Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) has introduced a bill in the State Assembly that would require elementary schools in New Jersey to teach children how to read and write in cursive script. McKnight is Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Women and Children, and the bill now heads to the Assembly Education Committee for review. It would become effective on the first full school year following enactment.
The bill, Assembly A-6010, would require elementary schools to include in their curriculum activities and instruction materials to enable students to become proficient in reading and writing cursive by the end of third grade. Cursive was dropped as a Common Core requirement in 2010, and many schools have decided not to include it in their curriculum. However, research suggests that learning to read and write cursive helps the development of cognitive, motor, and literacy skills and may help those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
“In some cases, children are entering middle school without knowing how to sign their own names in cursive,” McKnight said, adding, “we are doing our children a disservice by not teaching them a vital skill that they will need for the rest of their lives.”
The effort of McKnight follows the efforts of two dozen states, including Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas to reintroduce cursive in their schools.
She stressed that this is a very important skill. “Our world has indeed become increasingly dependent on technology, but how will our students ever know how to read a scripted font on a word document, or even sign the back of a check if they never learn to read and write in cursive? I want to ensure that every young student in New Jersey will have this valuable skill to carry with them into adulthood.”