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views on cursive writing

(39 Posts)
horationelson Sat 06-Aug-11 09:19:06

ds 5 years is struggling with cursive writing and is reluctant to even try. He scored a 5 in his end of school report (just finished reception) which is below national average. He is an excellent reader (teacher's words not mine).

I noticed from a couple of his friends who are at different schools that they seem to print rarther than do cursive writing and they have lovely writing. He doesn't really ever see "joined up writing" and I wonder whether he is confused.

Is there anything I can do with him before he starts year 1 in September.

Thanks. smile

clangermum Sat 06-Aug-11 09:43:17

Mine was printing at this age, then cursive was introduced later, can't quite remember when - hopefully others can help. It seems a lot to cope with in Reception.

horationelson Sat 06-Aug-11 09:48:05

Thats the way I remember doing it.

A family friend who was a teacher said that if they were taught cursive later such as at 7 it can take a only a matter of weeks, which makes more sense to me.

mrz Sat 06-Aug-11 10:08:55

Many schools teach fully cursive (joined from the line ) right from the start "successfully". We tried it and found it didn't help our children, they managed but we weren't convinced it was effective so we went back to teaching a "cursive" style of print (exit stroke only).
Long term joined handwriting has advantages but personally I think the summer of Y1 is the best time to begin.

horationelson Sat 06-Aug-11 10:14:42

mrz thankyou, that is very helpful. My son has just turned 5 and is quite young for his age.

I think i read one of your posts regarding how to develop fine motor skills so will work on that aswell.

CustardCake Sat 06-Aug-11 11:05:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsshears Sat 06-Aug-11 11:52:49

my taught herself to print before starting reception and was completely put off writing when she discovered that the writing which was taught in reception was cursive,it really knocked her confidence and the teachers spent at least a term trying to encourage dd to participate in writing activities.
however once dd did attempt cursive writing and realised she could do it (with plenty of encouragement from her teachers) she is back to enjoying writing again,she now has beautiful writing and got an 8 on her end of reception eyfs.
In answer to your question op,does your ds like writing stories? as you say he is an excellent reader maybe a way to encourage his writing would be to get him to write his own stories?

twinklypearls Sat 06-Aug-11 11:55:56

My dd really struggles with cursive writing and has been told it will hold he back in terms of her levels. I find that a little odd as she way above average in terms of ability - which her recent reports and tests reflect.

Catslikehats Sat 06-Aug-11 12:05:43

My DD1 learned print in nursery and reception and then really struggled with cursive in year 1 (different school) it was like learning a whole new alphabet for her and it wasn't until she really started enjoying writing for herself in the last few months that she has got to grips with it.

I have seen the same with DS1 who is about to go into year 1 (and has learned cursive from the off) He just "got into" writing in the last few weeks.

Encouraging them to write anything is good (and without worrying about spelling for the moment) DS loves lists and having his own notebooks to write in encourages him. he also likes cartoon strips so has been drawing and anotating his own (very basic) versions.

mymumdom Sat 06-Aug-11 12:15:37

Our school does cursive writing from reception and my two oldest coped well, even though I taught DD1 the wrong way before she started school.
I find that they struggled a bit in reception and even year one, but come year two when other school are teaching their pupils to use cursive instead of printing, the children have got the hang of it and are writing lovely flowing sentences and stories without having to concentrate on their writing. Both my older DD's love writing now.
DD3 is still at the struggling stage as she refuses to use a pencil grip but it hasn't put her off at all. She's writing her own holiday diary along with her older siblings.

teacherwith2kids Sat 06-Aug-11 19:49:01

My children's school does cursive from the beginning. Their stated reason is that they found that writing in Years 2 and 3 showed a dip as children 'learned to write again' using cursive, and that this dip has disappeared with learning cursive from the beginning.

They started with a very thorough learning of 'patterns' related to handwriting movements (rows of 'c's used to make waves of the sea, rows of uuuuuuu or nnnnnnnnn to make fish scales etc) before moving on to actual letters.

DD thrived under this scheme, and has always had genuinely lovely handwriting.

DS joined the school at the very end of year 1, and thus had rather the rough end of the stick - he came from a school that printed for the first 3 years, and then missed out on his new school's handwriting teaching! However, I think he would have had some trouble anyway, as he had very poor fine motor skills when he first started school. As it was, he had sufficiently good mastery of printed letter shapes by the end of Year 1 to pick up the cursive handwriting quite quickly (we had also done daily 'handwriting practice' as part of the home ed we did between schools, which helped). His handwriting is still much more of the wobbly spider variety though!

MoreBeta Sat 06-Aug-11 20:05:45

At Primary schol I learned to print first then switched to cursive in Yr 3. When DSs were introduced to cursive in Reception I was very dubious but the teacher said it was far better than relearning how to write in Yr 3 as I had to do.

Both DSs dohave beautiful cursive writing styles now - but I always struggled to do it and have reverted to quasi printing as an adult. In future, when we all use keyboards so much I doubt it will really matter.

In fact, I rarely write at all now and would dearly love to have learned to touch type properly at school. I really would like my DSs to learn to touch type and do shorthand by the time they leave school. One school I know does this.

stopkickingthatmackerel Sat 06-Aug-11 20:29:56

Twinklypearls Don't believe the "it will hold them back in terms of levels" rubbish. I have a DD who is left-handed and her handwriting - printing - is a bit slapdash but didn't stop her from getting a 3 in writing in year 2.

Elibean Sat 06-Aug-11 21:07:49


The French school system teaches cursive from the beginning, so half my family has done this - the other half (me and my dds included) have done/are doing the print first system.

To be honest, in the long run it doesn't seem to have made much difference. The French kids struggle with writing at YR and Y1 levels and start to pick up and enjoy it more at Y2 level, whereas the English system kids seem to be fine printing then have that 'dip' moving into cursive, then catch up again.

The 'dip' may matter to anyone particularly focussed on writing ability at that age/stage, but I doubt it matters in the long term.

twinklypearls Sat 06-Aug-11 22:44:25

It doesn't seem to have held her back yet, I wondered if they meant in tests at the end of year 6.

mrz Sun 07-Aug-11 07:51:03

Joined handwriting is faster so in terms of KS2 SATs may make a difference. Friends who are markers say they mark texts with good handwriting first because they are easier/clearer to find if the question has been answered /content ... whether this has any influence on actual marks ???

IndigoBell Sun 07-Aug-11 08:38:20

I researched it once, and there is a correlation between using joined up writing and getting good grades at GCSE. I think mainly because it's faster so they have time to write more....

And I'm sure you get more marks if your handwriting is neater, because the marker can't help unconsciously thinking the writers a bit dim if they have writing as bad as my DS. And what's even worse, you lose this bias in teacher assessment, and it only features in externally marked exams - when it really matters sad

mrz Sun 07-Aug-11 14:35:52

It helps children’s writing to be clear,fluent legible and fast.
Having a lead in and out stroke avoids confusion about where to begin letter formation.
This has also proved beneficial for children with poor hand control and for dyslexic children.
The pencil does not often need to be lifted from the page – this reinforces phonic and spelling patterns.

Dorje Sun 07-Aug-11 14:45:54

Our school starts cursive with ink pens in third year. Civil service font. Takes three weeks for competence apparently, and no hassle or (self) labelling as being useless at school...

Where I am student's get marks for answers that are legible, but get extra % added to their results if they do higher maths in their uni entrance exams.

Cursive writing style isn't essential to having an academic / medical (!) or professional career, especially as most students use computers in secondary and tertiary education, and submit essays / projects via email.

Does your DS type?

mrz Sun 07-Aug-11 14:54:16

The ability to write quickly is helpful when taking notes in lectures however and cursive is normally much faster than printing.

gazzalw Sun 07-Aug-11 16:16:04

Personally think it's too much for little ones to learn. DS picked it up really quickly when it was introduced when he was about 8 - he now has amazingly neat handwriting - at least as far as school work is concerned.

DD is finding it difficult and some of the letters such as an 'i' ends up looking like a wonky anchor....they cannot even form their letters that easily in Reception to expect them to be looping from the off is really too much - just makes their writing even less legible...

I find that ultra scruffy adult writing often correlates with intelligence as Dorje intimates.

In an era in which handwriting is used less and less I fail to understand why schools still make such a big deal about it...

mrz Sun 07-Aug-11 16:27:02

In an era in which handwriting is used less and less I fail to understand why schools still make such a big deal about it...

Having a lead in and out stroke avoids confusion about where to begin letter formation.
This has also proved beneficial for children with poor hand control and for dyslexic children.
The pencil does not often need to be lifted from the page – this reinforces phonic and spelling patterns.

mrz Sun 07-Aug-11 16:32:33

Prevents reversals and confusion of letters

The letters "b and d", "f and t", "g, q and p" are confusing for young children. In cursive, writing the letter "b and d" require a huge difference in directionality.

Cursive handwriting reduces errors because of the continuous flow of writing. In print, the child picks up the pencil from the paper to start a new letter in a word, thus the potential for mistakes is higher.

In a cursive writing, the incorporation of movement, pressure and visual processing is a bit multifaceted. This augments visual spacial and coordination skills. In writing lowercase letters in print, six strokes are required against three movements in cursive writing. Fluent movement is developed.

In cursive, the flow of writing moves from left to right. It teaches spatial discipline. In print, the child's handwritings are difficult to discern. The spaces between words are so tight. It is hard to tell where the words begin and end.

In print, the left-handed child proceeds to write printing from left to right but will cover what he has written with his arms. This is called the hook position. In cursive writing, the left-handed child learns to write from bottom up and turns the paper clockwise causing great comfort and legibility.

The child will be able to write faster. The student can get his or her ideas on paper quicker. It can also be advantageous in taking notes from lectures.

Elibean Sun 07-Aug-11 17:09:07

I can see its usefulness. I still think its debatable as to whether starting cursive in Reception or later is best, though.

mrz Sun 07-Aug-11 17:11:33

Personally I think reception is too early but some schools find it very workable

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