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Students Compete To See Who Has The Best Cursive Writing

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When was the last time you ever wrote a note or a letter by hand in cursive? Well, some students are not only practicing that. They're competing in it.

ANVITA RAYABARAPU: I am a National Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Contest seventh grade winner.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

That's 12-year-old Anvita Rayabarapu, a student at Pleasant Ridge Middle School in Overland Park, Kan. She says handwriting is still an important way to communicate.

ANVITA: It helps you like, think and learn more efficiently and I think personally enhances my creativity.

INSKEEP: The Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Competition has been going on for 30 years, 30 years in which handwriting has come to seem a lot less important to a lot of people. The competition is open to students from public and private schools, kindergarten through the eighth grade. And to make things fair, everybody writes the exact same sentence.

LISA CARMONA: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog because that sentence contains every letter of the alphabet.

MARTIN: Lisa Carmona is the president of Zaner-Bloser, the education company that runs the contest.

CARMONA: The handwriting contest inspires students to do their best work, and it really celebrates that academic achievement and the students' persistence and practice and all of those things.

MARTIN: Students who win the national competition take home a trophy and $500.

INSKEEP: But for students like Anvita, it's about more than the prizes.

ANVITA: It feels like an honor when you write in cursive because it's like an ancient type of writing. So it's really nice. And I think everyone should be able to write and learn cursive.

(SOUNDBITE OF DORENA'S "HER COMFORTING TOUCH") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.