DANBURY, Conn. -- Interested in reading the original document for the Declaration of Independence? What about a letter written by an 18th-century Danburian?
To be able to read both of these, you need to know cursive writing.
The Danbury Museum & Historical Society is hosting a cursive writing camp, which has been meeting every morning this week, to teach children how to read and write cursive.
"So many of our students don't read and write cursive anymore in school," according to Brigid Guertin, director of the Danbury Museum & Historical Society. "Many documents from the past such as postcards, diaries, deeds, letters and city records are written in cursive. From the end of the 15th century through the 1950s, Danburians used cursive in their everyday lives.
"How do you read, understand and interpret historic documents unless you know cursive writing?" said Guertin, of Danbury.
About 20 children of varying ages are taking the class, which cost $25 each. The expenses are supplemented by the Danbury Museum & Historical Society.
The class is taught by two teachers from the Western Connecticut Academy for International Studies in Danbury.
In the class, students make ink out of strawberries and blueberries. They learn about quill pens and how to turn a quill feather into a writing instrument. They also write on slates with chalk, which is what students used to write on in one-room schoolhouses in Danbury, according to Guertin.
Nine-year-old Peter Chinga said he enjoys the class. "Some of the letters I learned to write in script are A, D, G, Q, C and I," he said.
Matthew Guertin, who is 10, said, "The funnest part is using shaving cream for tracing. We use our fingers to trace the letters."
Matthew said he thinks the hardest letter of the alphabet to write in script is 'Q" because "when I learned 'G,' I was used to making the lines go left but now I have to transition to making the lines go right."
Julia Wiblishauser, 12, said she took the class "because I never learned it in school. I really want to learn to write in script. You can't read anything written before 1950 without knowing script."
"The cost of the program meets our mission to promote and preserve the past as well as to provide useful skills that we can use in the present. We hope to expand up the class next summer," Guertin said.
Matthew's 6-year-old brother, Adam, said he thinks the class is a great idea because "script is another way of making words and words are so important."
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