How to Teach Cursive Handwriting to Your Child

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Cursive handwriting, also known as longhand or script, is a handwriting style where the letters are joined to increase writing speed. In this writing style, the aim is to reduce the number of times a person lifts their pen. As a result, they are able to write much faster in comparison to non-cursive handwriting styles.

Importance of Cursive Handwriting

An attorney transcribing a law dictionary onto a notebook in cursive handwriting.

Learning cursive handwriting is one of the fundamental skills a child needs to develop. According to researchers, it helps to build cognitive skills and develop sensory-motor skills.

In today’s digital era, typing is gradually taking over handwriting. Handwriting, however, remains of paramount importance & your child’s ability to write the cursive alphabet will greatly assist their handwriting.

Teaching cursive and encouraging your child to hone handwriting skills will benefit them in the long term. And when we talk about handwriting, cursive handwriting is the key to accelerating the process. But what exactly are the benefits of cursive handwriting? Let us find out.

Benefits of Learning Cursive Handwriting

selective focus of child holding fathers day greeting card behind back while standing in front of

There are plenty of reasons why you should teach your child cursive handwriting. Some of them are as follows:

Increases the Pace of Writing

Writing in cursive helps to increase the speed and makes the note-taking process faster. In cursive style writing, using cursive letters improves the speed as the pen does not lift frequently compared to printed handwriting.

A faster pace of writing also helps to increase attention while writing. The higher pace is also beneficial in academic settings for completing writing tasks on time.

Kid's hands writing in open notebook, top view, copy space

Develops Better Hand-Eye Coordination

Cursive writing is beneficial for those who struggle to develop hand-eye coordination. Writing in cursive helps to develop both visual and kinesthetic skills.

Accelerates Fine Motor Skills

Practicing cursive handwriting improves fine motor skills. When kids regularly practice writing in cursive, they naturally involve the exercise of fine motor.

Strong fine motor skills, as we all know, go a long way in helping an individual to reflect their best in all the major spheres of life. This leads to a boost in one’s independence and self-esteem.

Back to School chalk

Improves Sensory Processing Skills

Learning and practicing cursive handwriting also helps to develop sensory processing skills.

During the process, kids get an idea about the required force in writing, right angle and position of the writing utensils, motor planning to form the letters correctly, proper movement of the hand, and other visual and tactile processing skills.

Therefore, the sensory processing automatically improves with learning cursive.

Enhances Spelling and Legibility

In cursive writing, children need to write from left to right. Doing so helps them to write joining the letters in a flow with proper spacing and maintained sequence.

This makes the handwriting more legible and attractive. It also helps to improve spelling with the help of muscle memory.

Practicing cursive enables the hand to acquire the memory of spelling patterns. It becomes achievable because of repetitive fluid movements through cursive writing style.

Increases Memorization

Exercising cursive helps to improve retention. As the process incorporates visual input, it becomes easier to memorize things that are in writing.

A study in Psychology Today documented that a group of college students were able to memorize information much better when they wrote a paragraph down in cursive style than when they typed or printed it.

Helps in Overcoming Learning Disorders

Cursive handwriting can be beneficial for children with learning disorders such as dysgraphia and dyslexia (Wydell & Fern-Pollak, 2012).

Printed letters can often appear to be confusing to some kids. However, teaching cursive handwriting can help kids to overcome difficulties with reading, writing, and understanding.

Improves the Neural Connections

When an individual practices cursive handwriting, it stimulates the brain in a way that improves the dynamic engagement of both the right and left sides of the brain. It helps to develop brain connections and enhance intellectual potential.

In this context, Virginia Berninger, a Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Washington and a researcher stated: “Pictures of brain activity have illustrated that sequential finger movements used in handwriting activated massive regions of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory.

Handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential finger strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding only involves touching a key.”

Table top view of child hands writing doing homework on math at home.

The Right Age to Introduce Cursive Handwriting

Cursive handwriting is a great way to improve your child’s overall cognitive development. The ideal age for introducing kids to cursive handwriting by the age of eight years.

When your child achieves mastery in reading and forming the letter efficiently without just copying it, they can be considered as ready to grasp the cursive style of handwriting.

In many cases, children aged five years are introduced to cursive handwriting depending. This, of course, is dependent on their readiness.

How To Teach Cursive Handwriting

Introduce the Right Grasp

It is important for your child to learn the correct pencil grasp at first. A developed pencil grasp will reduce pain and fatigue during writing tasks, and thus improve handwriting.

Teaching correct pencil grasp early on is important as it will help children automatically hold the pencil using the correct grasp and therefore can focus on what they are writing instead.

You can show them how to hold a pen or pencil with a tripod grasp and guide them to do the same. This can be a time-taking process. So, it is important to be patient and guide your child to practice consistently to achieve efficiency.

Supply The Required Tools

Choosing the correct writing utensil plays an important role to achieve the right writing grasp. Provide them with some options of writing tools to choose from according to their comfort.

If the writing tools bother your kids, they will end up focusing on the tool more than the process of writing. In this context, it is necessary to mention that a pencil is a good option to start practicing writing as the mistakes can be fixed with just an eraser stroke.

One Letter at A Time

Learning the cursive style is almost similar to learning the entire alphabet once again. So, each letter needs proper attention.

The best way is to introduce the letters one by one and focus on the formation of each letter.

Before heading towards the next letter, make sure that your kids are able to form the letter efficiently, only then you should move forward to teach them the next one.

However, instead of focusing on learning letters in alphabetical order, it is important to group learning letters together.

Start With Similar Letters

Teaching cursive writing will be easier if you introduce letters that look similar. For this, you can make your own worksheets or use commercial ones.

For example, you can make your child start practicing the cursive style with letters like o, g, c, etc. It is recommended to start with lower case letters that are similar in letter formation (i.e. where they start).

Start teaching the simplest letters followed by the complex ones. When your kids learn to form the lower case letters in cursive style correctly, introduce the uppercase letters.

After this, you can teach older kids to combine both upper and lowercase letters in cursive to form a complete sentence. Through this process, your child can grasp cursive letter writing efficiently and be able to possess mastery over it.

Practicing Rewriting

Once your child accomplishes learning to write all the letters in both upper and lower case and is able to make sentences by combining them in a cursive style, it is practice time.

Provide them with some simple sentences and instruct them to write the sentences in cursive on a daily basis. After observing the expected result, you can teach them to write shorter and longer paragraphs. Regular practice will enhance the proficiency of writing in cursive.

Using Cursive Workbook

Here are a few cursive workbooks and worksheets that help teach cursive writing:

Cursive Workbook for Kids

Cursive Handwriting Workbook for Kids

Jokes and Riddles

A dot to dot version

Summary

Cursive handwriting helps our brain to perform better when it comes to learning and memorizing.

Children who write in cursive are observed to be better spellers. It improves one’s penmanship, legibility, and ability to read any format of writing, and also develops self-esteem and self-confidence.

The effort to learn cursive at their developmental stage amplifies your child’s handwriting and overall cognitive skills. In short, the cursive style of handwriting improves one’s writing dexterity.

Whilst saying this, it is important to remember that a kid’s cursive letter formation and cursive letters are individualized to the child. Too much practice on handwriting practice can turn a child away from writing skills activities altogether, so just be consistent and don’t push too hard.

So, we can conclude that teaching your child to write in cursive has numerous benefits including cognitive, mental, and physical development, leading to better overall growth.

References

7 Effective Ways to Teach Cursive Writing for Preschoolers & Kids. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/how-to-teach-cursive-writing-to-preschooler-and-kids-7-strategies/

By What Age Are Most Children Ready to Master Cursive Writing? (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://education.seattlepi.com/age-children-ready-master-cursive-writing-3938.html

Cursive Handwriting (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://www.twinkl.co.in/teaching-wiki/cursive-handwriting

Cursive Handwriting: How Important Is It? – Ideas & Insights Articles – Montessori Services. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://www.montessoriservices.com/ideas-insights/cursive-handwriting-how-important-is-it

How to Teach Cursive Writing to Children – Teacher Habits. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://teacherhabits.com/how-to-teach-cursive-writing-to-children/

Top 10 Reasons to Learn Cursive – Memoria Press. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/top-10-reasons-to-learn-cursive/

The importance of cursive writing. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://spokeonline.com/2020/04/the-importance-of-cursive-writing/

Why Do We Need Cursive Writing? | The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://ocvt.info/why-do-we-need-cursive-writing/

Why Writing by Hand Could Make You Smarter. (2022). Retrieved 6 January 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/memory-medic/201303/why-writing-hand-could-make-you-smarter

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