Several years ago, Pattie Gray’s young granddaughter expressed an interest in learning how to write in cursive.
So Gray, a former teacher, decided to teach her. Word quickly spread.
“The next thing I know, my inbox is overflowing with people wanting to know if I’d teach their kid cursive,” Gray said.
For the past three years, Gray has opened her Westfield home for weeklong camps to help children learn to write in cursive. This year, the camp will be offered June 6 to 10 and June 13 to 17. Students can sign up for sessions running from 10 a.m. to noon or 2 to 4 p.m. The camp is limited to six students per session, and participants must have completed second grade.
Sessions begin with an icebreaker activity before moving to instructional time in a classroom setting. Students practice writing and reading every letter in cursive, both upper and lower case. On Thursday, they write a letter and address an envelope in cursive.
“We send those letters off,” Gray said. “The coolest part is when they receive a letter back and it’s in cursive. They’ll send me copies, and my heart just lights up.”
Campers end the week by practicing their new skill in Gray’s sunroom. She covers the windows in shaving cream and has the students write cursive letters in the foam.
Gray, who previously taught third grade in Carmel Clay Schools and now works with student teachers at Butler University, said educators often don’t spend much – if any – time teaching cursive because it’s not a requirement and they have many state-mandated subjects to cover.
Although technology has replaced many forms of written communication, Gray said writing in cursive is still a useful skill when filling out documents that require a signature or for taking notes quickly.
She said she’s also seen it as a valuable tool for some students with disabilities she’s tutored, as some struggle with gripping a writing utensil and find it difficult to pick it up between each letter while printing. She said they benefit from the flow of cursive.
“It’s like this whole world has opened up to them,” Gray said. “I see them brighten up. It’s not like it’s a challenge or a chore anymore. It’s something they really enjoy, and it lifts one of the burdens off their backs.”
Learn more about the camp and register by emailing Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.