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Teach people to read cursive, not write it

Senator Jean Leising has made clear, according to an article in the Connersville News-Examiner, that a big reason she wants everyone writing cursive is because her intern can’t read it, and she thinks a mandate will fix things for her intern and other people who “can’t read cursive, can’t read signatures”:

Why not just teach them how to read cursive – which would take an hour or less – a far smaller outlay of classroom time (and government funds) than teaching everyone to write that way too?

Writing cursive is not the only way (or even the least expensive or most effective way) to ensure the reading of cursive.

As a handwriting instruction/remediation professional, I regularly (and rapidly) teach cursive reading to educated, intelligent adults whose own childhoods were packed full of cursive writing instruction lessons taught in thorough detail – yet who never managed to decipher any of the cursive textbooks that they were so patiently grinding their way through. Requirements for cursive writing instruction, in the schooldays of these adults, did not result in cursive reading competence for everybody who could (and should) have gained that still-needed skill.

Expensively depending on state-mandated cursive writing to teach cursive reading is a little like mandating house-fires three times a day in order to cook one’s food.

– Kate Gladstone, Albany, N.Y.