Cursive at The Squishable Baby with Printables

 
The “dying” art of cursive isn’t so dead at my house.  Personally I feel saddened when an adult announces proudly that he/she cannot read cursive.  It’s sad really.  Handwriting is so beautiful.

So, I decided that the art of real handwriting wouldn’t be lost to my kids.   I taught Hadyn print first before I came to the knowledge – and he struggled.  However, now that we have been studying cursive for the last year, he has become more confident and comfortable with his writing.   Learning cursive helped him with his printing.  Both Ava and Grayson will/are learning cursive first for the following reasons…

 

  • It’s easier to learn – the connecting letters and swooping strokes are what children know and understand.

 

  • It’s necessary to develop important centers in the brain.

 

  • It’s a basic skill that everybody should know.  Children as well as adults should be able to read and write in cursive.

 

We have been working very hard in writing everything in cursive.  Once the child knows the letter formation and gets proficient at connecting letters – he/she can write anything.

 

 teaching Cursive Writing

 

For Hadyn, he is practicing his letters, writing words, and then writing paragraphs of poems and scripture.  The more he writes, the better it gets – which I’m sure makes sense.  He is also finally understanding capital letters and lowercase letters – and their relation to one another on the page.  Before, you couldn’t tell the difference, but now, he is making great progress n that front.

As an exercise, I will print out a poem in cursive and ask him to read it out loud.  Then, he will copy it onto lined paper.  After going over all the letters, this is the best way I have found to learn cursive.  Last step – memorization of the poem.

For Ava, we are doing phonics and cursive at the same time.  We worked on the vowels first, and are now working on the consonants.

To help her with this, I created two printables. ..

 

  1. Phonics Wall Cards – Print them out on regular paper or cardstock.  If they are printed on regular paper – gluing them to cardboard or laminating them makes them more durable.  If they are not laminated, your child can decorate them (Ava loves doing this).  Then, hang them up on the wall.  Just leave them there.  Ours are in the kitchen.  They see them all the time.  If they need help with letter formation, they refer to the Phonics Wall Cards.
  2.  

  3. Flash Cards – You can print these out on regular paper and glue them to an index card, print them on cardstock or laminate them.  They go with the phonics wall cards.  These are small flash cards that you can use for your lesson.  We use them in two ways.  First, we use them to review the letters and sounds that we already know.  Two, I put a consonant/vowel together and we practice letter blends.

 

Letter blends with cursive flash cards

 

They are small cards, so you can play a variety of word games, what letter is missing, finding other words that match the sound, etc.

 
 

Are your children learning cursive?

 

Lisa
<muscle-up-meals
About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. Hi Lisa, from Jeffrey Pflaum, author of the blog post, “Music Writing,” on Edutopia:
    As an inner-city elementary school teacher for 34 years in the NYCDOE, I taught penmanship on a daily basis as an art form. I demonstrated the movements for each letter, lower case and caps, and then had the kids (grades 4 – 6) come to the board and draw a few samples. Next, I gave them a whole series of drills/practice with a particular letter, again, lower case and caps, added several words with the letters to write out, and, if I recall correctly, 4 times each. From Monday to Thursday they learned the movements for four–really eight including caps–different letters, and, believe it or not, I gave them penmanship tests on Fridays on the newly learned letters. They had to replicate the new letters, and were given more words to write, and sometimes, just to change it up, I wrote a paragraph on the board in print and had them re-write it in script. Hey, they loved it, although I couldn’t believe I was giving them a “penmanship test.” You read my post on “Music Writing” at Edutopia, and you know I was into writing and self-expression with my students, so the question then becomes: How do they work on “Music Writing” or “Contemplation Writing” or any type of writing for that matter if they can write in script, or sadly, just print? The fact that kids are developing a good or decent handwriting is, at least, a step in the right direction for motivating another art, writing. Many teachers that I spoke to skipped penmanship because they did not have enough time in their schedules to get it in, and then there was always the constant pressure of testing that forced them to opt out on this subject. In my experience, you can’t have writing without teaching children handwriting. It’s not “old school,” it’s public school and homeschool. So write on Lisa with your children…With warm regards, Jeffrey

    • You speak the truth. Sadly, I don’t know of a public or private school within a 100 mile radius of me who teaches penmanship or cursive. I understand the need to understand and use technology – but there is a time and place for everything. I don’t think we need to loose one for the sake of another. Maybe technology doesn’t have to be so prominent. Thing is, it’s to the detriment of the children. That makes me sad.

      Your program sounds really amazing. I am going to read more about your program. I’m very intrigued. I would like to incorporate something like that here. I think other homeschoolers would benefit as well.

      Thank you for commenting and telling us of your experience and insight!

      I hope you have a terrific weekend.
      Lisa recently posted…The ABC of Australian Animals – A Kids Yoga Story Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  2. Hey, hey, *I* want to learn cursive! Thanks so much for this! I have been twice very envious of the handwriting of Americans I know, and I just want mine to be that pretty!
    Considerer recently posted…7 Quick Takes #56 x FTSFMy Profile

  3. You’re right, Lisa, it’s sad that cursive writing is being dismissed as almost “non-essential” to learning. After a little while, you wonder where is all this coming from? My method in the classroom (to start off the day): Demo the “letter” of the day on the board for the kids; I went through the strokes/movements for each letter (I broke them down into separate strokes and counted them on the board/numbering each. Did a few practice samples, then the kids came up to the board to draw the letters, added a few words with the letters, and the kids wrote the letters plus words on their papers. I emphasized that they did not have to finish the entire assignment. The purpose was to learn how to write the letters/words as best as they could, and also, that this was not a race to the finish line. I said that as they learned how-to write the letters and felt more confident about their writing, their “speed” or “pace” would get better. The whole lesson took about 20 minutes: 5 minutes for demo and 15 minutes for writing. I collected the papers and wrote positive comments on them, pointing on where they “got the letters right,” and also reminded the children, “It’s not where you start, but how you finish with your penmanship ability that counts. Ask yourself: Do you feel your handwriting improved after completing the alphabet?” And, just to make it interesting, when I completed all the letters, I asked them to copy short paragraphs to show them how far their handwriting had come. Teaching, even in the basic activity of penmanship, is about giving, communicating, kindness, mindfulness, and “serious fun.”

  4. Handwriting matters — but does cursive matter? The fastest, clearest handwriters join only some letters: making the easiest joins, skipping others, using print-like forms of letters whose cursive and printed forms disagree. (Sources on request: research studies by Dr. Steven Graham, Dr. Virginia Berninger, and other specialists on handwriting.)

    Reading cursive matters. It matters immensely. Even small children can (and should) be taught to read all sorts of handwriting: including any writing that they have not (or not yet) been taught to produce.

    Reading cursive can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes — even to five- or six-year-olds, once they read ordinary print. (In fact, now there’s even an iPad app to teach how: named “Read Cursive,” of course.)

    So why not simply teach children to read cursive — along with teaching other vital skills, such as a handwriting style that’s actually typical of the most highly effective handwriters?

    Educated adults increasingly Qin cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers were surveyed at a conference hosted by Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of cursive textbooks. Only 37 percent wrote in cursive; another 8 percent printed. The majority — 55 percent — wrote a hybrid: some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive. (Source on request — a statistic published by the Zaner-Bloser handwriting company.) When most handwriting teachers don’t write in cursive themselves, why exalt it?

    Cursive’s cheerleaders sometimes allege that cursive makes you smarter, makes you graceful, adds brain cells, or confers other blessings no more prevalent among cursive users than elsewhere. Some claim research support, citing studies that (so far, without exception) prove to have been misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant.

    So far — in the above article and elsewhere — whenever a devotee of cursive has claimed the support of research, one or more of the following things has become evident when others examine the claimed support:

    /1/ either the claim (of research support for cursive) offers no identifiable, checkable research source (as is true in the above article)

    or

    /2/ if a source is cited, it is misquoted or is incorrectly described (e.g., an Indiana University research study comparing print-writing with keyboarding is consiste,ntly misrepresented by cursive’s defenders as “a study comparing print-writing with cursive”),

    or

    /3/ the claimant _correctly_ quotes/cites a source which itself indulges in either /1/ or /2/.

    What about signatures? In state and federal law, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Hard to believe? Ask any attorney!)

    Questioned document examiners (these are specialists in the identification of signatures, the verification of documents, etc.) inform me that the least forgeable signatures are the plainest. (Names on request.)
    Most cursive signatures are loose scrawls: the rest, if they follow the rules of cursive at all, are fairly complicated: these make a forger’s life easy.

    All writing, not just cursive, is individual — just as all writing involves fine motor skills. That is why, six months into the school year, any first-grade teacher can immediately identify (from print-writing on unsigned work) which student produced it.

    Mandating cursive to preserve handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to preserve the art of tailoring.

    [AUTHOR BIO: Kate Gladstone is the founder of Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works and the director of the World Handwriting Contest]

    • I definitely agree with a few of your points. I don’t agree that cursive can be taught to 5-6 year olds in 30-60 minutes. Cursive, like anything else is a learned skill – that takes time and effort. To think that one can learn anything in 30-60 minutes is not realistic, nor should it be.

      Cursive, print, science, math, reading – they are all skills that are developed over time – get better over time. In our technologically driven world, people are so keen on quickness. It’s slow and steady. Persistence is key. When I was learning cursive (in elementary school) I remember doing tons of handwriting sheets. I’m not sure I would advocate learning cursive on the iPad – because it totally defeats the point.

      Whether most adults write in cursive or not, is not the point. I think we have already established that most people type and have lost the skill. How other “experts” write is not the point. The point is that teaching cursive develops brain centers that are not developed through other methods. In my opinion, it’s a skill that needs to be taught. We are meant to use our hands for writing – above all else. We were not made to use iPads or computers but to write – plain and simple. Our hands, or brains, and our eyes are all connected.
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 24My Profile

      • Re:
        “I don’t agree that cursive can be taught to 5-6 year olds in 30-60 minutes.”
        Neither do I — notice that my statement on 30-60 minutes was entirely about _reading_ cursive (not about writing, too).

        Re:
        ” … learning cursive on the iPad … totally defeats the point.”
        What point, and how’s it defeated? (There are iPad apps that teach kids how to _write_ cursive, too. Are those, too, somehow a “defeat” because they’re on the iPad instead of on paper? Are dead trees magic?”

        Re:
        “teaching cursive develops brain centers that are not developed through other methods.”
        Which brain centers, please? What are their names? (I’m sitting here with my brain atlas at the ready, so that I can locate them when you name them.)
        What’s your evidence that those brain centers “are not developed through other methods” ? What were those brain centers DOING, then, throughout the many millennia that passed by for our species until — just a few hundred years ago — the invention of cursive?

        Were you aware, Lisa, that — without exception, so far, the studies which find that writing activates any brain centers don’t find any greater activation in cursive handwriting than in printed handwriting? If you know of any study that shows otherwise — any study that indeed shows cursive handwriting developing any brain centers that printed handwriting doesn’t develop — please send me a citation because I want to check this out: author(s), title, and date will do. (So far, without exception, studies which anyone has claimed to prove a unique brain effect for cursive handwriting have all proven instead to have been misquoted, whe anybody actually looked up the original study and _read_ it, instead of relying on someone else’s word about what the study said. If you are sure that you have better evidence — if you know of one or more studies that actually _do_ prove that cursive gives you a better brain — please identify that study/those studies so that I can look up the findings for myself. Otherwise, I’ve only your word for it that there are, somewhere, studies.)

        Re:
        “We were meant to use our hands for writing — above all else.”
        For almost the entire length of humankind’s existence, writing didn’t exist, Writing of any kind, after all, is only a mere five or six millennia old! (And the type of writing called “cursive” is even younger: just a few centuries old.) Our species has existed for much longer than this species has had any literate members — were our hands, mostly, pointless appendages until somebody eventually started inventing any way to write down the local language(s)?
        And, even then, cursive was a LONG way off. If humankind had had to wait all those millennia until some of its members finally invented handwriting — let alone _cursive_ handwriting — and our hands were mostly purposeless until then, humankind would not have lasted long enough — or developed its brain enough — to invent handwriting, literacy … or anything else.

        Re:
        “Our hands, our brains, and our eyes are all connected.”
        How does this rather obvious biological fact (that the different parts of an organism are connected) prove that the organism is meant to write in cursive?

      • Many 5 and 6 year olds can’t read. My 5 year old can’t read yet, so how would they be able to read cursive in 60 minutes? Claiming that any child can learn how to read – even cursive letters, in an hour is totally absurd. Reading – anything takes practice. Constant reading and learning.

        All of my evidence can be found in this post http://squishablebaby.com/homeschool-squishable-baby-cursive-first/
        Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 24My Profile

  5. I had no idea that there are adults out there who don’t know cursive! Strange! I remember like it was yesterday when I was learning how to write and I loved learning and writing in cursive. I definitely plan on teaching my kids. Your ideas remind me of how I learned: practice, practice, practice. These are also great, printables. Thanks so much Lisa for linking up and sharing at Countdown in Style! Don’t forget to stop by to see if you are featured! xo
    Brittnei recently posted…Countdown in Style- Week 4My Profile

    • Yep, I also remember using cursive and still use it today. In our technological driven world, people expect things to be so quick. You hit the nail right on the head, Practice, practice, practice and persistence. That’s all it is. Your kids will reap the rewards! Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 24My Profile

  6. Lisa — you’re correct that not all five- and six-year-olds can read cursive, because you forgot to notice that my statement on the subject notes that they can learn to do this _once_ _they_ _read_ _ordinanry_ _print_. (I think it’s important to read _all_ the words in a sentence before deciding what it says — don’t you?— and consider this skill at least as important, for a child or anyone, as cursive.)

    Thanks for your link to the other posting, where you mentioned various studies: those were the ones I’d been sure you would mention., and I’vee read each of those studies in their original publications, and was in fact at a conference where one of them (the Karin Harman-James study) wS presented by its author. Have you, yourself, actually read each of the studies that you cited in that post? If you had read those studies, you would be aware that their findings favor handwriting over keyboarding, BUT you would also be aware that their findings DO NOT favor cursive handwriting over any other form of handwriting. (For instance, the Karin Harman-James study did not even involve cursive: it compared brain activation in print-writing versus brain activation in keyboarding, and the subjects were kindergarteners.mSimilarly, the studies cited in the Scientific American September/October issue found benefits for handwriting over keyboarding, but DID NOT find benefits for cursive handwriting over any of the other forms of handwriting, such as print-writing.)
    Since the studies that you mentioned there are the ones most often misquoted in defense of cursive, perhaps you — as a devoted cursive defender — can help me understand one thing. Very, very often, when someone tells me “these studies prove cursive,” it turns out that the person has not even read the original studies but is quoting second-hand/third-hand-fourth-hand descriptions (and mis descriptions) of what the studies are said to have said … but, almost as often, it turns out that the person HAS read the original studies, and then that person tells me something like: “Yes, actually I know that the studies and findings are not the way I’m describing them, but it’s more ethical to describe the studies in ways that will make their results support cursive, because cursive is so important that absolutely any means of defending it is obligatory and ethical … when a study is about printing and keyboarding, for instance, but the cause of cursive would be better supported if we changed the word ‘cursive’ in the study to the word ‘keyboarding,’ then that change needs to be made, so that people who understand the importance of cursive will have something they can relate to and can use for evidence when they are explaining their point.” Is there some educational or ethical reason — that I’m unaware of — which would make it important to do things like saying that a study about printing and keyboarding was a study about printing and cursive … when it wasn’t? Am I unperceptive when I perceive any problem with doing that?

    • Good morning Kate!

      I don’t see myself as a defender of cursive. I see myself as a mom who wants the best and most pure education for her children. Science is so here and there. I know, I was in science for much of my life. You do what you can to look up the research, review the papers that are there, critically analyze them by making sure everything is properly controlled – make a decision based on everything – and then a study comes out the following week, month or year that says something else.

      Science is just one of these things that is forever moving and changing. And yes, I would agree that most (if not all) will skew the results to fit their own personal models (in cases like this – where the evidence isn’t so scientific).

      With that said, it’s so hard to argue with “seeing is believing”. I started my son (who is 9) out the traditional way. He so struggled with writing. It was so difficult for him. Print – it didn’t click. It got so bad that he didn’t want to write in front of anybody. People at church (during Sunday school) wondered whether he could write at all. I then began teaching him cursive and that all changed within a few months. I began seeing notes laying around the house. Notes that he made to himself. His penmanship improved so greatly within a short period of time. His capital and lowercase letters came into being (you could actually tell the difference). He asked for a journal. He gained a significant amount of confidence.

      Even today as I type this note, he prefers writing in cursive than writing in print. The notes that I see laying around – all in cursive.

      Art came right along with that. When his penmanship improved, he began drawing.

      It’s easier for a child. It makes sense. Why should children struggle with writing?

      It makes sense to teach them. You read it, you will be better at writing it. They go hand and hand, like writing, reading and spelling.
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 24My Profile

  7. Is that Reason For Handwriting I see? I love those books! The K book is the cutest homeschool book I’ve ever seen. 🙂
    Shecki recently posted…What I’ve learned from doing reviewsMy Profile

    • Haha! Yes it is. I used it with my son all of last year and this year, but we are slowly moving away from it. I am just finding kid friendly poems on the internet that he is copying. We go back and forth. The Transition text was excellent ( I thought). it was a really great bridge from print to cursive.

      What I wasn’t happy with is that A Reason for Handwriting starts kids with print. Didn’t like that aspect, so I had to move to a different text for my daughter. I don’t think I will be doing a reason for handwriting for her though. I think I will just be doing a lot of poem and scripture copy work.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Shecki! Always nice to see you here.
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 24My Profile

  8. I think this is great Lisa…this is definitely a skill I will be teaching at home in addition to school. I agree with you, too often we get used to texting or typing and don’t know how to write properly. While I do prefer typing, I can write in cursive and spell correctly, LOLOLOL…most of the time.
    karen recently posted…MY Wish ListMy Profile

    • Thank goodness for spell check!

      I really do – deep down believe that we are doing our kids a big disservice by not teaching them cursive. Actually, I think it should be taught first. They will learn to print through reading books, assignments, daily life. Cursive – it’s where it’s at. There are no substitutions or shortcuts.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! i am so glad you are back in blogging business! I have missed you.
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 24My Profile

  9. I totally assumed that my children would be learning cursive at school. If not, I definitely will be teaching them. I’ve always been fascinated too seeing the different styles of cursive writing. Mine was typical of many girls at English boarding schools. My American mother is illustrative of her generation – as a child I even had to learn some of the cursive capital letters she used in order to read letters from her as they were different from those in Britain. I also think nothing can replace a handwritten thank you letter in beautiful cursive writing.
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…Kids Company Christmas Appeal – Give them some love!My Profile

  10. Hey people, where did you get the idea that Cursive is the only form of script-writing? In fact, it’s *only one form* or script, and far from the best of them. Shakespeare wrote in English Secretary. The Mayflower Compact was written in Italic. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written in Copperplate. All those documents are perfectly readable today. Cursive, on the other hand, has a nasty tendency to degenerate into that illegible scribble for which doctors are notorious (but not alone!), which has caused thousands of deaths from “medical error”. Just ask any nurse or pharmacist. So teach the kids a good form of script — Italic would be the quickest to learn — but, if only for all the lives it has cost us, Cursive deserves to die!
    Leslie Fish recently posted…Progressive FailureMy Profile

  11. Lisa writes that “it[ cursive]’s easier for a child … ” — it certainly wasn’t for _me_ as a child! (Or for my father, whose school began with cursive).” Since italic’s easier than cursive _or_ printing, why not start with italic (and continue the same way)?

    Re science and research — it’s interesting that the same commenter who liked relying on research (as long as she could say “research supports cursive”) disdains research as soon as I point to some that counters her claim.

    • I didn’t say I disdain research that counters my claim. Actually I haven’t yet found any reliable research that discounts my claim. What I said was that you do the best you can with the information you have available. I’m sure as a scientist you know. Research comes out and you make judgements, then next week, or next year, something else comes out that either refutes or supports the original claim. You have to continue reading and continue growing.

      Cursive was certainly easier for me to learn. And overall, based on what I’ve read – the majority of people also think so. The swooping movements are just easier for children.

      What can I say?
      Lisa recently posted…They Really Want You: Homeschoolers and Colleges – pt 1My Profile

      • Lisa —

        All that you’ve said (about ease and so on) relies on comparisons of cursive with print-writing. In comparisons of cursive with italic, the advantages are found with italic — at least as far as ease, speed, legibility, and error-resistance are concerned.

        Material specifically on that (including research studies along with personal experiences — mine and those of others), is rather voluminous, so I wouldn’t trouble you with that unless you sent me a message saying that you actually cared to know of this and to read it. If it isn’t something you would object to knowing about, you can reach me by e-mail at handwritingrepair@gmail.com to request what I have.

  12. Although I agree that cursive can be beautiful, mine is atrocious. I don’t like to write anything down because it sucks! I really wish now that I had taken more time as a youth to make my writing nicer, but being true to my laziness I still don’t take the time. I will be working with my son now on his cursive. Thanks for sharing and linking up with Countdown in Style! Don’t forget to come back on Friday to see if you were featured!

    ~~April~~
    100lbCountdown.com
    April recently posted…2013 ~ A Year in Review {With LOTS of Pictures}My Profile

  13. Very nice blog..
    Learning is essential for every human being on earth. I am volunteering my services at a school which is running for poor kids. i feel so satisfied teaching and helping kids read and write.

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge