Jaeden Alvarez practices cursive writing at Cleveland K-6 School in Dayton, Ohio. These days, cursive writing is not taught in many schools. (AP/Al Behrman)

Jaeden Alvarez practices cursive writing at Cleveland K-6 School in Dayton, Ohio. These days, cursive writing is not taught in many schools. (AP/Al Behrman)

Students practice both cursive and print handwriting skills at the Mountaineer Montessori School in Charleston, West Virginia. Writing in cursive helps us remember information. (AP/Bob Bird)

Students practice both cursive and print handwriting skills at the Mountaineer Montessori School in Charleston, West Virginia. Writing in cursive helps us remember information. (AP/Bob Bird)

Davis Payne, left, and Brendon Farmer trace cursive letters with their fingers at the Mountaineer Montessori School. (AP/Bob Bird)

Davis Payne, left, and Brendon Farmer trace cursive letters with their fingers at the Mountaineer Montessori School. (AP/Bob Bird)

Third grade students show off the words they wrote in cursive handwriting. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

Third grade students show off the words they wrote in cursive handwriting. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

Eight-year-old movie star Shirley Temple writes a letter at her home in California in December  1936. (AP)

Eight-year-old movie star Shirley Temple writes a letter at her home in California in December 1936. (AP)

Cursive Is Cool!

Posted: March 1, 2021

Sharpen your pencils! Warm up your wrists! The Cursive is Cool ® contest is on! The pandemic can’t stop cursive writers. Teachers, parents, and students encouraged the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation not to erase the 8th annual contest. Organizers agreed. They added additional prizes and made a few changes. Even if schools are operating remotely, kids can still enter. 

The contest is a repeating event. It is designed to highlight the importance of teaching (and learning) to read and write in cursive. U.S. and French-Canadian students can enter the contest until April 30. (The English-Canadian contest deadline is slightly different. It runs until March 12.) For more information on entering and prizes, ask an adult if you can visit http://www.cursiveiscool.com/.

How “cool” is cursive in schools these days? Some people think that cursive handwriting is an outdated skill. They say typing should replace handwriting. Sheila Lowe is President of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation. She says that more than 25 states require some cursive writing training in public schools. So, is cursive making a comeback? Brain researchers say they can prove that it should.

Writing by hand really engages the brain. A 2020 brain study at Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at the energy in kids’ brains when they wrote in cursive. The study showed that writing cursive causes a great increase in the brain’s electrical activity. Two parts of the brain get really busy when someone writes by hand. Those are the parietal lobe and frontal regions. These areas of the brain help us learn new information and remember it.

Do you remember something better if you write it or type it? Researcher Audrey Van der Meer says, “The use of pen and paper gives the brain more ‘hooks’ to hang your memories on.” Maneuvering a pen takes fine motor skills. Feeling it scratch rhythmically against the texture of paper is more stimulating to the brain than typing on a computer keyboard. “A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters you write, and hearing the sound you make while writing,” says Dr. Van der Meer.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” says Psalm 139:14. God crafted amazing connections between our hands and our brains. So next time you need to make a note, write, don’t just type. Cursive is way cooler than you might think!