Sign of the Times: Is Cursive a Dying Art in Classrooms?

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Kids these days. They’re allowed to write in plain old Times New Roman and don’t have to spend tedious hours learning the cursive transition from an o to an r. (via New York Times)

Steve Graham, a professor of education at Vanderbilt University, tells the New York Times that “students nationwide are still taught cursive, but many school districts are spending far less time teaching it and handwriting in general than they were years ago.”

(More on TIME.com: See the top 10 things today’s kids will never experience)

Is this decline really a problem? After all, aside from sloppy signatures that can hardly be termed as cursive, do we ever really encounter that form of handwriting in our daily lives?

From an academic standpoint, the ability to at least read in cursive is an invaluable skill and learning how to write that way offers tangible benefits as well. Jimmy Bryant, the director of Archives and Special Collections tells theĀ New York Times that a “connection to archival material is lost when students turn away from cursive.” Many historical documents are written in cursive and if modern-day students can’t decipher that code, they’ll find themselves trapped in the digital age.

Moreover, according to Sandy Schefkind, a pediatric occupational therapist in and pediatric coordinator for the American Occupational Therapy Association, ” learning cursive helped students hone their fine motor skills.”

So is it worth your–or your kids’–time to copy out sentences in a manner that seems charmingly archaic nowadays? That’s up to you to decide, but if you did take the time to learn, you may want to hang onto it: before long you might be one of the few left that “speak the language.”

(More on TIME.com: Mourning the Death of Handwriting)

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