Handwriting the third time around is looking quite different. It has been a difficult subject for us, but we are still plugging away and making progress. I am looking back and wondering if cursive first might have been the best way to go with my boys. Handwriting has been difficult especially for one of my boys. We have encountered numerous reversals, mastered correct letter formation in 3rd grade, and the correct hand grip by 4th grade. I thought about giving up and letting him write his letters from the bottom to the top or letting him write with whatever hand grip he desired, but decided to really focus on it for awhile first. Ahh…sweet success. It was difficult for him, but he did it and now is writing so much better. We still have to work on neatness, but that will come too. Ironically this is the kid that taught himself to write the entire alphabet at age 3. Maybe that was part of the problem though.
When my young daughter requested to learn cursive like her brothers, I thought about it a bit. I realized that the philosophy of cursive first had many great points. My daughter has already learned to print most of her letters, but not really use the correct upper and lower case in her words. I thought it might be too late to start cursive with the benefits of it being taught first, but I decided to give it a try. My daughter has had a pen, pencil, or crayon a part of her anatomy since toddlerhood. She loves to draw. My son with the greatest handwriting difficulties is also big into drawing. After helping my son with handwriting, I kept an eye on my daughter when she started writing on her own. When she started to write on her own I bought her a little toy with an attached pen and screen that showed the correct way to make letters. My son also had something similar. In addition, I did start some general handwriting instruction and guidance. I think it helped. So far, so good anyway.
I made up a bunch of handwriting worksheets using StartWrite Handwriting Software I sort of gave up on handwriting books several years ago because they never provided enough guided practice. I looked at the table of contents for a popular cursive curriculum and went with their sequence for teaching letters. I made up about 3-4 sheets for each letter and staggered them so my daughter won’t do 4 of one letter before moving on. I also made the spacing a little bigger for her because she is still quite young. She is using the little gripper on the pencil to help her learn where to hold her fingers. It really helped my son.
I’m hoping cursive first will be a great choice for my daughter.