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Goodbye Pencil, Hello Keyboard (Grades 11-12)

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Goodbye Pencil, Hello Keyboard

Goodbye Pencil, Hello Keyboard

Look around a modern day classroom today and you will certainly note many changes from the classrooms of the past. Overhead projectors and chalkboards have been replaced; desks rarely feature a piece of paper, but rather sport a computer monitor. In addition, the days of taking notes, filling out tests, and writing reports with a pen or pencil in hand is utterly obsolete, exchanged for keyboards.

In more than 40 states throughout the country, cursive writing and penmanship are no longer considered an essential part of the curriculum, and none of the major standardized tests require any type of handwriting. Instead, keyboarding skills have taken precedence. The ability to form clear curves and loops on the paper is now outdated; the ability to avoid the painfully slow “hunting and pecking” and type at least 50 words per minute has taken precedence.

The age-old tradition of handwriting is not going quietly in some parts of the nation as at least four states have gone to their legislatures with bills mandating instruction in cursive writing in public schools. Advocates of keeping penmanship skills as part of a curriculum point to a plethora of evidence to support their stance. According to their studies, handwriting training helps young students develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and even improve overall memory retention. Additional studies have indicated that students who wrote by hand not only wrote faster than on a standard keyboard, but also wrote higher quality sentences.

Opponents to cursive in the classroom, however, point out that today’s generations of students have been keyboarding since before they attended kindergarten. This form of communication is part of how their brains operate, and many find the feel of a pen or pencil in their hands uncomfortable, unwieldy, and generally unpleasant. Keyboarding is quicker, freeing up precious time to work on other projects, and is, inarguably, the preferred communication method of the modern student.
1. 
What factor do these two viewpoints have in common?
  1. Cursive is no longer needed in today’s classroom.
  2. Penmanship is not as important as keyboarding.
  3. Handwriting is a skill that is not as popular as in the past.
  4. Writing by hand is much faster than using a computer keyboard.
2. 
Which statement about schools is the most accurate?
  1. They only require handwriting on standardized tests.
  2. They rely primarily on computers rather than on paper.
  3. They have reduced how much time they spend in cursive instruction.
  4. They have removed all handwriting lessons from their curriculum.
3. 
What do advocates of keyboarding list as one of their main reasons?
  1. Improving state test scores
  2. Writing higher quality sentences
  3. Encouraging higher memory retention
  4. Saving time for other school projects
4. 
Less than half of the states in the U.S have stopped teaching cursive as part of their curriculum.
  1. True
  2. False
5. 
Four states have gone to the state legislatures to ask them to                                                handwriting lessons in school.
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