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Teachers aim to continue cursive under common core

Teachers aim to continue cursive...

MADISON, Wis. - In this age of technology, do you still write in cursive?

Some teachers and therapists believe it should still be taught to kids, despite it not being included in national teaching standards.

Diane Eldridge directed a room full of teachers and occupational therapists in Madison on Friday, holding a stuffed rabbit in a top hat in one of her hands.

"Where we're going to start is with the magic C letters," Eldridge began.

She walked to a white board and showed how the "magic C" worked.

"We're going to take a C and turn it into an A," Eldridge said as she swooped the two lowercase letters and ended with a "bump."

Eldridge works with "Handwriting without Tears," a company offering curricula to teach children handwriting, including cursive. 

Occupational therapist Kirsten Matthews came all the way from Marquette, Michigan, for the training.

"I've had parents come to me and they've been concerned that 'they're not teaching cursive (in) my child's school and I'm really worried about that because the Declaration of Independence is written in cursive and all those old historical documents are written in cursive," Matthews said. 

She said she was hoping for more instruction in handwriting lessons in a time of touch-screens.

"I've even had a child a few years ago who was very touch-screen driven and really loved his touch screen," Matthews said, showing a hand position she says is common among young people who regularly use screens. "He spent a lot of time on that, but he couldn't zip a zipper because you can't zip a zipper if you have that."

The same posture as the zipper fingers is used to hold a pencil, she says.

Cursive isn't showing up in schools as much as it used to be, as national "Common Core" standards don't require it.

"Cursive is much faster," Eldridge says of the reasons to still teach the script. "They can get their thoughts down a lot quicker because cursive flows."

Eldridge and Matthews also point to research they say shows that students who write notes well have more memory recall. 

They both believe schools should continue in the cursive tradition.

"I understand the demand and the competition for the time but for some kids it does help them to learn better," Matthews said.

Madison schools still  teach cursive. A spokeswoman said the guideline is 10 minutes of cursive a week in grades two through five. 


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