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Print, cursive or nelson which do you do?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by caramel, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Please help! We are trying to get a whole school policy on handwriting but seem to have three options Nelson handwriting scheme, cursive which seems to be what some teachers like and print which is what happens in year r.

    What do you do in your school and what do you think works best and why?
  2. Please help! We are trying to get a whole school policy on handwriting but seem to have three options Nelson handwriting scheme, cursive which seems to be what some teachers like and print which is what happens in year r.

    What do you do in your school and what do you think works best and why?
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We teach Sassoon in the foundation stage and Y1 then move onto our own cursive style in Y2
  4. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    We use Nelson, it is a recent addition but is going well so far.
  5. jwraft

    jwraft New commenter

    Just introduced cursive this year and it's had an amazing impact, not just on quality of handwriting but also on on older children who uses to stick capitals in the middle of words. Because they're now joining everything, they are unable to do this now. Also in my class of Y6 I have 4 children who were poor hand writers become fantastic hand writers in a matter of weeks (in terms of SATS marks gone from 1 to 3). I think a new approach enthused them and they've practised at home!
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    We have just bought penpals scheme, not sure of the style. We have also just bought floppy's phonics which has a handwriting element/style to it which is different. We have also just introduced homework diaries with a handwriting/letter formation page that is different again!

    Which do we use? The same one we did before: just join the flippin letters neatly, remember descenders should actually descend and hey that'll do!
  7. I have read that children with dyslexia respond best to writing in a cursive style, with every letter starting on the line. This way they don't have to struggle with remembering where each letter starts - is it on the line, half way up, at the top, etc? Also, joined up writing helps them learn spelling: they are much less likely to confuse does and dose for example because they get used to the way the hand moves when writing it. Having said all of this, if children have learned a different style, it gets difficult to introduce this new way, even if they were struggling with what they were doing previously. I don't feel like I've cracked it yet.
  8. dc521

    dc521 New commenter

    I'd guess that you might work at my school as those are the options I gave staff.
    What any school needs is the same 'type' of writing across the board. It's what's best for the children, staff and anyone new to the school to use.
  9. In the end it doesn't matter too much which style you go for -
    provided it is consistent from all members of staff (including TAs
    - vital that they know what the school style is, as they are often
    working with less able children who often struggle with handwriting).

    we started a whole-school handwriting policy I was initially keen on
    'every letter starts on the line' version, but I'm not convinced it is
    as helpful as it's supposed to be, as it simply doesn't work: try
    joining after any letter like o, r, or v, which don't finish on the line
    - you get a very weird and unreadable join if you go back down to the
    line for those. Simpler to just learn that there are 'families' of
    letters that start in similar ways - and the two that make the quickest
    impact are those based on 'c' (c a d o g) and n r h b p - and learn that
    all letters start at the top, except for e. Many children find changing to cursive hard because KS1 teachers haven't appreciated how important it is for children to form their letters correctly. Less able children in particular can gain huge self-esteem from having neat, readable handwriting - but they can't do it without being taught how!

    My personal preference, based on what works
    best for children who find handwriting a challenge, is to start with
    print with flicks (like Penpals, which I think is consistent with the printed Sassoon infant - I think Nelson is similar,
    though not sure).
    We bought the Penpals scheme, which I really liked - though to be honest I taught it in my own way according to need, as I was introducing it, half way through school, in a mixed age classes - but I did particularly like the way that the year 6 lessons focused on developing an individual style (as it assumed that after 5 years of consistent teaching all children would by then be using cursive effectively). Worth saying though that after a term of highly focused handwriting teaching, the whole yr 3/4 class could produce acceptable cursive - and I'm sure it was helping the poorer spellers to be writing whole words as strings. Their writing previously was print, with all sorts of weird letter formation. Having 'pen licences' was a strong motivation - I thought it might put off the less coordinated children, but it just made them try harder - and they succeeded.
    Good luck. Handwriting can seem a trivial and frustrating thing to teach, but it really is worth the effort - but far more effective with a whole school approach.
  10. Tried to edit, but it didn't work for some reason...
    Meant to mention that I also gave them handwriting homework every week (combined with their spellings - I wrote out their spellings in cursive handwriting for each group) and this helped to get parents on board too. Several parents were initially unconvinced about the value of cursive - they only printed themselves (and some still use capital mid-word...) - it took a bit of talk about the impact on spelling and handwriting pace to win them over.
  11. We use continuous cursive throughout the school. This has a huge impact on the quality of handwriting from an early age. The children don't get into bad habits with letter formation and it helps with spelling of words as children learn the pattern of making the word.

    I wasn't sure about it at first but am now a big advocate of it.

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