Friday, April 27, 2012

X marks the....

One of the highlights of the school year for third graders was learning to write in cursive. They felt so grown up and important. The 3rd grade teachers were very possessive about keeping this part of the curriculum at their level. It was a relaxing, fun part of a day that was all too often filled with tension and anxiety experienced while learning and trying to understand other difficult concepts.
Side note: Today I understand cursive is barely taught. With the advent of the computer, some say "Who needs it?"...that's another post!
I was a relaxed cursive teacher. No strict formation for me. I believed readability was  important. Can a complete stranger pick up your writing and decipher every word?
You pass! My way of teaching it  was additionally fun. I grouped together letters of similar stroke and shape like lower case e,l,i, u and t, followed by m,n and h. Immediately loads of words can be formed and the children really felt so proud. Not just shape routines but real words.
One of the last letters was X and x. Based on usage, it's a rarity.
This list of letters show frequency of usage:

As you can see it's #23! And it's hard! Look at the keyboard photo below...lowly X isn't even a factor in the most often used letters typed. The English combination of words starting with ex is plentiful and soundwise, it confused the kids. Then there's advertising and the dropping of the 'e' so kids think 'xtra' is a word and spelled correctly.
Well, I won't go off on grammar and spelling issues further but today being "X-Day" brought to mind the fun days of teaching cursive.
How's your handwriting?!


Grandmother Carolyn said...

Great commentary on cursive writing! So sad, it is not taught today...........I remember learning, Palmer-method, and to this very day, find myself absent-mindedly doing the repetitive up-down stroke or the round 'n round was a fun exercise that serves me today.

Thanks for this sharing, Buttons!

Sharkbytes said...

Good post. I think it's an interesting move away from cursive. So will people need to take a special course to be able to read old documents? their grandmother's letters? Too weird. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My alphabet is at

JoJo said...

It's sad that cursive is a lost art now. My handwriting is a cross between printing and cursive. Sometimes I will use a printed 'S', other times it comes out as cursive. In the same sentence.

Nicole said...

Being left handed in a right handed world as a kid I had a hard time with cursive writing. But, I learned, & passed it ... I can still write cursive today, but I have to slow down long enough to take my time & do it. I think technology is great. But, I also feel there is plenty of room for both old & new ... great post!

Connie Mitan said...

I don't think it's right that they want to stop teaching cursive.... How will kids learn to sign their name? You can't sign documents with a print signature....
Makes me mad to think cursive it going away... Just because some people don't think we need it... What's next? Fractions?

Abracadebra Designs said...

I am proud to say that my cursive is extemely neat and perfect. I actually won the penmanship contest we had in school when I was a kid. the prize was a calligraphy set. And I was good at that too. But let me tell you my teenaged daughter's cursive is so awful, I can't even read it. Go figure ;)