I don’t remember how I came across Steve Graham’s “Want to Improve Children’s Writing? Don’t Neglect Their Handwriting” piece. While it was published over a decade ago, I know it’s a recent copy since the colors are bright on the crisp white paper.
Like many classroom teachers, I’ve found I don’t always prioritize handwriting with my daughter. In September, we started off strong by practicing proper printing techniques (aka: unlearning poor habits). In October, the manuscript review pages ended. I didn’t feel Isabelle was ready to move onto cursive yet so I put it off. By November, our homeschool day was filled with reading, writing, math, grammar, read-aloud, vocabulary, etc. (N.B.: Even when you homeschool your child, there isn’t enough time to fit it all in!) Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was planning for the month of December and I realized there’s no time like the present. So, I decided that come Monday, 12/6/21, we’d begin cursive writing. Talk about ready-or-not-here-I-come!
I never would’ve thought my fifth grader would still be learning cursive. Hold up! I never thought I’d be homeschooling this year. Thanks to COVID-19, both are now my realities. Cursive writing instruction should’ve happened for Isabelle when she was in the third grade. However, third grade was cut short due to the beginning of the pandemic. Last year she was in an all-remote so handwriting definitely wasn’t taught. So, here we are, homeschooling for fifth grade and cursive writing is now on our daily schedule as of — TODAY!
So, this morning, between a multiplication lesson and a writing lesson on editing run-on sentences, we began working on cursive. We talked about the way to angle the paper, the proper pencil position (i.e., Tip, Grip, Flip), tried out some words in cursive, and identified some letters that looked similar in manuscript and cursive. We’ll do some additional things to gear up for cursive writing, and then next week we’ll start the strokes (e.g., undercurve, downcurve, overcurve, diagonal).
It’s my hope that Isabelle will be strengthened by learning cursive. At the very least, she’ll learn how to sign her name properly!
There are many benefits to learning cursive, which you can learn more about by clicking on any of these articles:
- Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back.
- From punishing to pleasurable, how cursive writing is looping back into our hearts
- How cursive can help students with dyslexia connect the dots
- Should All Schools Teach Cursive?
- The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children
- Not about cursive, but an important research study about handwriting in general.