Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 7, 2013

Kentucky students still learning cursive

ASHLAND — Kentucky teachers have long been resigned to walking the tightrope of teaching what is required by accountability standards and teaching everything else children need for a well-rounded education.

That is why even though there is no state mandate to teach cursive writing and the newly adopted common core standards don’t address it, children at most elementaries in Kentucky are learning the flowing curves and loops that separate the little kids from the big ones.

Education experts say most teachers manage to teach cursive by embedding it into other lessons, said Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez. Teaching it as a separate skill, however, is falling by the wayside.

The reason is simple: there are only so many hours in the school day to pack in a lot of teaching. Teachers emphasize the content rather than the mechanics of writing, said Greenup County curriculum director Diana Whitt. “I think we all realize cursive is a skill we will continue to need, but we have to balance it with the need for typing skills,” she said.

In the computer age, children are put in front of a keyboard as early as kindergarten, and while in those early years the typing is of the hunt and peck variety, keyboarding now is a required elementary school skill.

Whether cursive is part of the curriculum is a school council decision for the most part. In Greenup schools, principals encourage it and the district consensus is that cursive is important.

So far there has been no state legislative effort in Kentucky to include cursive as part of educational standards, said Kentucky School Boards Association spokesman Brad Hughes.

That’s not to say teachers don’t still advocate cursive. Many do, but there appears to be a generational shift, according to Debbie Finley, chief academic officer in the Russell district.

Teachers who started their careers in the early 1990s and particularly before the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 are most adamant that cursive is a classroom must, Finley said. Younger teachers who grew up with computer keyboards and cell phones are less likely to cling to cursive.

Such teachers, accustomed to the 140-character limit of Twitter, embrace brief, to the point writing styles that lend themselves to keyboarding, Finley said.

But there is a lot to like about cursive, she said. It remains a better medium for taking notes because it is fast and — Finley contends — sparks something in the brain that better preserves the noted material in memory. “I can type all day long and not remember anything I typed,” she said.

A former elementary school principal, Finley said second- and third-grade teachers typically spent 15 minutes per day on cursive.

Although keyboarding is here to stay, Finley believes cursive remains an important skill. People still need to sign their names and write notes when there is no electronic device at hand.

They also need to be able to read what other people have written, she said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone