The brilliant scientist Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” There are a growing number of professionals and lay people who would assert that Einstein’s ‘feared day’ of technology is upon us, and although we may have some individuals who act like idiots, we have a greater number of individuals (millennials) who are not able to complete the once-mundane tasks of, reading, writing and arithmetic. It would appear the most recent research verifies this premise, especially in the area of cursive handwriting. Apparently, this diminishing, or even lost skill of simple ‘handwriting’ (which has been greatly replaced by keyboarding and texting), appears to greatly compromise one’s ability to read at acceptable levels. Some would even contend that the skills of both reading and writing are things of the past! Studies have shown that children who learn cursive writing skills read better than those children who merely use keyboarding. Apparently, a child’s brain is geared to interpret letters, words and sentences differently when writing, which sets the brain up for better performances in reading. Indiana University professor Karin James conducted an experiment scanning the brains of young children before and after using cursive writing (James, 2012). She compared these children to those who relied solely on keyboarding. Interestingly, after four weeks of engaging in these exercises, children who were active in cursive writing exercises showed tremendous spikes in their brain scans with regards to reading activities. Their peers who used keyboards showed less active brain stimulation (James, 2012). What does this mean? Basically, when an individual learns and then masters the art of writing letters by hand, this is critical in the success of setting up one’s brain system for proper reading acquisition.
Does this have any effect in teenagers and/or adults for that matter? James (2012) also conducted research in college students comparing cursive writing to typing up their notes on a keyboard when it came to learning and retaining information. Interestingly, one week later the information collected by college students, who used cursive writing to transcribe their lectures, showed better results. Students who used cursive writing remembered more information than those who merely used a keyboard to record their information (James, 2012). James did add that scientists have not fully understood or determined with 100% accuracy the benefits of teaching or not teaching cursive writing. There is enough preliminary research asserting that cursive writing can contribute to one’s educational success. Teaching cursive writing is perhaps something that schools may not be engaging in enough, or at all these days. Did you know that there are exceptional tools and programs that teach cursive writing you can teach children in your own home that demonstrate vast improvement in writing that takes only 10 minutes a day? In less than 2 months, your kids can develop the writing skills necessary which will set them up for greater success in the educational system, as well as for their own mastery of writing and reading! James, K.H. “How Printing Practice Affects Letter Perception: An Educational Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective.” Presented at Handwriting in the 21st Century?: An Educational Summit, Washington, D.C., January 23, 2012.