Friday, February 8, 2013


Letter to the Editor of Canada's Globe and Mail, by Elaine Charal:

As a long-time career Certified Handwriting Analyst, it was distressing for me to read your article in Friday’s Globe and Mail, predominantly because there was no reference to Canadian education or Canadian schools, or even mentioning that the Ontario school curriculum guideline states that “…by the end of Grade 7 students will use legible printing and cursive writing.”

Linda Sweet, Founder of Glenburnie School, a leading private school in Oakville and Mississauga, continues to have cursive handwriting firmly anchored on the Glenburnie classroom timetable.  She states that using Callirobics, a Handwriting Exercises kit that combines music and creative graphics for 5 minutes per day, her students move very quickly and successfully to cursive writing without the usual tedium of practices and shakiness that can often accompany early cursive experiences. 

The challenge lies not with learning cursive writing, but the knowledge of the education tools that make cursive easy and fun.  The root of the challenge lies with the young teachers (who themselves were not instructed properly) receiving cursory (pun intended) instruction on how to teach cursive writing.  However, there are progressive Ontario elementary schools such as Armour Heights School actively instructing cursive to Grade 3 and 4 students.

Printing was never meant to replace cursive, but as a pre-cursor (again, pun intended) ‘ball-and-stick method’ to launch into cursive writing.  The physical process of cursive writing causes information to be more powerfully entered into the brain by producing stronger neuro-pathways than simply pressing keys or choosing to print.  Research by the University of Western Ontario has shown that cursive writing is actually more efficient than printing because there are fewer pen lifts.  The very definition of cursive, in Latin, is ‘to run’. 

Learning to cursive write helps a child focus and concentrate and helps to calm the emotional part of the Brain.  Over 3,000 nerve endings in each fingertip directly connected to the brain are stimulated when using cursive.

The leading schools in Europe correctly teach the children to cursive write in grade one.  These young students, fluent in cursive and being encouraged by their more traditional parents, can be seen in coffee houses all over the city with pen in hand working in study groups and using cursive writing.  These children will become the doctors, lawyers and upper management rather than the children with less discipline who have ‘lower case’ ‘reading/writing/and ‘rithmatic skills.


  1. Elaine,
    Thanks for sharing your excellent letter in support of teaching cursive. Well done! Iris Hatfield, New American Cursive Penmanship Program

  2. Among the statements in that posting, I note particularly this —
    "Printing was never meant to replace cursive, but as a pre-cursor (again, pun intended) ‘ball-and-stick method’ to launch into cursive writing."

    The USA's first published textbook on printed handwriting (in 1924) and its successors for the next decade, stated specifically that the aim of the authors _was_ to replace cursive, and that the authors considered cursive handwriting undesirable. It was not until the late 1930s (at the earliest) that the publishers of printed handwriting textbooks decided they could increase their sales by requiring two methods (printing initially, to be replaced by cursive in the second or third grade).
    Sources are available on request.

  3. Re:
    "Over 3,000 nerve endings in each fingertip directly connected to the brain are stimulated when using cursive."
    Are they also stimulated when using any of the other styles of handwriting?

  4. As a handwriting specialist and instructor (neither analyst, nor graphologist I Support the previous post by Gladstone. Recently there have been many claims that imply cursive has greater cognitive advantages than print-like script. Are we to understand that you support conventional cursive that joins all letters within each word over a print-like script.

    Please note Finland, the educational system ranked at the top in the world. They teach italic, and the move to italic is apparently spreading in the rest of Europe.