In most schools, cursive writing is taught in the third grade. Children often revert to writing in print unless their teachers in subsequent grades insist on cursive. By the fifth grade most children have reverted to print. So what are the benefits of learning cursive? Actually, there are numerous benefits especially for people with dyslexia.
As Diana Hanbury King writes in Writing Skills for the Adolescent, “In the case of dyslexics, there are several reasons for insisting on cursive. To begin with, in cursive writing, there is no question as to where each letter begins – it begins on the line. The confusion with forms is not merely a left and right reversal as with b/d and p/q; it is also an up down reversal as with m/w and u/n; hence the uncertainty as to whether a letter begins at the top or the bottom. Second, spelling is fixed more firmly in the mind if the word is formed in a continuous movement rather than a series of separate strokes with the pencil lifted off the paper between each one”.
In summation, the argument for using cursive writing for all students, but especially students with dyslexia is as follows:
- Cuts down on reversals (cursive b/d, m/w, p/q etc.)
- Letter formation and spelling are better reinforced
- Cursive writing is faster than print writing
- Establishes word boundaries