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By: Frode Jensen

According to an article in the Washington Post on October 11, 2006, cursive writing is on its way out. Handwritten exams were required on the SAT exams for the class of 2006; of the million and a half students who wrote essays, only 15% wrote in cursive; the rest printed even though printing is slower than writing.

The students don't seem to care since most work turned in is typed. Up until the 1970's, learning cursive was a separate course that received as much as two hours per week class time. Then it was standard fare through grade 6. Today it's maybe ten minutes a day or less through about the third grade. So it seems most of the teachers don't care either.

Some scholars and academics are unhappy about the loss of beauty and individuality that handwriting displays. A few historical researchers talk about handwritten items and authenticity. Those reasons are nice, but they aren't convincing many people that the loss of handwriting is something to lament.

However, academics specializing in writing acquisition argue that it's important cognitively. They point to research showing children without proficient handwriting skills produce simpler, shorter compositions, from the earliest grades. Several academic studies have found that good handwriting skills at a young age can help children express their thoughts better -- a lifelong benefit.

Now here's the interesting fact: according to the College Board, the SAT essays written in cursive had slightly higher average scores than those written in print.

To see more on cursive writing click here.

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