NJ lawmaker wants schools to go back to teaching cursive handwriting
One of the things to be dropped from New Jersey classroom requirements under Common Core standards nearly a decade ago was cursive writing. Now, a state assemblywoman has proposed adding the "life skill" to existing lessons so that New Jersey children can read and write in cursive by the end of third grade.
Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, D-Hudson, said she had first-hand experience with the consequence of leaving out such instruction when her son, then a third-grader, could not read something she had written by hand.
Years later, McKnight's son is a college undergrad who can sign his name in cursive on a check or legal document, thanks to his mother's instruction at home.
She said the measure is a response to feedback from residents within her district over the past several years.
The bill would add such supplemental instruction back into the curriculum, as McKnight said this is not for a stand-alone class and not meant as a take away from classroom time on other subjects.
McKnight said among historic and important documents written in cursive are the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. She said to ignore cursive in elementary schools is a "disservice" to children as they get older and need to sign a driver's license or mortgage.
There also is research that suggests cursive writing is a piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping students strengthen fine motor skills and lesson retention. A 2010 study of elementary school students by a University of Washington psychology professor found that printing, cursive writing and using a keyboard each use related but different brain functions.
A separate study done at Middlesex University in London suggests cursive writing can help bolster students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.
The measure now heads to the Assembly Education Committee for review.
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