22 February 2012

But Who Will Read The Record? Does Not Learning Cursive Mean Our Descendants Will Be Less Able to Read Handwritten Documents?

Meridian Magazine published a provocative piece titled "But Who Will Read the Records?" by Carol Kostakos Petranek (one of the Directors of the Washington DC Family History Center) which discusses a possibly frightening movement underway to eliminate cursive handwriting from public schools (see Cursive Handwriting Getting Erased) and the impact this might have on genealogists.

My experience has been that an emphasis on cursive writing went by the wayside about 10 years ago – by the time my son was a 3rd grader, they spent much less time on cursive and even print writing than for my slightly older daughter.  As a result of that, he doesn’t have terribly legible hand-writing, though his typed documents look just fine?!?!?!

I don’t know my thoughts on whether his lack of schooling in cursive would make it more challenging to read handwritten documents?  As it is – between spelling variations, vagaries in handwriting, etc, I struggle to read handwritten texts, regardless of when or where written.

Do you think that a generation taught typing instead of cursive writing (with a reduced emphasis on even print writing for that matter) will be more challenged in the future to read hand-written documents or not?



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