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talk to me about cursive vs. manuscript

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I started cursive with DD when she was in 1st grade. She learned it very quickly and has beautiful handwriting. I did it because I used Abeka and that is what they use. They have a brochure that talks about why cursive first and it made sense to me. My older DS learned cursive in kindergarten. I was very glad I went with that approach for him. It really help him from letter reversals with b and d, etc. He had enough problems with reading and number reversals in math. I have also heard that it helps them to learn that word are whole units more easily. DS now refuses to write in anything but cursive. The curving letters are easier for him to write; I think in part because he has fine motor delays.


All that said my youngest learned printing first and refuses to even try cursive other than writing his name. We had switched programs by the time he was in K, so he didn't start learning cursive until he was in 1st grade. One thing I regret is that I didn't do cursive in K with him alongside the printing he was learning. So right now it is something I have on my radar to work on this year, but not push. I love cursive and think it has many benefits, but it isn't everything.

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I started my 12yo ds with cursive, can't honestly say if there were or weren't any benefits.  All studies I've read pointed to cursive having benefits. Maybe you can check out this site http://peterson-handwriting.com/ it has a wealth of information, can be overwhelming.


I do have a 6yo ds who I started with printing.  I will eventually teach him cursive.  Maybe it's my mentality but there's just something about knowing how to write in cursive.  If I get resistance from him then I suppose I will adjust accordingly.  One thing for sure, he will at least know how to sign his name in cursive.  I can't imagine seeing his John Hancock in print.   :eek:



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I started my older dd with printing at 3yo, and then started cursive at 5.5yo.  At 8yo, she has very good cursive handwriting, but in printing, she still has problems with using all caps, spacing issues, and reversals.  I am certain that teaching her cursive was way easier than remediating those printing issues.  She is a very sensitive little girl, and the less I have to correct her the better.  Cursive automatically remediates those problems without having to directly instruct her on those issues.  


I started my ds5 with cursive last year.  Writing is a whole lot more difficult for him than it was for my dd8.  I had to make the steps much more incremental for him.  For certain, when you start out with a child that young, it is a lot easier to make a capital A with three straight lines than to make a lower case cursive A.  So you will get more immediate results if you start with manuscript.  But then you have a lot of work ahead of you to make their writing legible and presentable.  It took my ds's entire 4yo year to go through all the little steps from finger tracing to writing with pencil and paper.  And now that we have taken the summer off, we will need to do some review in the fall.  But by the time he is finished with K, he will be able to write using proper case, proper spacing and without those worrisome reversals, and we will be able to spend our time on things other than handwriting remediation.

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I think there are pros and cons to both methods.


I have chosen to teach cursive-first to all my adult remedial students, for better or worse, but am not unaware of the worse. Cursive-first is not all rosy. I have to severely limit the amount of writing expected for a long time, and that is challenging and deeply affects all my curriculum choices and teaching methods. I don't find cursive-first to lend itself well to modern scope and sequences.


I don't teach uppercase cursive. I just use uppercase manuscript, and this allows me to give the student some way to document before they are fluent in cursive writing. We work on map labeling, addressing envelopes, and short captions, but I don't want them to get used to writing sentences in all caps.


Early composition is oral, and some copywork and dictation of words they have been taught during handwriting/phonics instruction.


It's a real challenge for me to teach cursive-first. But I'm often dealing with students with brain injuries, developmental disabilities and mental illlnesses; I believe there is therapuetic benefit to a more flowing handwriting style, so I persevere for reasons other than aesthetics or an assumption of efficiency.

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Thanks ladies! That was very helpful!!

A kinder could start with Handwriting Without Tears/Cursive for 3rd graders. Very simple. I started my son on it. I'd also get the 1st grade (or 2nd) for printing. I'd show her how to make both, but do practice only with cursive. I would look at the new 2nd grade cursive book.... to see that would be better than the 3rd for her.  The letters in the cursive book aren't smaller than a regular manuscript book... Also.. get the Teacher's book. It's worth it. If I were doing it again, I might do an extra student book for each one, and after using it for the year... sell the extra student and Teacher book. It's kinda pricey shipping...  :)

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