Joined Up/cursive handwriting stimulates the brain in ways that typing cannot. It improves the dynamic interplay of the left and right cerebral hemispheres, helps build neural pathways, and increases mental effectiveness. Pictures of brain activity show that sequential finger movements used in handwriting activated large regions of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory. Handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential keyboarding only involves touching a key.
The simple joined up style is faster to write than the stop and start strokes of printing.
Joined Up/Cursive handwriting naturally develops sensory skills. Through repetition the child begins to understand how much force needs to be applied to the pencil and paper, the positioning of the pencil to paper at the correct angle, and motor planning to form each letter in fluid motion from left to right. This physical and spatial awareness allows them to write, but more importantly, builds the neural foundation of sensory skills needed for a myriad of everyday tasks such as buttoning, picking up objects, copying words from blackboards, and most importantly, reading.
Joined Up/cursive handwriting involves connecting letters, which has been shown to increase both speed of writing and attention span during writing. This increases continuity and fluidity in writing, which in turn encourages greater amounts of writing.
Printing is more difficult due to the frequent stop and start motion when forming letters. In addition, some printed letters look similar and are easily reversed, like the ‘b’ and ‘d’, which is often confusing children. This is of particular value to children with learning challenges like Dyslexia and A.D.D.
When printing, some children write so erratically that it is difficult to determine where one word ends and another begins. Cursive, on the other hand, requires children to write from left to right so that the letters will join in proper sequence; therefore, it is easier to read. It also aids with spelling through the connectivity of the letters. This helps the child to see words as a whole instead of seeing separate letters (as in printing). Additionally, the hand acquires knowledge of spelling patterns through movements that are used repeatedly in spelling. This is the same phenomenon that occurs when pianists or typists learn patterns of hand movements through continued repetition.
Cursive handwriting is complex, and is inherently associated with the development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Learning cursive prompts children to also develop self-discipline, which is a useful skill in all areas of life.
Cursive handwriting can improve the attractiveness, legibility, and fluidity of one’s signature.
If children do not learn to write in cursive they will not know how to read cursive and will become cursively illiterate in their own language.
The ability to master the skill to write clearly and fluidly improves the confidence of children to communicate freely with the written word.
Reasons for Teaching Joined Up Writing [PDF]