International Handwriting Week started Jan. 17, culminating on Jan. 23, the birthday of John Hancock. Hancock signed his name boldly on the Declaration of Independence.

Sadly, many of our children cannot read Hancock’s signature, let alone the Declaration of Independence. Few schools teach cursive penmanship. If one cannot write cursive, how can one read it?

Why learn cursive in this age driven by technology? Because the human brain connects more (memory, creativity, original thought) in the function of handwriting than it can with a keyboard. Technology is wonderful, but it cannot replace what handwriting provides.

Cursive is no longer being taught in many schools. Technology lessons have eliminated the classroom time needed to teach cursive.

Thus, cursive penmanship is classified as an optional art; but it only takes 15 minutes of practice a day to master cursive writing.

I have regretfully observed the decline of handwriting training in our schools. Our kids are losing the opportunity to achieve this lifelong skill. Many students print awkwardly into adulthood; their writing never maturing.

Some other reasons to learn cursive: improves neural connections in the brain; faster than printing; improves fine motor skills; improves reading and spelling ability; increases self-confidence; self-discipline and focus; higher test scores; keeps students globally competitive; and encourages individuality.

For research supporting these reasons and to learn more about the subject, visit www.cursiveiscool.com. Let’s preserve the handwriting skill for future generations.

Mary Ann Sherry

handwriting and document examiner

Metairie