Today’s cursive style is easier to read and write, with a focus on legibility taking higher priority than curly-swirly style, and a new teaching focus on efficient letter formation instead of grueling repetition. Cursive handwriting education has taken a twirl for the better, this isn’t your grandfather’s cursive!
Interestingly, most adults develop a personalized, hybrid style that meshes cursive and printing. In order to develop that hybrid style we need to be taught both elements – printing and cursive. Even still, as much as 45% of an older elementary student’s instructional day is spent on handwritten schoolwork and because of this students need not to just master handwriting, they need to master cursive as well.
So how can we as parents make our child’s cursive education as fun and informative as possible? Let’s start by getting their little muscles ready! Picking up small pieces of food such as Cheerios, popping bubble wrap, finding hidden pennies in play dough, and even playing on the monkey bars at the park are great ways to flex their little muscles and develop the fine motor skills necessary for cursive handwriting.
Developing a fine motor skill set is only the start of cursive education, maintaining cursive practice can be hard, especially as your children age. What better way to incentivize practice than with food? Make cookie letters. Have your child form the letters by rolling the dough and putting the pieces together or you can even help your child form letters out of French Fries, licorice, carrot sticks or pipe cleaners. It’s guaranteed your child will look forward to the practice almost as much as they look forward to the yummy treats.
Something that kids love almost as much as food is creating arts and crafts. You can make learning cursive fun and creative by adding an aspect of art to handwriting. Write letters in the snow, sand or a thick carpet – or with chalk on the sidewalk, finger paints, shaving cream, or icing tubes. Use different types of pencils for writing practice (gel pens, colored pencils, scented markers, crayons, etc.). Or for the more ambitious child, decorate a letter collage using glitter, puffy paint, and markers. Journaling is perfect for handwriting practice and with the bullet journaling trend emerging, kids can use a journal as an outlet for their feelings, their creativity and their more rigorous handwriting practice.
As you can see, cursive handwriting can be fun but it is also very rewarding. The main teacher complaint when grading assignments is that they can’t grade an assignment because they can’t read their student’s handwriting! Your child can be very intelligent, driven and prideful with their work but if they lack the basics of handwriting, if they do not have an ease and comfort with speedy, legible cursive then they are at a distinct disadvantage.
On Behalf of Handwriting Without Tears