2013

Cursive or not

Right now there is so much discussion on dropping cursive writing in schools and strictly teaching printing and keyboarding, they don't even call it typing anymore. Let me say that no matter what is eventually decided the most important thing that is always over looked is how to properly hold your writing instrument. When you hold your pen or pencil in a death grip or a fist or with your fingers so tight the segments go white your will never be able to write for long or well. Back in the dark ages when I learned to write we had to practice even this and were told to ignore the ring and little finger of the writing hand, hold the pencil on top of the middle finger keeping it in position with the thumb then rest the pointer finger on top of the pencil. To see if we were doing this properly we had to move the pencil up and then down using only the pointer finger. when you start to write the two ignored fingers will find a comfortable place out of the way, usually just curled in toward the palm. Then you rest you hand lightly on the desk, table, whatever so so your hand can move smoothly across the page moving from the elbow and not the wrist. There are a couple of other versions that are acceptable but this one has worked the best for the most people. Research had shown that the brain works differently when you write in cursive than when you print. It increases concentration and focus among other things. So many of our children are now diagnosed with ADHD etc and I firmly believe this is because our children do not have the freedoms we enjoyed of running free and playing all over the neighborhood. If we got caught doing things that were dangerous or unacceptable there was a mom or neighbor to call us out for it or report to mom and dad. Now we can barely let our children play in their own yards and PE in grade school is limited to walking around the track field. If you have time and money you may get your kids into softball, peewee football or soccer but not all can afford that. And I'm sure all the hormones and growth stuff in our food adds to the changes. However, cursive writing has many hidden values. First learning to control the pen or pencil teaches focus and control. Think about this as well, cursive letters reach out each to the next and make a connection while printed letters stand alone having no contact or support, The letter forms also give subliminal messages when properly formed. Then once you can make the letters without having to consciously think about them the personality starts to show even more in the writing. And there are short exercises which can be done with pen and paper to help focus before a test, to make you more observant, to calm you and one to relieve stress and headaches. But back to cursive, the circle letters a and o in particular are letters of communication so to close them properly tells us to be silent in class while those left open mean you are probably in trouble for talking too much. The t and d are made with the stem a retraced line, up and down in the same spot, with the t crossing at least 3/1 high on the stem. Again control in the stem and the crossing is your goals. Too low and you set no goals, too high and your may daydream setting yourself up for failure. The e is considered the listening letter. If the loop is closed you do not want to hear what others have to say, if too open you are gullible and easily persuaded often into doing the wrong things. An e that is open but not to any extreme shows you want to hear others viewpoint and information while a combination in your writing shows you listen when the information is important to you but otherwise it's in one ear and out the other. This is just a small portion of what cursive handwriting can do for your children when taught in school. I wrote a monograph titled "The Alphabet Speaks" showing hundreds of variations of the letters and what they indicate about the writer. For those of you interested in having one contact me at