The very first thing that children learn at school is writing, and more specifically, cursive writing. So, how can parents aid their kids in mastering this task?
What is cursive writing?
To put it simply, cursive writing is a technique of joining the letters together to form words. There are two distinct types of it: the fully (continuous) cursive writing and the partly cursive writing.
The fully cursive writing is when you use one single pen line to finish a word (every letter is stringed together). While in partly cursive writing, only most of the letters are tied together, not all.
Cursive writing makes writing faster and takes less effort. Besides, it is easier to read words in cursive writing.
Why do your kids need to learn cursive writing?
Cursive writing is beneficial to kids in a lot of ways. Generally, cursive writing speeds up children’s writing. It also helps the kid with spelling by imprinting the words in their brains.
A common case is that parents often teach kids alphabets in print style, then switch to cursive writing when it comes to handwriting. This can lead to kids’ confusion and trouble in identifying letters and words.
So, parents can teach children the alphabet in cursive writing first. Cursive handwriting is also easier to remember since it has fewer strokes comparing to print manners.
Furthermore, cursive writing is also easier for children to reproduce by joining the words together with one single flow. What is more, cursive writing helps the kids to avoid wrong spacing between words and letters.
Good posture for the kids and the paper, too
Bad sitting posture can potentially cause negative effects on the kid’s health and also his handwriting. Therefore, parents should mind their kids’ posture when teaching them writing.
Correct sitting posture for handwriting will enhance the speed of cursive writing. Besides, it will help the cursive handwriting become neater.
Another thing that parents should pay attention to is the paper angle. Children have a tendency to keep the paper vertically aligned, but it is not quite right to do so.
Ideally, the paper should be aligned slightly to one side, so the writer’s hand can comfortably move along with the margin of the paper. The angle will depend on each child’s preference, but the recommendation is 45 degrees.
Writing beautifully is not that important
Cursive writing is often associated with beautiful and neat handwriting. However, it is not reasonable to expect from children at an early age.
Even though holding a pen and writing words on the paper seem like obviously easy tasks to adults, they require good holding and moving skills from young kids.
For beginners in cursive writing, it is common to see haphazard, uneven or out-of-the-line letters on the paper. Asking for perfect cursive words from kids is almost impossible.
Instead of criticizing how bad the handwriting looks, parents should encourage their children to practice more. Gradually, the cursive writing of the kids will improve at their own pace.
Choosing the right pen and paper
In cursive writing teaching, getting your kids the right tools is of utmost importance. Good pen and paper can make cursive writing much easier for children.
If your kids start with a pencil, soft-tip ones like B pencils are easier to use and can produce fluent smooth pen strokes. Or if pens are required, felt-tip and gel pens with fluid ink delivery are relatively easy to handle.
For paper, blank sheets of paper are actually hard for children to write cursively. Lined or dotted papers are good choices for beginners.
These types of paper will help your kids’ handwriting becomes uniformed, straight and in place.
Practice makes perfect
Again and again, labor will bear fruition. It is rare for any child to master cursive writing in one day.
Typically, cursive writing can only be acquired through painstakingly slow progress. Starting with rough and uneven letters, children need to practice every day to get a good shape of cursive words.
Even for adults, a long time without writing can also affect negatively their handwriting. Therefore, it is important that your kids can spend a bit of their time to practice cursive writing.
But don’t make cursive writing a boring task, let’s make it an interesting one. You can link the letters’ shapes to animals to illustrates how to write beautifully.
Or parents can also ask their kids to write diaries or letters to friends and relatives. They are good ways to entertain children and let them practice cursive writing.
Cursive writing worksheets that allow the children to trace and color the letters are good too. Sometimes, changing a new pen color can make cursive writing a game to the little ones.
The alphabet is not the order of teaching in cursive writing
In cursive writing, we don’t start with a, b and c together. It is more advantageous to group letters with similar movements to teach children how to write cursively.
Every letter in cursive writing has its own way of movements and strokes. Therefore, by grouping letters with similar movements, children can learn better.
Besides, it would also allow kids to keep practicing certain types of pen strokes and movements before moving to the next. So they would get a hang of them consequently, and make their cursive writing neater.
Cursive writing is not limited to the paper
Paper and pen may be the most popular tools for cursive writing, but they are not the only ones. Cursive writing can be practiced on most of the surfaces with a variety of tools for writing.
For example, chalk and blackboard is a good pair for cursive writing. They can be found and bought in every stationery store.
Writing by chalk is considerably slower than by pen, but children will get better control of the movement. And the blackboard is erasable, thus kids can write over and over on it, or correct the mistakes easily.
Cursive writing does not have to be inside the classroom or at home. It can be on the sand with a stick, or on the palm with finger tracing the shape of a letter.
As long as parents can help kids remember the shape and the movement of the letters, cursive writing can be taught everywhere and by whatever you can imagine.
Teaching cursive writing to children is actually not a difficult task. Even though you are not confident about your own handwriting, you can still teach them well with a lot of methods. Just remember to be creative, encouraging and helpful to your kids!