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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)

Handwriting is dying a slow death

PRI – Adriana Gallina

“Anne Trubek, author of “The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting,” seems to think our culture is heading in that direction. “The digital revolution is both launching us into a no-handwriting future, and also sending us backwards in time to when the spoken word ruled,” she says. But, she adds, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “I don’t think kids should be assessed on their ability to master cursive,” Trubek says. “It’s not something that they are going to use much in their lives as they grow older. It’s not something most of us adults use in [our] lives today.” She suggests that schools offer handwriting or cursive as an elective or art class in the future. Trubek argues that content is more important than the medium of the writing itself. “Focus on how to teach kids to express their ideas, how to organize their thoughts, how to make arguments” she says. “The forming of the letters are less important. And there are certainly many ways to individualize what you write beyond the way you’ve circled the ‘I’ or crossed your ‘T.’” But many studies show students absorb information better when they write their notes than when they type them.”(more)

Once all but left for dead, is cursive handwriting making a comeback?

The Washington Post – Joe Heim

“Cursive writing was supposed to be dead by now. Schools would stop teaching it. Kids would stop learning it. Everyone would stop using it. The Common Core standards adopted by most states in recent years no longer required teaching cursive in public schools, and the widespread reaction was succinct: good riddance. But like Madonna and newspapers, cursive has displayed a gritty staying power, refusing to have its loop de loops and curlicues swept to the dustbin of handwriting history. Just last month, Louisiana passed a law requiring that all traditional public schools and public charter schools begin teaching cursive by third grade and continue through 12th grade. Arkansas legislators passed a law mandating cursive instruction last year. And 10 other states, including Virginia, California, Florida and Texas, have cursive writing requirements in their state education standards.”(more)

Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age

The New York Times – Perri Klass, M.D.

“Do children in a keyboard world need to learn old-fashioned handwriting? There is a tendency to dismiss handwriting as a nonessential skill, even though researchers have warned that learning to write may be the key to, well, learning to write. And beyond the emotional connection adults may feel to the way we learned to write, there is a growing body of research on what the normally developing brain learns by forming letters on the page, in printed or manuscript format as well as in cursive. In an article this year in The Journal of Learning Disabilities, researchers looked at how oral and written language related to attention and what are called “executive function” skills (like planning) in children in grades four through nine, both with and without learning disabilities. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington and the lead author on the study, told me that evidence from this and other studies suggests that “handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.'”(more)

Does Losing Handwriting In School Mean Losing Other Skills Too?

KQED News Mind/Shift – Staff Writer

“As laptops and tablets become more commonly used as writing tools, many are ready to leave the skill of handwriting behind. Most students will do most of their writing on computers, the thinking goes, so educators should get them started on keyboarding skills early. But psychologist are uncovering some unexpected benefits of learning — not just to write, but to write by hand. In her New York Times article Maria Konnikova explains some of the newest research.”(more)

The old-school skill that every kid should learn if they want to be smarter

Business Insider – Minda Zetlin, Inc.

“If you have kids in school, how much time do they spend learning cursive handwriting? Probably not much, especially if they’re beyond first grade. The Common Core standards dominating education these days only call for teaching legible handwriting, and only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, students spend their time learning to use keyboards. That might seem like a good thing…But a growing body of scientific evidence seems to show that the all the older people lamenting the death of penmanship are on to something. Whether or not they actually do much writing by hand in later life, learning to write by hand and do it well — in cursive as well as print — has measurable benefits for kids’ brains. Here are just a few:”(more)