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Technology Shouldn't Kill Cursive Writing, Educator Says

Tulsa World

Technology Shouldn't Kill Cursive Writing, Educator SaysIn a digital world of computers, keyboards and fonts, there is still a place for cursive writing, according to workshop facilitator and certified handwriting specialist Angie Kalman.

"What we say is technology isn't going anywhere, but neither is handwriting," she said. "Instead of one or the other, it's really a support system of both."

Kalman, who also is an occupational therapist in Boca Raton, Fla., is a national workshop presenter for Handwriting Without Tears, an early childhood education company.

She is in Tulsa on Friday and Saturday to conduct training workshops for area teachers. Among strategies on teaching school readiness skills, she also trains educators on fun and effective ways to teach cursive handwriting.

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In the last couple of years, controversy about teaching cursive in schools has arisen with the advent of Common Core state standards, which were adopted by 45 states and three U.S. territories, including Oklahoma. The national standards, which take effect in 2014, will no longer require that learning cursive be offered in school curriculum.

States and school districts may still decide to teach cursive writing if they wish.

"The mandates are not strong for cursive writing anymore," Kalman said. "We have some teachers who say: 'Oh I think it's a lost cause. Why do we teach it?' Technology, technology ... ."

She asks naysayers if they only print when they write. Almost invariably, they tell her no, they also use cursive.

"Right. You do because it's faster. It's more efficient," Kalman says. "You use cursive because it flows quicker."

If children aren't taught cursive, that's one fewer tool they will have available to them as they learn, she said.

Research has shown a correlation between writing in cursive and cognitive development. At least one brain imaging study showed that writing in cursive activates areas of the brain that are dormant when using a keyboard.

"There's research that supports the fluidity of writing (in cursive) and how it helps the fluidity of thought," Kalman said.

She also noted that students will be required to write much more under the Common Core standards.

"There is a very clear expectation of how much they're going to need to write and how fast they're going to need to write," she said. "If we're asking them to write more, then let's give them the fastest way to do it."

Kim Archer 918-581-8315