Board of Education hears recommendations on manuscript, cursive in schools

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Should kids still be learning cursive? That’s one of the questions education leaders discussed Tuesday.

Kansas State Board of Education members heard recommendations on kids’ handwriting, both how it should be taught and what the best practices are.

Joann McRell is the education program consultant for K-6 writing standards for the department of education.

She is part of a committee of teachers that is tasked with how to update old handwriting standards.

She said early on there’s not a need to begin with tracing letters like many are taught when writing block letters.

“That overtaxes their working memory and kind of freezes them out so that they can’t write in manuscript form,” McRell said.

McRell said it’s also important to let kids create their own style of writing when they begin learning cursive. She said research shows that 70 percent of people use a hybrid combination of both manuscript and cursive writing.

Many students in the state learn cursive beginning in the third grade. McRell said the state should continue recommending schools teach cursive.

She said it helps people in a variety of ways from writing faster to helping kids with Dyslexia create and understand words.

“Cursive writing provides equity for kids to access learning,” McRell said. “If I don’t know how to write in cursive, I will not be able to read cursive.”

Next month board members will vote whether to adopt any of the changes.

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