NC teachers hoping method helps students learn cursive writing

Photo by Kelly Kennedy/CBS North Carolina

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — With computers, tablets, and cell phones, you no longer need to pick up a pen and paper and write your notes the old fashioned way, but educators in North Carolina believe handwriting is important, especially cursive.

In fact, North Carolina passed a law four years ago requiring cursive in the classroom.

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“Cursive is actually shown by research to be a faster way to write than printing,” said Denise Donica, National Workshop Presenter for Learning Without Tears. “That helps give kids skills to write more quickly in doing essays, writing for exams.”

For many students learning cursive can be frustrating, but “Learning Without Tears” is hoping to change that.

They use music, memory games, and chalk boards to make writing in cursive fun.

“You can remember words from songs from 20 years ago and when it comes on the radio,” said Donica. “So, we use music that has a very specific purpose to try and help them remember important features of the writing that they’re going to be doing. There’s different activities. Some of the songs are actually ‘air writing’ the letters.”

Learning Without Tears is a curriculum created 40 years ago by a mother whose son struggled with handwriting.

“Sometimes the tears come from the teacher, sometimes it’s from the students, sometimes it’s both combined,” Donica said.

Teachers from North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia packed the workshop in Raleigh.

“You have some students they have a passion for it, some students it’s more of a frustration and a difficulty,” said Ashley Mason, a first grade teacher at the Heritage Leadership Academy in Apex. “I feel like one of the struggles is you have students coming from different backgrounds.”

Some teachers say it’s a game changer.

“They thought faster, they wrote faster, they wrote more,” said Holly Potter, a K-5 Intervention teacher in Burlington. “They didn’t complain when it was time to write or take notes.”

Some teachers CBS North Carolina spoke with also said that cursive is the way to go for many students with disabilities because it helps develop fine motor skills.

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