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Starting cursive


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I have, in the past, stated that I won't be teaching my kids cursive formally. However, due to some threads here (and talking with a friend of mine) I started thinking about and reading about cursive instruction, and I am now captivated by New American Cursive from Memoria Press.

 

My six year old son has atrocious handwriting (which is probably not so unusual) and has a very hard time remembering how to form letters correctly. I've read some things that state that starting cursive in first grade can help kids achieve better handwriting with less effort.

 

I'm intrigued. I'm almost willing to try it. But ... does this mean abandoning manuscript? How will my son learn to print if we switch to cursive? I never write in cursive; I don't want to leave my son only able to write in cursive.

 

Can I get some opinions from people who have bt/dt or who are tn/din (there now, doing it now)?

 

Tara

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Personally, I really don't think you NEED to learn to print. I never did and I print just fine. You see print everywhere - the kids will know it. You don't, however, see cursive everywhere. In other words if you don't teach it they will not be able to even read it.

 

My suggestions would be:

 

1. Teach print and some cursive (enough so that the kids can read it and sign their name; more if they like it)

2. Teach cursive only (They will know what print looks like because they will read it all the time anyway)

 

I wish I had gone with 2, but because we started with print it is number 1.

 

Susie

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Yes, that is what I was trying to say, but didn't type well. I meant it is probably ok to put off the print, and go with cursive. I was thinking of the way that my grandfather learned to print.. when he needed to, on the job. If you didn't want to just put it off indefinitely, you could go w/cursive for now, and pick printing back up at some later time.

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I'd wait until 3rd grade to start cursive, after printing is established and fine motor skills are more developed. As a student, he will need to either print very fast (which can lead to sloppiness) or write in cursive (easier to write fast and stay neat) for college testing (SAT, ACT, etc. essays). It doesn't have to be now, tho. Reading in cursive is another useful skill.

 

Right now, I'd work on strengthening his visual perception skills and on his fine motor skills.

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I think it's important to know both, because we always have to fill out forms that say "Please print." :-) Also, many forms have tiny little boxes where you're supposed to write each letter of your name and address and whatnot. Maps are usually labled in manuscript.

 

But don't give up the cursive.

 

Spalding teaches manuscript first, and once the dc have pretty much mastered that (which doesn't take all that long), they learn connected writing; that's just the manuscript letters connected with strokes (just a couple of letters, like b and f, change their forms a little).

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When he is not rushing and really puts in some effort, ds8 has nice handwriting. Unfortunately, the flavor of the day, everyday, is to just hurry up and write it down no matter how sloppy it is. I've even noticed lately that he writes some things backwards....not backwards in the final product, but backwards in putting pencil to paper, for example when he writes the number 5 he writes it from the bottom up if that makes sense. :tongue_smilie:

 

We use HWT Cursive Writing along with their lined paper. Since beginning cursive writing I have found that his cursive penmanship is FAR BETTER than his manuscript penmanship. He's picking it up easily and enjoys it. He's anxious to move quickly through the lessons so he can learn how to form all of the letters so he can start writing in cursive exclusively. We're not rushing the subjects, but I'm okay with him switching to cursive over manuscript because the HWT program states that successful cursive writing can help correct poor manuscript writing. So for us, since it's working out well so far it's worth making the switch. And once he starts writing in cursive exclusively, I'll still have him practice manuscript writing here and there just to see if there are any improvements.

 

Not sure if that helped you, but perhaps you should give cursive a whirl and see if there's a difference in penmanship overall. If there is, you might want to go ahead and encourage cursive writing for now and hopefully that will help to correct some of his manuscript problems. Good luck!

 

krw

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