As the 2016-17 opens, Alabama joins Florida and North Carolina in mandating by law that students learn cursive writing.
Alabama’s teachers must instruct third graders in cursive under a law that goes into effect this school year. Although Alabama law previously required the teaching of cursive, the new law requires teachers to report students’ proficiency levels to the state at the end of third grade. Formerly, students needed to be proficient by the end of fifth grade.
Implemented in the 2012-13 school year, North Carolina has a law stating that “Public schools [shall] provide instruction in cursive writing, so students create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade.”
Florida implemented its own standard, requiring cursive writing to be taught in third grade in public elementary school classes.
Which cursive will these students use? Over the years, the type of cursive used by American students has become simplified and for some letters, similar to printing. For example, the capital Q, which in old cursive looked like a loopy numeral 2, has been changed at the request of the US Postal Service. The new Q looks more like a printed Q and less like the number 2. The new capital K, P, R, and T look almost identical to the printed forms of those letters.
With fewer loops, the New American Cursive is quick to write, easier to read, and cleaner in look than the older versions of cursive. An extreme slant of the letters has been replaced with a slight slant to the right, making the new cursive easier for left-handed students.
For more information on the new cursive, go to www.newamericancursive.com.