Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cursive Writing II

And for a few more words on the subject of the value of cursive writing, here are some recent thoughts from my friend Cynthia Clampitt, the incredibly talented freelance writer and author of "Waltzing Australia."

Cursive writing does so much more than just get words down. Kids can no longer take notes in class because they can’t write fast enough; they can’t read notes from anyone more than a decade older than them; plus they lose the HUGE advantages writing by hand offers, primarily accessing the right side of the brain and processing/synthesizing information in a way that makes it more likely to “stick” in the brain.

“LOL” is useful in an email, but it’s not language. If we lose language, we lose the ability to think; we lose ourselves.

I’m really worried about a generation growing up without knowing cursive. How will they sign their names? Plus the fine motor skills developed in handling a pen actually have an affect on the ability to think.

One advantage to writing longhand that hasn’t been mentioned—if you cross it out, you can still see it. When you type over something on the computer, it’s gone. Especially when writing creatively, I love being able to look back and see something I’ve crossed out and being able to say, “oh, that would work here” and drawing a little line with a caret to insert it.

Non-creative writing, I can do directly on the computer. But even then, all my notes will have been taken longhand. By the time I’ve written a few pages of notes (whether an interview or from books), I can already feel the ideas forming as to where the story will go.

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