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Zaner-Bloser Continuous Stroke not so continuous

zaner-bloser writing curriculum manuscript continous stroke

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#1 LolaT

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 02:44 PM

I recently made the decision to home school my daughter who will be ready for K (or probably 1st grade) in the fall.

After reading the WTM, I ordered the Zaner-Bloser K Handwriting Student Workbook because it states that it uses the

"... continuous-stroke alphabet. In traditional ball-and-stick writing, she draws a circle, picks up her pencil, and then connects a line to the circle. In the continuous-stroke alphabet, the letter is written in one motion."


I'm not seeing the continuous stroke method anywhere in the workbook. The back of the book has a page with numbers and arrows indicating where to begin each stroke and the next stroke. I called Zaner-Bloser to make sure there wasn't another series of workbooks to rule out the possibility that I got the wrong one. I didn't. They only have one method. The representative told me she didn't even know why they used the terminology "continuous-stroke" because it really isn't the way it works.

I'm confused as to why this resource for teaching writing was described and recommended on this basis in the WTM. I'm starting to wonder on the value of some of the other recommended resourses. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thank you.

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#2 fairytalemama

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 03:04 PM

I think what they meant in WTM about Zaner Bloser is that it's not the ball and stick of our childhood. I remember being taught to write a lower case B as drawing a line like a lowercase L, lifting, and then smushing a circle up against it. It has a bit more of a flow to it now.

I don't think you're going to find any handwriting program where you don't have to lift the pencil at least at some point during the formation of a letter. If you're looking for something else, I can recommend Getty Dubay Italics. We chose it for aesthetic beauty and legibility.

I know a lot of people like HWT too, but I personally didn't find the upright formation of the letters very attractive.

Not every recommendation in WTM is going to fit every person. I look at it as a buffet. I pick what I like and leave what I don't.

#3 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 03:13 PM

There is not as much lifting of the pencil as in traditional methods. For example, the child does not lift their pencil in order to make a capital letter G.

#4 FairProspects

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 03:23 PM

I actually think D'Nealian might be closest to continuous stroke. At the very least it is touted to be the easiest for transition to cursive. None of them worked for my ds except HWOT, and despite how it looks, I decided I rather have him writing something, even if it wasn't in my desired choice of font.

#5 Cadam

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 03:32 PM

The rep you got from ZB just didn't know what she was talking about. Continuous- stroke does not mean that the motion continues from one letter to the next (like cursive), rather, it means that you rarely pick up your pencil within a letter.

Take the lowercase "b" for example. Using the ball-and-stick method you would start at the top and draw a straight line down, then pick up your pencil, fin the middle of the line and draw the round part of the "b". If you were using ZB you would start at the top and draw that same line but then you would change directions and retrace your line to the middle (never lifting your pencil) before making the round part. Thus your stroke is continuos because you never lifted your pencil to create the "b". - make sense?

#6 VBoulden

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 04:00 PM

I am just finishing up Zanier Bloser Manuscript- K with my daughter (five). When we started the book a little over a year ago and I quickly noticed the same thing as you. I thought the stroke would be a little more "continuous" just because it was described in The Well Trained Mind as, well... continuous. ;) But, I think it is alot more continuous because of reasons that other ladies described above. When I learned to print, I wrote a little b by making a line, picking up my pencil, and making a loop. My daughter makes a line, bounces back up and makes the loop. It's one stroke, not two strokes. I think that's about as continuous as printing gets. :001_smile:

#7 LolaT

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 10:13 PM

Thank you for all the responses. I guess I just didn't understand very well what was meant by continuous-stroke. I don't see how you can possibly print all the letters with one stroke anyway. But what I really didn't understand was the ball and stick method as being any different from Zaner-Bloser. I don't think I was taught the ball and stick method so I just didn't see the difference

(I don't recall how it was I learned to print. My father taught me cursif at home as I was to ill to go to Kindergarten. Later in school I remember being told I couldn't write this way because cursif hadn't been taught yet. So I probably learned to print by force in some kind of self taught manner).

Anyway, I think we're on the right path then, thanks to all your great explanations. And I plan to look into those other suggested resources as well just to consider all the choices out there. Since I'm just starting out at this, I supposed there's a bit of trial and error even after spending time researching and evaluating curriculums/materials. I have found the WTM helpful in choosing the math curriculum, RightStart which I'm quite happy with so far and still not sure with The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading as a good fit for my daughter. So I may be asking for more advise as we go on. Thank you.

#8 kalanamak

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 11:04 PM


Anyway, I think we're on the right path then, thanks to all your great explanations. And I plan to look into those other suggested resources as well just to consider all the choices out there. .


ZB also has a website you can print out extra practice pages that YOU make. I used to have him copy the names of Egyptian pharoahs, e.g, and his name and address. Now I have him to spelling words he misses regularly.
I appreciated I could print out smaller lines with 1st grader words spelling words. For some reason, kiddo printed small better than large.

#9 Aggiemom03

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:49 AM

I had the same question getting ready for kindergarten, so thank you all for the great responses! I think i understand now :)

#10 tarana

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:50 PM

Take a look at http://www.donnayoun...ve-capitals.htm
The webpage shows how you you connect up some of the Capitals in ZB.

#11 LolaT

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:34 PM

We ended up going with the D'Naelian manuscript. I chose it mainly because I thought it would make the transition to cursive more natural in a couple of years and because it really does use more continuous strokes, as in -without lifting the pencil, to form the letters compared to Zaner-Bloser. I feel this is a more natural way of writing. It flows easier and faster.

Although I was concerned my daughter would have trouble with the pencil and I had considered Writing Without Tears, we've been using the D'Naelian Kindergarten workbook for about six weeks now and she's doing pretty well. She can remember how to form the letters fairly well. She forgets the slant when she's working out of the workbook but it's not too important at this stage and we'll work more on size, shape and slant in the 1st Gradel Level workbook.


I did think the Zaner-Bloser online templates where a nice convenience for copy work, but since we can't use that, we are using the D'Nealian Kindergarten Workbook (Pearson $11.97 + ship). I also use the plain colored lined paper in the appropriate line height from DonnaYoung.org. (BTW, I think the post above refers to cursive rather than print). There are also many free online resources that use a similar font called modern script. My favorite is Starfall.com which has phonics based online instruction with books and worksheet. You can even print the entire Level 1 workbook that corresponds with the program books in ZB or D'Naelian print.

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#12 ckalliman

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 09:20 AM

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Edited by ckalliman, 05 August 2012 - 09:44 AM.




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