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Cursive vs Print - which should I start with?


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#1 Southern Ivy

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 09:00 AM

My daughter's OT and I were talking about handwriting and I mentioned that I was trying to decide between doing cursive or print. He said that he strongly encourages print first so kids understand letter formation, but I've read the very strong reasons for teaching cursive first. 

I know I can find all these answers on the other boards, but I'm specifically interested in your take since our kids change the equation on us.  ;) So, what says the Hive? What did you do? 

***Dd tested well with fine motor skills. However she does have problems crossing the midline which I'm sure goes back to her ATNR retained reflex. The rest of our OT time is dealing with sensory issues. 



#2 Sandwalker

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 09:05 AM

I liked Handwriting Without Tears for my writing-hating ds. It easily transitions from print to a nice script with a few alterations..

ETA I see this is the special needs board, so I'll add that ds has visual difficulties that made it a challenge to read and write as a child. He's an adult now and does most of his writing on computer.

Edited by Sandwalker, 07 October 2017 - 09:09 AM.

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#3 Lecka

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 10:19 AM

If print is going to help with letter recognition for reading, I advocate print.

If the child already recognizes letters then I don't think that is an issue.

I have a kid who took some time learning the difference between print and typed a and g (was it g?).

I don't think cursive would have been good for him to start with for that reason.

For a lot of kids I don't think it will matter.

I don't know if the OT meant that by letter formation; or meant consistently writing letters the same way and in a sensible way. But there is letter formation for cursive, too.

If you are looking to teach/reinforce letters and letter sounds for reading though -- I think if you worked on matching cursive and print (really typed) letters and your child picks it up really easy, and easily connects them, then I wouldn't worry.

If you see it is harder or there are mistakes -- then I would prioritize reading and what will make reading easier, and that would probably be print.

I think it will depend, though.

A lot of cursive-first arguments seem to assume that it will be easy for kids to switch between types and cursive letters, though; and while for some kids that is no problem, there are kids where it is just one more thing to add confusion.

Edit: I really think reading comes first and then for handwriting it can be a little later development, and I think there can be a decision to switch to print or cursive and it won't be such a huge deal, because the letter formations are a bit similar between the two.

My older son started with print and then did a cursive program in OT to help him with letter formation ----- and it was good.

But he was older.

When he was younger reading was more of a priority.

It was okay he started with print even though he did an OT program with cursive later.

Anyway ---- I think honestly -- you can probably go either way.

Especially if reading is going well!

Edited by Lecka, 07 October 2017 - 10:22 AM.

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#4 Lecka

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 10:32 AM

What I really mean -- I think overall it is a manufactured controversy. Sure there are little things on either side.

But I don't think it is a game-changer.

I also didn't see purported benefits of cursive with my son, so that is part of it for me. He didn't magically stop having certain handwriting issues with cursive.

And overall I think it is too confusing for him to try to read and write in cursive when he struggles to match them up. He is going to need to type anyway, realistically. Realistically cursive isn't going to make him able to make handwritten notes.

And I think it is going to be okay starting with either one.... I think it is something where after 2-3 years it won't matter which you started with.

So I think you can do what you prefer!

I glanced in a book and it is typed g that looks different from printed g (also a but a was easier for some reason). If you have used reading materials yet that have typed letters instead of a printed/written font (for a and g mainly) then you will already know if she can't recognize a typed g as a g.

But the OT has probably seen kids struggle with that in her career.

Just my opinion!

Edited by Lecka, 07 October 2017 - 10:33 AM.

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#5 Lecka

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 10:39 AM

Okay -- yes, I took my son to OT. I did the things. Handwriting has a place.

But I am super-cynical about brain benefits of writing things out. Some kids have a hard time with handwriting, they aren't just stunted by not writing things out by hand. It is a weird premise in a lot of ways.

Sure it is good when it does help kids. But it gets very dogmatic. And I promise cursive doesn't solve every problem.

But with the cynical side done, I think pick what you like :)

If your OT has a preference then there are benefits if convenience to use a program the OT is familiar with and can supplement etc, and that is a consideration I think.
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#6 Southern Ivy

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 11:10 AM

If print is going to help with letter recognition for reading, I advocate print.

I think you just made the decision for me. Dd struggles a lot with her letters and I've been really struggling with print or cursive. 


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#7 OrganicJen

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 11:19 AM

I went back and forth over this a lot and what I finally decided was that it seems that in general either way is fine and you won't ruin anything either way so I would say to go with your personal preference. I just couldn't find strong enough evidence on either side to convince me that I'd be making a mistake either way.
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#8 Heathermomster

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 11:59 AM

I prefer a font that easily transitions from manuscript to cursive. I used NAC with my DD. I'm also impressed with LOE handwriting materials.

Edited by Heathermomster, 08 October 2017 - 10:01 AM.

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#9 Lecka

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 12:37 PM

You can work on letter formation without pencil and paper, too, it can be easier.

Multisensory is really good for letter formation.

But here is what is frustrating....

For early reading; letter recognition; letter sounds.... if you ever start with just a few letters at a time (or back down to fewer letters) and then add letters a little at a time.... then they will pick letters some way (easiest to tell the sounds apart; easier to form a lot of words from a few letters; other method).

Well -- for a beginning handwriting if they start with some method that makes the most sense for letter formation and doing letters with the same letter formation together, or whatever method....

It won't be the same order of letters.

So if you are trying to use letter formation and writing/practicing (with multisensory methods) to practice the letters for helping to learn the letter sounds and recognize letters..... it won't line up with a reading program, probably.

If kids just easily pick up letter sounds as they learn to write letters -- no problem.

If you end up spending lots of time on letter sounds and letter recognition, and come to letters that are earlier in a handwriting program, because that is what makes within the handwriting program's methodology ---- it is just ---- they don't line up.

So it isn't the end of the world, but I think it can be too much to do a handwriting program working on letters that aren't super-introduced in the reading program.

It's just irritating they don't line up if you slow down on letter sounds and then the handwriting has you doing letters that come later in the reading program.

I think that doesn't come up for kids who learn the letters faster.

#10 Heathermomster

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 02:21 PM

Lecka makes an excellent point. You can teach the letters as you teach phonics. Use shaving cream, wet sponge, sand, and large arm movements to map the sounds to the letters.

LOE sells raised letter cards. Explicit letter formation instructions are written on the back of the cards.

https://www.logicofe...ript-or-cursive

You can also incorporate midline exercises into your daily routine. The OT can provide exercise info for homework.

Edited by Heathermomster, 08 October 2017 - 10:02 AM.


#11 OhElizabeth

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 11:06 AM

With my ds I started with cursive and she spent the whole time wanting to print. With my ds I started with print and he has spent each day saying he wants to learn cursive. So you're not likely to win, whatever you do, lol. So I bought into the "this will be better" arguments, and I really think they were nitpicky. Kids who struggle, struggle, irrespective of what you start with. If you choose and it's not going well, switch.

 

The argument over a manuscript that adds swings for cursive is a good one. If you were teaching a totally typical dc, you would consider the historical trend of traditional cursive being faster, blah blah. But reality is most people write a mixture and reality is many of the kids on this board will have trouble no matter how they're taught. Cursive would not magically enable my ds to write sentences.

 

You realize we've also had people here sharing that they stopped working on handwriting completely (because the dc was diagnosed with SLDs, because tech was more pragmatic) and the dc somehow took care of it themselves?  :lol: So you could decide not to teach it at all. I'm not saying you should, just that some kids are going to do what they're going to do. The kid may drive it. My ds has driven his handwriting acquisition. He just didn't seem to need it, then all of a sudden he wanted it. There's sort of a common sense to it.

 

Stress over important things, like whether you're making enough cookies. Don't stress over which handwriting approach you use. It will probably be wrong, no matter what you do, and you'll figure it out and the kid will be fine anyway. But without enough cookies, well life won't be fine without enough cookies. Allow yourself to make some mistakes and just try things. :)


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#12 Southern Ivy

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 05:43 PM

With my ds I started with cursive and she spent the whole time wanting to print. With my ds I started with print and he has spent each day saying he wants to learn cursive. So you're not likely to win, whatever you do, lol. So I bought into the "this will be better" arguments, and I really think they were nitpicky. Kids who struggle, struggle, irrespective of what you start with. If you choose and it's not going well, switch.

 

The argument over a manuscript that adds swings for cursive is a good one. If you were teaching a totally typical dc, you would consider the historical trend of traditional cursive being faster, blah blah. But reality is most people write a mixture and reality is many of the kids on this board will have trouble no matter how they're taught. Cursive would not magically enable my ds to write sentences.

 

You realize we've also had people here sharing that they stopped working on handwriting completely (because the dc was diagnosed with SLDs, because tech was more pragmatic) and the dc somehow took care of it themselves?  :lol: So you could decide not to teach it at all. I'm not saying you should, just that some kids are going to do what they're going to do. The kid may drive it. My ds has driven his handwriting acquisition. He just didn't seem to need it, then all of a sudden he wanted it. There's sort of a common sense to it.

 

Stress over important things, like whether you're making enough cookies. Don't stress over which handwriting approach you use. It will probably be wrong, no matter what you do, and you'll figure it out and the kid will be fine anyway. But without enough cookies, well life won't be fine without enough cookies. Allow yourself to make some mistakes and just try things. :)

Very good point. My sister and I talked a lot this weekend. She reminded me that I need to stop second guessing myself and go with my gut. 
I'm getting there...slowly but surely. 


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