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October 12, 2006

The Cursive Fallout

American SAT exams for the class of 2006 had a handwritten component. The ratio of test-takers who chose printing their essays to writing in cursive was staggering. A full 85% printed their essays in block letters. That leaves just 15% who wrote in cursive: a writing style that would appear to be quickly falling out of favor.

Students in American schools are receiving less than ten minutes per day in handwriting instruction. As a direct result, more students are having difficulty both reading and producing cursive handwriting. In the days of keyboard lessons for children as young as four years old, this is an unintended but very real by-product.

"Many educators shrug. Stacked up against teaching technology, foreign languages and the material on standardized tests, penmanship instruction seems a relic, teachers across the region say. But academics who specialize in writing acquisition argue that it's important cognitively, pointing to research that shows children without proficient handwriting skills produce simpler, shorter compositions, from the earliest grades."

Read the full article at MSNBC
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