A call to bring cursive testing back to classrooms
Occupational therapist Melissa Gibbons says skill is necessary
One woman is passionate about bringing cursive writing testing back into schools.
With the advent of new technologies like tablets and smartphones, writing by hand has become something of a nostalgic skill.
Cursive writing is no longer tested in Nova Scotia classrooms. It's up to teachers to decide how often students practice looping their letters and crossing their "t's".
That's a major concern for Melissa Gibbons, an occupational therapist and handwriting tutor.
"With kids that are not being taught cursive writing, they're not learning how to read cursive writing. So if they're in workforce, and they get a handwritten note from their employer, if it's in cursive writing they can't read it," she said.
Andrea Rahal, owner of Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique and Letterpress Studio in Halifax, said cursive isn't just a form of communication, but an art.
"It's sort of like French, you know you regret not taking it, like the French immersion, but you're going to want to know it later in life," she said.
Fourth-grader Trinity Woolliscroft said she enjoys cursive writing.
"It's fun to do and then when you're done, it's all fancy," she said.
Woolliscroft admits that she was better at cursive last year.
"I don't do it as often as I did last year because we haven't been learning it a lot in class, so I haven't been doing it at home as much," she said.
Gibbons said cursive writing helps hone other skills.
"I see a lot of kids who have fine motor concerns or hand-eye coordination concerns, and those two aspects can really have an impact on their handwriting," said Gibbons.
If students don't master the ABCs of cursive writing, Gibbons said in this digital age, there's something else they can't do that may be a surprise.
"I always go back to, 'Show me how to write your name.' I teach them that, that's called a signature. This is your mark on the world. This is how you're going to tell people you matter. This is how you are going to sign important documents," she said.
Gibbons said she would love to see cursive writing back as a mandatory part of the classroom.
She said practicing 10 minutes a day, can go a long way in teaching kids the skill.