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Cursive for handwriting struggles


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I have a 5th grade ds who struggles with handwriting. He has been taught Abeka cursive, but never uses it. His handwriting is slow, laborious and sloppy. (Spelling is rough too. That is another work on area.) I do suspect mild dyslexia and have been going on that assumption since K. I want to speed up and tidy up his handwriting, and get him to write easily in cursive. I have looked at Getty-Dubay Italic as well as Cursive Logic. Any thoughts on which one may help get to the goal of fluid, faster, tidier handwriting better?

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1) How often does he write and how much does he write at a time--a sentence? A few sentences? A paragraph?
2) Has there been improvement in his handwriting up til now?
3) Can you post a few samples of his writing?
4) What is the reason that you've never gotten an Eval or Diagnosis for a child you think may have a Learning Difference?
5) What kind of paper is he writing on?
6) What kind of pencils/pen is he writing with?

 

 

Edited by mom2bee
Questions 5+
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3 hours ago, countrymum said:

His handwriting is slow, laborious and sloppy. (Spelling is rough too. That is another work on area.) I do suspect mild dyslexia and have been going on that assumption since K.

I think difficulties in spelling and difficulties in writing cursive can go together.  I've read that effectively writing in cursive requires a person to be able to spell by syllables instead of spell by letter, and that's certainly been true in our experience.  And dyslexics are less likely to naturally develop those skills.  For us, difficulty in cursive uncovered some weaknesses that also affected reading and spelling.  And so I ended up teaching cursive in a way that helped remediate those weaknesses (which was way more intense than the usual approach). 

Our cursive program, Smithhand, taught by strokes, so after learning a given stroke and the letters which that stroke made possible, instead of moving to words (as the program did), I had us then learn all the phonograms those letters made possible.  Once we'd learned all the letters and phonograms, I moved to spelling our way through the phonics book, 2,000 one-syllables words, having the kids orally break each word down into its individual sounds and then write it in cursive.  (These words mostly all used the top spelling for a given sound, so they could just work on their sound-spelling correspondence and not have to get into figuring out or remembering which phonogram to use for a given sound; if there was any question, I told them.)  After that, we moved to simple studied dictation in cursive (using Spelling-You-See in direct defiance of its instructions to use print, lol), while also working on learning to break words into syllables and combine syllables into words, and to spell by syllable (using Rewards Reading, also done in cursive).  After all that, they could read and write cursive fairly well, and also had a big bump in reading and spelling ability.

I'd recommend giving your ds the Barton student pre-screening(it's free and pretty quick).  Barton is a reading program targeted for dyslexics, but the pre-screening is looking to see if a student has the necessary underlying skills to learn phonics.  (My oldest failed it as a fluent reader - she was largely reading by sight, not by phonics.)  Amongst other things, it tests for the ability to divide oral words into syllables - if he can't do that (my kids couldn't), he's going to find both spelling and writing in cursive very hard.

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4 hours ago, countrymum said:

Any thoughts on which one may help get to the goal of fluid, faster, tidier handwriting better?

Neither. I think after a certain age (I forget, pick a number like 10) they say it's not evidence based to bother. Have you had his visual motor integration tested? That could be the problem. So it's not a vision problem but visual motor integration. That's what is getting my ds who is diagnosed SLD writing btw. 

We've been working on VMI very tediously with this excellent workbook https://www.therapro.com/Developing-Visual-Motor-Integration.html  and I am using Cursive Logic with him after that. Cursive Logic basically has them tracing models a lot longer than anything else on the market. I don't really anticipate his writing to become to functional, but I'd like him to have a signature. 

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