Writing by Hand Resurfaces in California Schools

California will mandate that students aged six to twelve learn cursive handwriting as of this year. After years of teaching typing on computer keyboards and disregarding handwriting, handwriting is making a comeback. When writing in cursive, every letter in a word is joined to every other letter. Assembly Bill 446 mandates that 2.6 million first- through sixth-grade California schoolchildren learn handwriting. Additionally, students in grades three and up must take cursive courses.

 

The bill was endorsed by former elementary school teacher Sharon Quirk-Silva, and in October, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law. According to experts, mastering cursive enhances hand movement, reading comprehension, and brain development. Teaching kids to read old family letters and historical documents is something that some instructors think is beneficial as well. At Orangethorpe Elementary School in Fullerton, which is located roughly 50 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles, Pamela Keller teaches fourth through sixth grade. She said that prior to the law’s implementation on January 1, she was already instructing cursive.

 

“We tell them, well, it’s going to make you smarter, it’s going to make some connections in your brain, and it’s going to help you move to the next level,” Keller says in response to complaints from kids about the challenge. The desire for students to be smarter then causes them to become excited. They’re eager to learn,” remarked Keller. Keller reported that one kid became pleased upon viewing an illustration of the 1787 U.S. Constitution and exclaimed, “It’s cursive!” during a recent visit to the school library. Many of Keller’s pupils claim that although the subject—like the letter Z—was challenging, they still found it enjoyable.

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