Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cursive, RIP and Good Riddance

The Washington Post reports on the death of cursive writing.

When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters.

When I write with a pen or pencil, it is almost always in block letters, with the notable exception of my signature. I have a hard time reading my own cursive, much less anybody else's. My wife does have very beautiful penmanship, but even then I sometimes have to ask her what a particular letter is, if I'm not able to make the word out from context.

I can't see getting too upset about the death of cursive. I once worked for a publisher who put out a book with tables and tables of examples of the cursive that genealogists might come across in searching through old German church books. I remember the letter "Q" had dozens of versions, none of which looked like a "Q" to me.

The best thing anyone can do is teach their kids how to type. If I hadn't taken two semesters of typing in high school, I surely would have flunked out of college.

Here's one case where I stand with the majority. Good riddance to cursive. May it no longer cause anxiety to third graders who are extremely intelligent yet lack good penmanship.



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