Why cursive?

Cursive is a forgotten subject. Some feel there is no need to teach handwriting in the computer age. However, I tell students that they need to learn cursive for two reasons:

  1. They need to know how to sign their name (gotta cash those checks!)
  2. They might choose to write in cursive because it is quicker for them than printing.

Students in Room 130 learn the Zaner-Bloser method of cursive:

How it works

Fourth grade students will be provided with cursive practice pages each week, due on Friday. Limited time will be provided in class to work on cursive. Most students will find that they need to finish the work at home. Once the class has completed a review of upper and lower case cursive letters, students will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of cursive by writing ten cursive sentences of seven or more words each. Fifth grade students will not review cursive letter formation formally; rather, their work will consist of cursive practice and review with weekly sentences.

Those students that choose not to complete the cursive work before Friday will finish the work during their recess. Periodically, students will be given cursive quizzes, which ask students to write four sentences in cursive. The sentences are composed almost entirely of spelling words┬áso that students won’t be distracted by unknown spellings. The handwriting will be graded on a four point scale (see below). Marking period cursive grades are assigned based on the results of the cursive quiz grades.

Getting a grade

How to help

Many students have a good grasp of cursive by the time they reach fourth grade. But there is also a fair number that will benefit from extra practice. Cursive is like any skill; improvement only comes with regular practice, not just a knowledge of the letters.

With this in mind, you can help your student improvement their cursive in just a few minutes a night. First, make sure your student has completed, or is in the process of completing, the weekly cursive assignment. Look it over, and if you find mistakes, model the correct way to form the letters and write the word(s). Then have your student follow your example a few times before making corrections on the assignment.

Beyond the assignment, use the resources below, or just have your student write a few sentences in cursive. Have your student use wide-ruled paper if possible, and stress using the margins and correct letter height. Keep this time to around five minutes. Regular practice is the key, but prolonged practice will lead to frustration (for you and your student!).

Another idea: make it a game! Challenge your student to balance speed against neatness. Pick a sentence of the week. Each night, time your student to see how long it takes them to correctly and neatly write the sentence. Try it again that same night, or the next night to see if the neatness can grow and the time and shrink!


This page last updated August 24, 2011 @ 10:54 am.