Our son, Jerry, is in kindergarten this year and is doing well in reading and math, but HATES penmanship. Jerry is a lot like his Momma when it comes to learning style. We learn best in a "hands-on" environment and not so much in a "you-listen-while-I-teach" environment. Jerry, like me, also does not like doing something he can't do well. The boy can scale from his loft bed, across his window ledge and onto his bookshelf like a panther, but has trouble making a straight line. So, printing isn't his strong suit.
One day a few weeks ago, he begged to learn cursive. I thought, "Why not research it?" Well, I found out that until the 30's and 40's children were taught cursive first and printing later. It also made sense to me that if a child naturally learns how to make circles and curvy lines first, cursive should be easier. After looking around I found a very affordable curriculum called "Cursive First".
We just started the curriculum last week and Jerry is excited. It takes a "hand-on" approach which appeals to a more tactile learner like Jerry. Before using a pencil, he first learns proper formation of his numerals and letters by making them in the air. For instance, the number eight -- "Begin at at 2 on the clock, go UP and OVER to 10, slide across to 4, curve down and around to 8 and finish by making a straight line back up to 2." As we say the steps, we make the number 8 in the air. Next we trace it on a picture of a clock with our finger. Then we get to use the salt box. Jerry loves the salt box!
Note: To make a salt box, take a shoe box or photo box. put the lid on the bottom of the box and trace around it. Next cut the box along the line you just made. Then glue black paper in the bottom. When the glue is dry, pour in the salt. You just need enough to cover the bottom. Now the child can make his letters in the salt while saying the steps.
Once Jerry can make the letter without saying the steps out loud, its time for paper. The curriculum is completely reproducible and so it can be used for all your children. It is also VERY affordable. "Cursive First" leaves out all the unnecessary and sometime overwhelming frills. The work sheets are only half page each. Which allows me to enlarge them for five-year-old hands.
For those of you who are trying to teach lefties, I also found out that cursive is easier for a left-handed student to learn than print.
"Cursive First" is only $20! It was designed to work along with a phonics/spelling based reading program called "Spell to Read and Write". I already have an excellent phonics program that was given to me so I'm just using "Cursive First." It would work well with any phonics-based program or on its own.
If you have taught your children cursive from the beginning, I would love to hear how it went. If you're interested in "Cursive First", just click here. I'll update you as Jerry progresses and let you all know how the program turns out.