Why this discussion? There have been a couple of "articles" purporting that teaching handwriting has a positive effect on reading. Here is one such article citing research to show handwriting lessons are important: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/science/whats-lost-as-handwriting-fades.html?_r=0. While I do not wish to denigrate the different fields of research, what I want to seer is a controlled experimental study that indicates superior reading when one group gets instruction in handwriting and the other group does not. What I see instead are psychologists and neuroscientist studies that talk about what part of the brain lights up when making letters. I want to see a study that says taking time to teach cursive improves one's reading comprehension. I think teaching cursive is sort of like teaching phonics in isolation. Take a sound and practice making it by itself (buh-buh-buh) instead of reading a story about bouncing baby bunnies. Making swoops and circles and other pieces of a letter IMHO is the same.
Yes, teach kids the alphabet. Have them write their names, words, etc. But let's not focus on this as an end but rather a means. For someone who was schooled for a long time in proper Palmer Method, my handwriting is fairly awful. I can almost see Sr. Ann Marie wincing from heaven as she sees me scrawl my name using all lower case letters. But I hope at the same time that she is smiling because of all the writing and reading I am doing.