There has been a lot of handwringing about the demise of cursive writing this year. An NPR piece about it aired as I drove to teach the first session of a memoir writing workshop back in March. It inspired me with a topic for our first in-class exercise. I gave my students the prompt, “from cursive to computer” and then challenged them to write facts (1 minute), memories (3 minutes), and meaning (1 minute). – Sarah White
From Cursive to Computer
By Bonnie Berens
I am around six or seven years old. I am crouching in my wooden, two-piece desk afraid to raise my hand for help from “the penguin.”
My transfer from Lincoln Avenue School to St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was highly traumatic for me. I could not remember how to spell my last, long—14 letter—Polish name. Niedzialkowski. I did raise my hand, and Sister Mary Eulogia came to my side and kindly printed my name, then wrote it in cursive for me.
I felt proud that I was so brave to have raised my hand in fear, and have such a positive response. I face my adversaries straight on now—a little scary still, to “youngsters” who are my bosses.
Bonnie Ann (Niedzialkowski) Berens
“Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.” —New York Times, June 2, 2014.