Catholic school teacher touts benefits of learning cursive

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) It's a debate that can bring out strong opinions-- should kids be taught cursive in school?

While it's not a requirement for public schools in Vermont, Catholic schools are still putting the pencil to paper. A third-grade class at Christ the King is learning cursive handwriting.

"The best part about cursive is that it's fancy," said Clare Hamilton, a third-grader.

This fancy writing style has become increasingly less popular to teach kids. After all, it's not easy at first.

"Probably connecting all the letters and doing it capital," Hamilton said.

"Doing the down curves and under curves, that's what I think the most hard parts are," third-grader Patrick Papp said.

Teacher Jan Cootey writes the four rules of cursive on the board: shape, size, space and slant. She says the benefits of her teaching this go beyond the walls of this classroom.

"It's important when they get older, so they can read historical documents which are written in cursive. It's part of our literacy program, and I think also they need to have a signature," she said.

Soon these students will be doing assignments using cursive and Cootey says that's good for their cognitive development and for stream of consciousness thinking.

"As they are thinking it, they are able to fluidly write it down in a notebook, versus the task of printing every single letter," she said.

While cursive may be difficult to learn, once these kids get the hang of it, it has its benefits.

"It makes you go much faster than just writing it in print," said Papp.