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cursive vs print in early years

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Msz, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I've taught cursive from the start and found it works for a few children but not for others. I find teaching a cursive style and joined digraphs the most successful method. What is important is making sure that correct formation is firmly established right from the beginning. Time consuming but worthwhile.
  2. Thanks Msz. So by 'cursive style' do you mean correctly formed letters with a 'tail' at the end? or do you include the lead in as well? so would the curly caterpillar letters begin at the top and go around anti-clockwise, or would you start at the bottom, up and over, then anti-clockwise? (hope that makes sense without gestures!)

    I'll definitely be teaching joined digraphs, and probably joined sight words too.

    How do you deal with children who say they can "already do that letter" as their parents have taught them, but unfortunately either the capital or an incorrect formation? I'm really keen to develop good writing habits early on, so any advice would be readily received.

    Thanks [​IMG]
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I have found children find it easier without the lead initially and it's pretty easy to introduce later once correct formation is established
    I just say "this is the way we need to do it at school" and reinforce the correct sequence of movements at every opportunity. I think it is more important in reception that they know the correct formation than being able to fully join because it can be built on in future years. As a school our pupils have amazing handwriting but it does require daily practise in every class.

  4. I don't advocate joined handwriting for reception. Teach them print and separate letter formation first.
    I wouldn't even bother to join the digraphs either. All in good time.
    If we teach joined handwriting with leaders from the outset, it may look mature and impressive but there are a lot of pros to this approach.
    For example, when do you teach them print?
  5. Hmmm....I meant 'cons'![​IMG]
  6. Hi Fraggle we use cursive with a lead in and lead out, so each letter starts and finishes on the line. Those that start Reception already printing pick up the cursive style very quickly. There are some children who insist on using capitals as it is reinforced at home, but they get there too eventually. Once mastered, I'd say that it's bettter. he children's writing is neater and more readable. It means that their handwriting flows, so that they can concentrate on the writing content more easily. A real pain at the beginning though, I admit.
  7. sharonduthie

    sharonduthie New commenter

    I'm just having this battle at moment! Our head wants everyone to teach cursive this year. 1) we haven't got the resources for it (electronic or other) and 2) even our brighter kids are struggling with it - they can't recognise it when remembering the sound but then trying to find the letter on an alphabet card.
    I have two girls who can write their name in cursive but even they can't go on to other writing using cursive - we are pulling our hair out! Our class did so well last year with their writing and now I feel as if we have taken three steps backwards with this year's class.
    I think Key Stage two is soon enough to start cursive and joined up - like others have said - we need to get correct formation first.
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    When my son was in reception the head decided there should be a school style and it should be taught from the start. So his class learned cursive letters, first written as separate letters but quickly joined. They did lots of practice, a bit a day, until well into key stage 2, and the whole class (now year 6) have pretty good handwriting. But after a couple of years, although it seemed to me that the scheme was an outstanding success, it was quietly dropped. There is now no school handwriting style and handwriting is once more at the whim of the teacher. The lower classes have absolutely awful handwriting, way behind my son's class at the same ago. I know this is only anecdotal but the combination of cursive writing, making for easy joining, and a determination to teach it properly, paid off in spades. My older boys had terrible writing like the lower classes have now.
  9. http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Joined%20Handwriting.pdf

    I've had huge success with all-joined handwriting with leaders with all ages from Year One to secondary students - but I still advocate teaching with separate 'print' letters first.
    I suggest that late in Year One or in Year Two is a good time to start teaching joined handwriting - once the phonics teaching and writing is established - then you can find some extra time each day to really focus on joined handwriting - each letter discretely at first - not long strings.
    Engage the children with which is the letter and which are the joins to 'think' when they need which join - for example, the washing line join following letters which 'end' in the air like o, v,w,x,r.
    It should only take a term of regular practice before the whole class is able to write in fully joined handwriting. Some children will only take a week or two - but pick a day when they have all had sufficient practice to have 'changeover' day when from then on, they must use joined handwriting for all their writing unless it is appropriate to use print or capitals.
    I find it very frustrating seeing so many children of all ages who do not write well - because they are really teachable when you focus on it well enough - but the whole school needs to provide the continuity - and the adults themselves need to adopt the same handwriting style within school in my opinion.
  10. LOL! Doitforfree - our postings were done simultaneously but we're saying pretty much the same thing!
    As I said, it can be done but the will has to be there amongst the staff.[​IMG]

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