Is Cursive Still Taught? Remembering a Lost Art

Is cursive still taught in school? It’s hard to believe that a staple like cursive could be permanently absent from the classroom. This beloved and begrudged style of writing required young students to master the art of curly q’s and the perfect flowing slant. Now, a victim to time, it seems this vintage font is going the way of the VHS.

With cursive being phased out of school curriculums, we can’t help but feel a tad nostalgic. Before this beautiful relic is lost to time, let’s take a moment to reflect on one of the more elegant forms of penmanship.

Quick History: A Cursory Look at Cursive

To generations growing up now, the thought of writing in cursive must feel as foreign as having to dip a quill into a bottle of ink before jotting things down. And really, this style of penmanship does connect us to a storied history of scribes.

Much like the inventions of plumbing and roads, we can thank the Roman Empire for the invention of cursive. It started as a way to document purchases and communications. This style of writing outlasted the Roman Empire, eventually getting adopted by the Christian church as a specialized discipline to be used for more than just writing receipts.

Several iterations throughout time lead to what we now know as modern cursive. Even in the budding days of the United States, being a professional penman who transcribed documents was a good way to make a living. You didn’t think that was Thomas Jefferson’s cursive on the Constitution, did you? That iconic document was Jacob Shallus’ gold-star penmanship.

Cursive in Logos and Business Advertising

Did you know that the original Coca-Cola logo was written in an early form of American cursive called the Spencerian method? Many of us take for granted the cursive we see advertised every day in logos. Take a look at the Kleenex and Kellogg’s brand logos. Or ask yourself how weird it would be to see a Barbie logo without its signature scrawl. Lots of brand logos written in cursive have become instantly recognizable to the public.

Do you have a business with a cursive logo? If so, you may be helping to keep this style of writing alive.

Why is Cursive No Longer Taught?

In short, tech. The more we’ve shifted toward using technology for our correspondences, the less perceived need there is for this formal style of penmanship. This is a trend that has been increasing since the popularity of the typewriter. Now with computers and the focus on teaching programming, it seems a final blow has been dealt to this handwriting style. Still, there is some hope for a future with cursive.

Many states, like Texas, California, Louisiana, and others, have begun reintegrating cursive into their curriculums. The benefits of cursive are believed to improve intricate motor skills, enhance creativity, and stimulate development of language and memory. Whether more states will take up the same initiative to save cursive is unknown.

Personally, we want cursive to stick around. There’s just something more eloquent about receiving cards with handwritten cursive notes. Then again, we do love our pens and stationery. So we may be biased.


Jessica Carreiro

Jessica is a copywriter and journalist based out of San Diego, CA.

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Jessica Carreiro

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