Mandatory cursive writing lessons? Lawmaker explains thought behind the bill

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MENTOR, Ohio – Most people can sign their name in cursive. But that’s about it.

That was the extent of Bellflower Elementary School principal Heather Hardy’s cursive until she actually had to teach it.

That’s kind of where most adults are. Their handwriting is a mash-up of bad cursive, and block letters.

But if you want to know how to form the letters correctly, just ask a Mentor second-grader.

“They’re kind of easy when you start to learn them a lot and keep doing them and doing them,” John, a second grade student, told Fox 8 News.

But not all school systems in Ohio teach cursive. In some districts, reading and math are such priorities, cursive has fallen by the wayside.

Summit County lawmaker Marilyn Slaby wants all districts to make at least some part of the elementary school day dedicated to teaching the art of writing and it doesn’t have to be just about making letters.

Slaby and Republican Rep. Andrew Brenner have proposed legislation that would again make cursive instruction mandatory between kindergarten and fifth grade. Thirteen representatives have signed on as co-sponsors.

“You’re not just teaching the sound of the letter; you have so many things you can teach along with it that it begins to make sense,” she said.

Slaby says by combining cursive with spelling and vocabulary, teachers can make up time and add another dimension to these lessons.

Principal Hardy also sees something else.

Cursive makes you think about what you’re writing and saying.

It’s a method of expression.

Cursive writing is artistic, a way to put something on paper that’s beautiful and uniquely your own.

“That’s something that they can be good at. It doesn’t involve studying; they can be independently good at handwriting and have beautiful cursive and be successful kids that are very good at school,” Hardy said.

Slaby says the bill is headed to committee and so far has had a lot of support in the House.

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