In fourth grade, the Common Core requires students to be able to keyboard or type a full page at one sitting. Learning cursive writing is not required.
However, the Common Core developers have encouraged individual states and school districts to modify the standards as appropriate for their populations. Some states have included handwriting. In California, kids need to learn printing in second grade and cursive in third and fourth grade. Massachusetts requires legible handwriting of any kind in fourth grade. Private schools, which may or may not follow the Common Core, usually include handwriting as a necessary skill.
Does your state require children to practice handwriting? You can find out by going to your state’s department of education and searching for the state-required curriculum. You may find that your state has adopted the Common Core as a whole, without modification, in which case handwriting will not be taught after first grade.
But that does not mean you can’t augment your child’s learning. Teacher supply stores sell booklets on how to write in cursive. Or you can go online to buy such materials.
There is good reason to do so. Handwriting (as opposed to writing with a keyboard)
- Develops dexterity in fingers
- Improves hand / eye coordination
- Activates many parts of the brain not used when keyboarding
- Encourages children to write longer passages, and
- Improves letter recognition.
Another reason to learn cursive is to be able to read letters and documents of the past. I have many letters from my aunt—written in cursive. I have a letter and post cards sent home from Europe by my father during World War II—written in cursive. I have copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—written in cursive.
Like much of the Common Core, the reduction in emphasis on handwriting is controversial.