It’s important to teach it well because the brain learns differently using cursive writing, she said. It’s a much better way to express thoughts, she said, and it stimulates the brain in different ways and helps in reading.
People are using less and less cursive because of the importance of computers in education, but they won’t always be available, Wenck said.
But handwriting is still important.
“When you sign your name people need to be able to read it,” she said. If schools don’t teach penmanship, she said, there is no other place for students to learn the skill they need to take notes in college, for instance.
Townsend said she allots about 15 minutes a day to the subject. She would like more, but with all the state requirements, that is the best that can be done.
“I think kids are very excited to be learning it,” she said. Most have the fine motor skills to handle it, she said, and if not, the occupational therapist can help.
Margaretville Central School Superintendent Anthony Albanese said students get formal training in cursive in third grade, but practice continues as students progress through school. In middle school, there’s a writing workshop where students spend time reading and writing by hand.
It’s an important part of the curriculum but the growing importance of technology is having an impact on that, he said.
“Times are changing and kids need to communicate in a variety of ways,” he said. “They are all tools you want to add to your toolbox.”
As the state moves its assessments from paper to computers, typing skills will grow in importance, he said. There is a lot to gain, but “we have to be careful of what we lose. Any well-rounded educational program will provide as many opportunities as possible.”