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Typing threatens kids? orthgraphy

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 13:58 IST
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A recent study conducted in the US has shown that the computer revolution is posing a threat to the survival of writing, which is an integral part of children’s education.

The research reveals that five out of six pupils leave school because they find mastering the skill of writing, which is technically known as cursive writing, extremely difficult.

It also shows that the majority of students print their words, while some resort to writing in block letters.

The study involved an analysis of the essays of 1.5 million 16-17 year-old students who were sitting their SATs, the equivalent of the first year of A-levels in the UK, in 2005. The researchers found that only 15 per cent of the pupils wrote in joined-up writing.

"There has certainly been deterioration in the standard of handwriting of children in this country," the Telegraph quoted Suzanne Tiburtius, the information officer for the National Handwriting Association, as saying.

"Unfortunately, there are some teachers who argue that handwriting skills are now no longer necessary because soon 'everybody will be doing everything on the computer'. The result of this neglect is dire. Many children never learn joined writing at all and continue to use print script like young children, well into their adult lives," the former primary school teacher said.

Rhona Stainthorp, the professor of literacy at the Institute of Education at University College London (UCL), believes that students should master the skill of writing, else their education achievements will be reduced, and their self esteem will be affected.

"Handwriting has become the Cinderella skill of literacy. Unless children learn to write legibly and at speed, their educational achievements may be reduced and their self-esteem affected,” she said.

"Handwriting is a skill and needs to be taught to a level where it flows automatically. If children write slowly, as happens with print and block, it can affect their performance and grades as they can't get all the information down in time," she added.

The Government has admitted that only 59 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls have reached the level expected of them in handwriting tests at the age of 11.

The National Literacy Strategy has recommended that the primary schoolchildren spend 20 minutes each day practising handwriting with a view to overcome the problem.

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