A Bill Introduced to Require Cursive Instruction

cursive

On April 7, 2015, Representatives Cheryl L. Grossman and Andrew Brenner introduced H.B. 146 to amend section 3313.60 of the Revised Code as follows:

(9) Handwriting instruction in kindergarten through fifth grade to ensure that students develop the ability to print letters and words legibly by third grade and to create readable documents using legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade.

From University of Washington’s Handwriting Engages the Mind:

The value of handwriting has been a topic of some debate in academic circles. The Common Core standards adopted in most states call for teaching children legible handwriting in kindergarten and first grade only, after which the focus is on keyboarding skills.

But several states, including California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and South Carolina, have recently moved to make cursive instruction mandatory. Some psychologists, neuroscientists and researchers including Berninger say there’s an important connection between handwriting and learning. Children taught to write learn to read earlier, generate ideas more easily and have a better ability to retain information, they say.

In a five-year study of Seattle children in grades one through five, Berninger found that printing, cursive writing and using a keyboard each use related but different brain functions — underscoring that writing is a complex undertaking that draws on many neurological processes.

“Handwriting requires the production of a letter form, stroke by stroke,” Berninger said in the CBS interview. “The act of producing something supports perception. So we need to output in order to improve our ability to process what we input from the environment.”

From Write Makes Right:  Type is Hype, Diana King states:

While the computer rules these days, there are crucial cognitive benefits that are lost when handwriting goes (Berninger, 2012; Zubrzycki, 2012). Forming letters by hand engages more networks (Berninger, 2012) within the brain than keyboarding. Children who learn letter formation learn to recognize letters more quickly (Berninger, 2013). Children generate ideas more easily when writing by hand (Berninger, 2012). Finally, it makes for better recall.

A study of 300 students at Princeton and at UCLA established that those who took notes by hand had significantly better recall and comprehension of the material than those who took notes with keyboards (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014).

From Handwriting is Boeing 747 Technology:

Placing cursive handwriting in the same category of skill as keyboarding is similar to categorizing flying a kite and a Boeing 747 as being synonymous. Cursive handwriting and keyboarding are not equal nor should they be viewed as interchangeable skills. Yes, keyboarding aptitude is necessary in today’s technology driven mode of interaction where children have more digital friends than neighborhood playmates who used to gather regularly to capture the flag or play ghosts in the graveyard. However, researchers in the nation’s top institutes have substantially documented how handwriting develops reading, writing, language and critical thinking. Keyboarding does not increase brain activation and impact performance across all academic areas as does handwriting.₄

When handwriting is properly taught, students are equipped to more efficiently perform the hierarchy of skills required in other subjects, and ultimately this leads to better grades, assessment scores, and overall academic performance.₁

From Psychology Today’s Why Writing By Hand Could Make You Smarter:

In children who had practiced self-generated printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and “adult-like” than in those who had simply looked at letters. The brain’s “reading circuit” of linked regions that are activated during reading was activated during hand writing, but not during typing. This lab has also demonstrated that writing letters in meaningful context, as opposed to just writing them as drawing objects, produced much more robust activation of many areas in both hemispheres.

From What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades:

Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.

“And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize,” he continued. “Learning is made easier.”

See also:

 

Tell Your Story!

equalityandequity

Equality is about sameness, it promotes fairness and justice by giving everyone the same thing. BUT it can only work if everyone starts from the same place. In the example on the left, equality only works if everyone is the same height.

Equity is about fairness, it’s about making sure people get access to the same opportunities. In the example on the right, because of varying height, each person gets what he needs to remove barriers to participation.

~ Source Unknown.

The one thing that has been stressed by the Representatives’ aides is that parents need to tell their story of why we need dyslexia supported in the educational system. Please send emails, make phone calls, and fill out the following online petitions that give you the opportunity to tell your story. Teaching children to read is a general education issue, not a special education issue alone. Teachers need professional development in understanding dyslexia and how to better accommodate and teach students with dyslexia.

Surprisingly, the most opposition to Cassidy’s amendment came from the disability community as they felt that the amendment was raising dyslexia above all over disabilities. The disability community appears to want to treat all students with disabilities equally, but treating everyone equally does not provide fairness as described in the graphic above. Even among the disability community there is a general lack of understanding of what dyslexia is, and that the disabling effects of dyslexia can be prevented by providing early identification and appropriate, evidence based instruction in Structured Literacy.

What other disability can, for the most part, be “prevented” solely by educational instruction?  Not only is Structured Literacy crucial for the success of students with dyslexia and other underlying language learning problems, but it improves the literacy skills of ALL students.  Why would anyone not want to improve literacy skills for all students?

An example of a mom telling her story: The Simple Message I Brought to Congress: My Son’s Story

Online petitions with the opportunity to tell your story:

 

Also, please consider contacting the National Parent Teacher Association. Below is an excerpt we received in response to a letter sent questioning why they opposed the Cassidy dyslexia amendment:

National PTA did not support a couple of Senator Cassidy’s amendments because they singled out dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities over the other 12 disability categories in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA provides definitions of 13 disability categories, including “specific learning disability” which dyslexia falls under. National PTA believes special treatment or consideration should not be provided to children in any one specific disability category at the exclusion of the other categories defined in the IDEA. PTA has long believed that every child—regardless of his or her disability—has the right of access to a high quality education and must be provided with the instruction, services and resources that will enable him/her to reach his/her full potential.

We remain committed to ensuring that all students with a disability have access to, and receive the resources and supports that they need.

 

 

For more information, please see: