Writing in Cursive: Skill Lost on America's Youth?

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In the last six months, Americans have sent 1 trillion text messages. That's why some schools say there's no longer a need to teach students how to write in cursive.

However, some schools argue there's no substitute for a good old-fashioned John Hancock signature.

Fifty-six delegates to the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The most recognizable signature on the document is John Hancock's. To this day, he is remembered for his large and stylish signature.

Fast forward some 230 years later to the days of emails, texts and tweets. Now, some schools like Stober Elementary School near Denver, Colo., have stopped teaching cursive.

Cheryl Jones, a school administrator in Augusta, Ga., also tried to remove cursive from her curriculum, but the local school board refused.

"They're texting and playing games. They are using technology that we have," Jones said.

Forty-one states have adopted new standards that replace cursive with keyboarding, and many kids like the change.

"Texting is my life," one student said.

"Texting is more fun," another added.

"I just like the feel of my fingers pressing on all of the keys," said another student.

But some schools, like Atlantic Shores Christian School in Virginia Beach, Va., say there's no substitute for teaching cursive.

"Nowadays, if you want to fill out a legal document you have to know how to sign your name in cursive. Plus those fine motor skills need to be developed," said Jenny Sorey, a second grade teacher at the school.

Even Sorey's second graders can tell you why they think writing in cursive is still important.

"It teaches you how to get more muscles in your hand," a student named Joshua said.

"Because it's fun. Because you get to do different symbols than normal," said A.J., a second grader.

So is teaching cursive still relevant? That's a question every parent needs to think about.

Otherwise, America could be raising up a generation with no signatures.

--Originally aired June 17, 2011

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