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Cambridge considers typed exams as handwriting worsens

The Guardian – Mattha Busby

The increasing illegibility of students’ handwriting has prompted Cambridge University to consider ending 800 years of tradition by allowing laptops to replace pen and paper for exams. Academics say that students are losing the ability to write by hand en masse because of their reliance on laptops in lectures and elsewhere. Sarah Pearsall, a senior lecturer at Cambridge’s history faculty, said: “Fifteen or 20 years ago, students routinely wrote by hand several hours a day, but now they write virtually nothing by hand except exams.”(more)

Later literacy success hinges on early handwriting lessons

Medical X-Press – Pepita Smyth

“A new study has shown the far-reaching implications of handwriting skills in early childhood. In an Australian first, Murdoch University researchers Dr Anabela Malpique, Dr Deborah Pino-Pasternak and PhD Candidate Debora Valcan examined the handwriting abilities of children prior to starting Year 1. “Writing is a way of transforming and expressing ideas into language and we know that early handwriting automaticity, that is how effortlessly students can write letters, is a strong predictor of both writing fluency and quality,” Dr Malpique said.”(more)

A comeback for cursive? More states encouraging penmanship in school

The Christian Science Monitor – Gretel Kauffman

“Cursive, the art of penmanship cast aside in recent years as schools increasingly focus on keyboarding, may be getting a second act. Last year, Alabama and Louisiana became the latest of 14 states to pass laws requiring cursive proficiency in public schools. And in the fall, New York City Schools – the country’s largest school district, with 1.1 million students – encouraged teaching cursive to elementary school students. As we as a society find ourselves relying more and more on computers, cell phones, and other forms of technology to communicate and express ourselves, many educators have declared cursive an unnecessary skill. In 2010, most states adopted the Common Core curriculum standards, which don’t mention handwriting.”(more)

Keep Cursive Alive with Annual Cursive Writing Contest

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“In honor of National Handwriting Week, the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation’s Campaign for Cursive committee has announced its annual cursive writing contest for students in grades 1-6 to showcase their cursive writing skills. Submissions, which of course must be written in cursive, must answer one of the following three questions.”(more)

Arizona now requires cursive be taught in schools

WSBTV – Staff Writer

“Arizona has made some big decisions regarding state public school education standards as they relate to the federal guidelines of Common Core. It’s being called Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. Among the headline changes are that the state will require public schools to teach students cursive. Students will have to learn print and cursive. For the latter, students will be taught cursive through fifth grade. By third grade, students must be able to read and write cursive in upper and lower case, according to KPHO.”(more)

Swiping on tablets is harming children’s ability to write – parents must limit time on gadgets

The Telegraph – Shirley Shayler

“Small children have always loved buttons they can press and knobs they can twiddle, so it’s no surprise that they’ve taken to playing on tablets as quickly as ducks take to water. All to the good, you might say, but I would urge parents to be vigilant in ensuring that high-tech gadgets don’t entirely supersede traditional and much loved pre-school activities such as drawing, painting and cutting out. Far from being a sentimental plea, my appeal stems from a serious concern that today’s children are less dexterous when they start school, with poorer fine motor skills than was the case a decade ago, which is a drawback for their learning of handwriting.”(more)