Cursive handwriting could see a reemergence in Ohio’s schools as early as the 2019-2020 school year thanks to Ohio lawmakers passing House Bill 58 on Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by Representatives Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, and Marilyn Slaby, R-Copley, will give schools the opportunity to teach the handwriting style to students in kindergarten through the fifth grade. Currently, there is no law mandating schools to teach cursive writing.
“I have been working through my eight years as a state representative to pass legislation that provides more tools to teachers and students,” Brenner said. “Children with learning challenges need teachers who have the resources available to help them in a special way, so I hope every district will look at the science and make cursive available for their students.”
According to a press release from the Ohio House of Representatives, associations and institutions studying the many challenges associated with dyslexia and other disabilities show cursive to be extremely helpful in supporting focus, learning patterns, memory and spelling.
“Studies have shown that the brain learns better when there is constant movement from the hand, rather than the hand having to be lifted after every pen stroke,” the press release states.
Buckeye Valley Local Schools Superintendent Andrew Miller said with all the things that the students of today are taught, “cursive writing has gotten squeezed out a little bit.
“At Buckeye Valley, we make cursive writing available to the student by teaching it informally in the third grade,” he continued. “We want kids to recognize cursive writing.”
According to the bill, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will be required to develop supplemental materials for the state’s English language arts curriculum model.
“The instructional materials shall be designed to enable students to print letters and words legibly by grade three and create readable documents using legible cursive handwriting by the end of grade five,” states the bill that’s currently on its way to Gov. John Kasich’s desk for his signature.
The ODE states in the overview of the English language curriculum model that it provides educators with information that clarifies the learning standards and sets the foundation for planning and developing instruction aligned to Ohio’s learning standards.
“I am thrilled to know that with the passage of House Bill 58, educators will have another tool to help teach students cursive writing,” Slaby said. “Teaching cursive will allow students to read anything written to them, including our founding documents.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.