The Evolution of Handwriting

The Evolution of Handwriting

Have you ever stopped to take a look at your parent’s or grandparent’s handwriting? I have had the opportunity to spend more time with my family and had a unique observation. They all write in some form of cursive handwriting. It’s what people were taught in school. Once you learned cursive, you were conditioned to write this way. Once you graduated into the cursive world, it was viewed as a step into sophistication. I can recognize my mother’s cursive handwriting from a mile away, and I always admired it growing up. To this day, she still jots down notes at work and writes out a grocery list in cursive handwriting.

This recent reflection made me ponder my own handwriting. I then realized I don’t hand write anything. When I do find myself writing, it’s in print as opposed to cursive handwriting. I know cursive. I learned it in school. Beyond a signature, I had no luck in my attempt to find something handwritten. Let alone in cursive handwriting. The child that used to long for beautiful handwriting like her mother, no longer seems to hand write anything.

I utilize technology to communicate. I email and send text messages. I make to-do lists within an app on my iPhone. My grocery lists consist of pictures of my refrigerator that I take on my phone as I head to the store. As I continued to observe this phenomenon, I realized it actually felt awkward to hold a pen when writing in a greeting card. In fact, I barely scribble my name when signing a credit card slip. Even credit card signatures are on a screen now at most stores.

As we progress with technology, is cursive handwriting a thing of the past? Is handwriting anything at all becoming extinct? Are notepads and pens being replaced by keyboards and iPads? Handwriting was once viewed as a beautiful skill that expressed your personality. Today, the more admirable talent appears to be how many words per minute you can type on your keyboard.

After further research I came to find numerous studies done in recent years on the disappearance of cursive handwriting. Throughout universities and young adults entering the work force, most of them no longer use cursive handwriting because they feel print is easier to read and quicker to write.

Psychology Today wrote an article stating the benefits of learning cursive for brain development are similar to those you acquire when learning to play a musical instrument. Scientists have found that learning cursive handwriting helps the brain develop further by integrating movement control and thinking. Multiple areas of the brain become co-activated during this learning process vs. typing on a computer. [Read article]

So have no fear, cursive writing isn’t extinct yet. It might be on the endangered list, but the benefits of learning and using cursive handwriting seem well worth the practice! I encourage you in the near future to hand write a note to a friend. Jot down something in a journal. Utilize this dying art. Be bold and write a message on a post-it note as opposed to a calendar reminder in your phone. If for no other reason, do it for nostalgic purposes. It might make you smile. Or like myself, it made me recognize how terrible my handwriting had become.

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