CCPS adding cursive curriculum

Published 12:10 pm Monday, July 10, 2017

When students return to school August 16, cursive writing will officially be returning with them.

According to Clark County Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Brenda Considine, the subject of cursive writing was never officially removed from the district’s curriculum, but it did not appear on the state report card. Teachers were allowed to choose whether or not they taught cursive to their students or just taught printing.

However, the Kentucky Department of Education recently made changes to education standards which will make cursive writing a requirement for students. Considine said after learning of the upcoming changes, she met with the elementary school principals in the district as a way to get ahead of the curve.

The principals had a choice to make regarding which cursive-teaching materials the district would use. The district could select traditional cursive teaching materials or go with Handwriting Without Tears, a more modern set of books that make some changes to how letters are formed.

Considine said the decision was ultimately to go with a traditional set of books called Zaner-Bloser, in part because that was what student’s parents’ likely learned from.

“Any time you can get extra help at home from parents, it’s a win-win situation for us,” Considine said. “We didn’t want to have a perception that this was a new form of handwriting. We wanted it to be easy for them to provide support at home.”

Handwriting Without Tears will still be available for students who need special accommodations, she said.

Students will begin their handwriting courses in Kindergarten and continue on until the third grade, Considine said. The goal is to have students proficient enough in cursive from their elementary years that they have a choice of using either that or printing in the years to come.

Students will be introduced to cursive at the end of the first grade. In second grade, they will focus on making letters and numerals, ending the year learning to connect letters to form words. Third grade will focus on linking words together to make sentences and paragraphs while looking at legibility, margins and spacing.

Considine said the lack of teaching cursive writing in the past has had some real-world consequences for students.

“Children really weren’t learning cursive,” Considine said. “So in today’s world, if one of them got a job where they would be reading cursive they struggled to read it and respond to it.”

Every child should be able to give their signature in cursive as well, she said.