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View Full Version : On cursive (a link to Psychology Today, the benefits of learning cursive)



Teri
07-23-2013, 10:12 AM
I know I have seen discussions weighing whether or not to teach a child cursive. I was on the fence, personally, until my kids asked for it. It appears there are benefits to learning it that I haven't seen discussed.
Joseph and Caroline asked to learn cursive when Libby was receiving instruction at Scottish Rite. The first thing they did was start learning cursive. It makes sense in context of this research. We were told that you can't make reversals in cursive. Which makes sense, also.

What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain | Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201303/what-learning-cursive-does-your-brain)

RachelC
07-23-2013, 10:44 AM
I was told about these connections when I first started teaching. The headmaster at that school also talked about how your thoughts flow more easily with cursive writing (once you are fluent). We always taught it. I think it is super easy to teach. I just started writing some things in cursive on the board, helped students form letters when they needed to, and that's it.

I definitely plan to "teach" my own kids cursive.

kristens6102
07-23-2013, 11:17 AM
I completely agree! Olivia has had horrible problems with reversing p and q, b and d to the point where some of her best stories were almost unreadable. However, after I showed her a hand trick and we started working on cursive. She not only loves it, but it has helped her writing immensely. Thanks for the link!

murphs_mom
07-23-2013, 01:18 PM
DD started printing pretty early and then started teaching herself cursive when she was maybe 5yo...she thought it was pretty. She could read my mother's script by the time she was almost 4yo. It just came easy to her and we didn't question it. A (elementary) teacher friend was visiting last year and she flipped out when she saw DD doing hunt-n-peck on the keyboard. She went into a lengthy diatribe about how their students started learning keyboarding skills in K and that they don't do cursive any longer because there's no time left in the school day. I told her DH and I had discussed things and we felt it was more important for DD to focus on developing her handwriting skills vs. shifting her over to learning technology at that point. We ended the conversation by agreeing to disagree. I just sent her the link from the Psych Today article. I love when stuff like this backs up our decisions for DD. :) Thanks for posting!

alegre
07-23-2013, 01:56 PM
Cool, thanks! My daughter was very excited to learn cursive. Now she wants me to teach her how to write in "bubble letters"!!!

RachelC
07-23-2013, 08:49 PM
On typing- I taught myself how to type on an electric typewriter when I was a kid. I asked my mom where my fingers were supposed to go, then I just practiced. I thought it was cool to type letters and stories, so that was my impetus to learn. It's not some extremely difficult and time-consuming task that our children need to start now or they will never get it. I hear that sometimes and it totally irks me.

murphs_mom
07-23-2013, 09:16 PM
It's not some extremely difficult and time-consuming task that our children need to start now or they will never get it.

:D: I'm so old that I'm from a generation that didn't learn touch-typing until we were in senior high school...I think I was a sophomore or junior before I had my first typing class. The yearbook has photos of some of the students in the class sitting at manual typewriters w/paper bags on their heads because it was testing time. Try doing that w/a bunch of high school kids today. Some parent somewhere would probably sue the school district for inflicting mental anguish upon their baby. :rolleyes: Point is, I didn't learn proper keyboard skills until I was well into high school and I'm fine. Like you, Rachel, I used to play around w/my mom's typewriter at home and at work (she was dad's secretary/assistant). She used to let me type up the folder labels and do the occasional envelope. Ahhhhh, the days of White-out. :cool:

Tralyn
07-23-2013, 09:52 PM
I taught Garrett cursive several years ago. I did it before this article which was great reinforcement for me that I did the right thing. His cursive is way better than his print even. Told him girls like to get pretty things and writing cursive will pay off later lol..
Traci

Little Brownelf
07-24-2013, 05:31 AM
I taught Garrett cursive several years ago. I did it before this article which was great reinforcement for me that I did the right thing. His cursive is way better than his print even. Told him girls like to get pretty things and writing cursive will pay off later lol..
Traci
A former boss of mine had lovely calligraphic writing. I hoped he used it for addressing christmas gifts to family and personal letters to his wife.

I recently started my 8 yo on cursive. I'm hoping it helps with his manuscript. He's the kind of kid I think I should have opted for cursive.

Merry
07-24-2013, 08:09 AM
Does anyone know the best time to start cursive? My 9 year olds love to write cursive and learned in school. My 5 year old is just learning how to print letters. Do you teach cursive the same time or wait until he's mastered print? His fine motor skills are fair, a little behind average, I would guess.

Teri
07-24-2013, 08:31 AM
My kids were 6 and 8. The one that learned at dyslexia school was 7. I was in third grade when I learned.

Riceball_Mommy
07-24-2013, 09:52 AM
I was in 3rd grade when I learned cursive, and I'm just following my daughter's lead with cursive. She wants to learn it this year so I'm going to pick up some workbooks to start with next week. I'm considering this our 3rd grade year so it's kind of matching up with that.

I also got her a game to learn to type this year too.

murphs_mom
07-24-2013, 01:28 PM
I think the best time to teach it is when the interest is there. :)

I can remember being in 1st grade and some of us were trying to contort our printing into cursive. The teacher had a fit and told all of us to stop immediately; we were forbidden to try cursive. We were made to wait until the second half of 2nd grade. They introduced the letter forms in the spring semester of second grade, and then the first semester of third was spent doing a refresher on forms and instruction on how to combine the letters. I would have been 8yo when we started learning it.

DD started adding loopies and twirlies to her printed letters after she'd seen her grandmother's cursive. Instead of forbidding her efforts the way my 1st grade teacher did, we got her a pre-printed, laminated chart that showed the proper way to form the cursive letters on one side and how to join them on the other side. Then we just let her go. I figured if she was ready, it would happen. If she wasn't, she'd push it aside and move on to something else. The only time we stepped in was if she asked for help, or if she asked us for a daily sentence (to write in cursive). In a way, she created her own lesson plans for learning cursive. Guess she was ready by the later end of 5yo?

Teri
07-24-2013, 01:35 PM
I agree. I introduced it when they asked. However, my youngest had a much harder time controlling the pencil and making the letters than the other two did. So I do think there is a level of developmental fine motor skills that are needed.

kmath
07-26-2013, 06:46 PM
I think the best time to teach it is when the interest is there. :)

I can remember being in 1st grade and some of us were trying to contort our printing into cursive. The teacher had a fit and told all of us to stop immediately; we were forbidden to try cursive. We were made to wait until the second half of 2nd grade. They introduced the letter forms in the spring semester of second grade, and then the first semester of third was spent doing a refresher on forms and instruction on how to combine the letters. I would have been 8yo when we started learning it.

DD started adding loopies and twirlies to her printed letters after she'd seen her grandmother's cursive. Instead of forbidding her efforts the way my 1st grade teacher did, we got her a pre-printed, laminated chart that showed the proper way to form the cursive letters on one side and how to join them on the other side. Then we just let her go. I figured if she was ready, it would happen. If she wasn't, she'd push it aside and move on to something else. The only time we stepped in was if she asked for help, or if she asked us for a daily sentence (to write in cursive). In a way, she created her own lesson plans for learning cursive. Guess she was ready by the later end of 5yo?

DS started learning in PreK. Then he went to PS for K and 1st. We still did some at home because he liked the way it looked and it was easier for him. One time he forgot and did his homework in cursive. He got a "0" on that assignment and I got a letter from the teacher about how cursive was NOT allowed.

We will be working on it this year. He doesn't like writing, but since he likes doing cursive I think it will help him want to write more.

alegre
07-26-2013, 08:01 PM
One time he forgot and did his homework in cursive. He got a "0" on that assignment and I got a letter from the teacher about how cursive was NOT allowed.

Something similar happened to me when my daughter in kindergarten wrote her 8s with curlicues inside them. The teacher did not like that! I know it's important for kids to develop legible writing, but imho they should be allowed/encouraged to write in a way that's easier or more fun for them. Yet another reason to homeschool....

crunchynerd
07-29-2013, 08:37 AM
Does anyone know the best time to start cursive? My 9 year olds love to write cursive and learned in school. My 5 year old is just learning how to print letters. Do you teach cursive the same time or wait until he's mastered print? His fine motor skills are fair, a little behind average, I would guess.

I always assumed (based on how I was taught in school) that you teach cursive after print manuscript, around 3rd grade. But I found out about Cursive First when my DD was 6 or so, after she had a lot of trouble with printing, and was astonished to find out that throughout the history of a literate public, all around the world in languages where there is such a thing as cursive, cursive was always taught first, or sometimes, exclusively. I didn't know that the "Stick and ball" manuscript print being taught first was an experiment that started in the US in the 1930's, or that cursive had any connection with literacy and fluency. It seems counterintuitive that it could matter, yet my sister even said it made sense to her because when she's not sure how to spell something, she writes it in cursive with her finger and that does the trick.

So I wished I had started my daughter on cursive, from the beginning, because muscle memory is so strong, but am going to start my son, who is five, on cursive with the Logic of English Foundations, one of the few, if not only, secular systematic phonics /spelling/ writing curriculum systems that supports cursive first. They also sell a manuscript version so parents have a choice, but they recommend cursive first for all the reasons that have resurfaced recently. My trouble with my son is that he got told by an older boy whose opinion he puts unrealistic stock in, that learning cursive first is crazy, and that print is best. My son took that way too much to heart and I'm having a hard time deprogramming him on the issue, but am making slow headway with examples of how boys in many other parts of the world are learning cursive first and doing better with their literacy skills than Americans in general.

Logic Of English also sells a thing called Rhythm of Handwriting, which is a specific course for cursive (or manuscript; again, they keep the choices yours) and I may be looking at that for him after we do Foundations. Foundations works in some cursive in terms of learning to form letters that way instead of print, but it's not a penmanship course.

It all does get expensive quickly, but other resources for teaching cursive first were unwieldy, required a lot of messing with on my part, and had some problems with, particularly, how the cursive letter o is formed (making it come all the way over like an a...so my daughter's o's looked like a's and it took us over a year of retraining to overcome that!). So it's worth the money to do it right the first time, and I discovered from experience, that I have no idea how to teach systematic phonics (thought I did, I was wrong!) or cursive penmanship. There's more to it than simply knowing how to do it myself. That's been the hardest lesson for me as a homeschool mom: that just knowing how to do something, doesn't mean you necessarily know the best way to help someone else learn it. Depends on what it is.

So when and as we can afford it, we're getting Logic of English Foundations for my son, and then when he's ready, Rhythm of Handwriting, though I'm torn between that and the Peterson Directed Handwriting method. Peterson has video explanations of aspects of pencil position and paper position that changed my life and my whole outlook on handwriting, in a matter of minutes. So I still haven't decided between Peterson Directed Handwriting's cursive penmanship curriculum, or Logic of English's Rhythm of Handwriting. My daughter feels that American standards of cursive, whether Zaner-Bloser or the newer vertical cursive (Handwriting Without Tears?), look ugly like work pants, and I have to agree, after looking at German and French cursive standards.

What I also don't get is, if they are seeing so much benefit in slanted writing for preventing reversals and getting the idea of directionality into writing and reading, that they have D'Nealian manuscript print which is slanted forward, why then reverse it with cursive and make the cursive straight up and down?

It's all way more complex than I ever knew, but glad to know now, before my kids are all done and their handwriting style is already set in stone.

Teri
07-29-2013, 09:09 AM
I haven't heard about the benefit in slanted writing for preventing reversals. We were told that cursive helped to prevent reversals. My daughter with dyslexia learned the Zaner-Bloser method. I taught the other two using Handwriting without Tears. So theirs looks different, but we are ok with that.

sdvelochick
08-02-2013, 12:12 PM
So I hadn't known this until today, but apparently for state testing of writing in CA children are told they cannot write in cursive! They apparently are completely discouraged from using it at all. They teach it in 3rd grade at some schools, but then completely stop in 4th grade. And we wonder why the system is totally broken? "Here kids, have this great tool which will allow your thoughts to flow more freely, but HA, you can't use it!" What the heck. Sorry for the rant, but when my teacher friend told me this I was shocked. She wasn't sure what Common Core's "feelings" were on cursive and I haven't looked yet.

jenblackwell2
08-02-2013, 01:39 PM
This discussion is very timely. I have been on the fence about cursive first for awhile. I've talked to friends and faimly as well as other educators about it, and been doing extensive research. I think we will begin this year, PreK rather than with print... We'll see how it goes. I started teaching myself cursive when I was about 5... because I wanted to write the way my mommy did. I have gotten out of the habit myself, so I'm makeing an consicne effort to write in "proper" cursive, and I may even do an advanced cursive course with my daughter while she is beginning.

ScienceGeek
08-03-2013, 02:12 AM
I'm pretty sure common core left out cursive, which is why its in the 'news'. People are upset that they're going to stop teaching it because its not part of the 'core'...I started to teach my older son cursive because he always printed in all caps. After a bit of cursive writing he started printing in lowercase....I don't know why but it worked. He still wont' write cursive on his own - it would be really slow at this point, but its one of the things we'v been working on this summer. I like to do genealogy as a hobby and if you can't read cursive a lot of historical documents will be lost to you.