Tagged: Cursive First;
Has anyone used Cursive First?
Thanks & have a beautiful weekend!
I have used this with great success. My 8 dd started at 5 and within a couple of months had beautiful handwriting. She’s proud that her writing is MUCH better than her daddy’s.
I must say I wish it were a workbook or even an e-book format, b/c I hate copying sheets.
Thanks for your response, missceegee!
I went ahead and purchased this and will be using it with my 8yo ds, who is already fluent in manuscript.
Now that I have the manual sitting in front of me, it seems a bit cumbersome for me to teach. How have you used this? Could you give me a little rundown? Do you also use the phonogram cards? You can private message me if you’d like.
Thanks & look forward to hearing from you.
I used SWR (Spell to Write and Read) to teach my dd to read and that IS CUMBERSOME, but very effective. I was already using the phonogram cards w/ SWR, so it was just intro. the cursive forms.
I am now using it with my 5 yo ds and I do use the cards and have him verbalize what he’s doing per the script on the cards. ie. “Start at the baseline, make a short uphill stroke, up and over to 2 on the clock. Stop. Without lifting your pencil, make a clockface stroke back around to 2 and finish with a connector.”
We’ve only done a and c in the past 4 months or so, but I do find the verbalizing helps. We’ve used gross motor movements, a large clock face, sidewalk chalk and a salt box. His favorite is sidewalk chalk, but we only do this every other week or so.
After we’ve done it with the cards and gross motor, I move on to the worksheets and he only does 1 or 2 lines at a time b/c of his age. My dd moved much faster, but her fine motor skills were better.
I’m teaching cursive before manuscript b/c I really find that it is easier for them to learn. There are no letter reversal issues, spacing btw. words is not a problem and they learn to read cursive easily.
I’ve bought everything for this from – HWT (hate the look of it, but love it’s simplicity), Loops and Groups (didn’t like), abeka (didn’t like), a software program that I’ve forgotten the name of (great in theory, but not in application).
In a perfect world, I’d find a workbook, already made, that has easy clear instructions like the HWT workbooks, but with pretty writing like Cursive First. I even played around with making my own, but gave up after driving myself loony over it. Until then, I work through Cursive First b/c it makes it easy to understand for the kids and doable for me, plus I don’t hate it like some of the others I’ve tried that are now collecting dust.
I have recently discovered New American Cursive, but haven’t bought or tried it. It looks interesting, but I don’t care for the formation of a few of the letters.
My favorite thing that I’ve seen, but haven’t bought b/c it isn’t available for Mac computers is Pencil Pete. Google it, it’s very cool software where the pencil demos exactly how to make letters over and over again. I would buy this in a heartbeat if it worked on my Mac!
Thanks so much for getting back with me. You’ve been a big help! I think this might just be doable.
One more question, however. When my ds starts doing cursive first, do you think he should still be writing in manuscript in his other writings? I’m afraid of the confusion and thought of just stopping all manuscript until cursive is fluent. Do you think this would be realistic?
I’m sorry for the delay. We quit all manuscript cold turkey and did cursive practice 2 times per day for a couple of weeks. By that time she had learned all of the letter formation and all of her work was in cursive from that point on. Her handwriting is really very nice. For my 5 yo ds, we’re just starting and he can only make the cursive ‘a’ consistently, but he’s never been taught manuscript and is just now interested in writing even his name. This may not work for you, but it’s what we did.
Thanks a lot, Christie!
This information is helpful, Christie!
I want to teach cursive first and am weighing the pros and cons of Cursive First vs. A Beka. What didn’t you like about A Beka? Does it use the clock face? I think I’m leaning toward Cursive First and SWR.
Hi Joyful Mama, love your profile name!
The two things that I didn’t like about Abeka were that the clock face letters start on the midline instead of the baseline and that the line size is HUGE! It’s easier for even young ones to use smaller lines so that they aren’t drawing their letters instead of writing them. I like the consistency of all lowercase letters starting at the same place.
With that said, I still wish cursive first was in a clean workbook style as I dislike making copies. In fact, I’ve just ordered 2 new cursive workbooks to look at – we’ll see. I love the way the Handwriting without Tears workbooks are laid out and the style so clean and uncluttered, but I don’t care for the cursive font. Ideally, cursive first would be in a similar format, but I continue to search. Someday, I may just make my own!
I used SWR w/ my oldest and it was very effective, but very time consuming. We’ve looked at every O-G based phonics program and bought most of them, but I’m now using All About Spelling just for the simplicity. There is an active SWR group on yahoo that may be helpful at times.
I am probably going to be purchasing Cursive First, I really like the concept, but had a question first. I have been teaching my younger children the alphabet sounds by site – and they are printed. How do kids do with knowing their ABCs visually in print form, but learn to write them in cursive?
They learn them as they learn to write them. Cursive First comes with a set of cursive phonogram cards and we review them just as we review the print ones. Neither of my kids have had difficulty with this and both learn to read print and cursive at the same time with no problem.
Thanks! That’s exactly what I was needing to know.
I wanted to comment on the conversation about Cursive First. I am looking at teaching my Kindergartner cursive, and am liking Cursive First. She already knows manuscript (I used Handwriting Without Tears).
I wanted to share with Christie that I found a way around the copying dilemna. I wanted her to be able to redo a HWT page as many times as necessary, so I copied each page once and then slid it into a plastic sheath. She uses dry erase markers and does her practice. We found some fine point dry erase markers. We just wipe it off after she is done. It has been wonderful and eliminated the need to make multiple copies. You wouldn’t even have to copy, but just cut the plastic sheath to slide onto the page in the book. I secure the sheath and paper with one of those really strong paper clips that acts like a vice. I don’t know their official name, but you can secure thick stacks of paper at once with them.
I know that they also need to practice on paper, but you could just use lined paper for that, or even make your own lined paper on the computer. That’s really easy to do, and the lines could be as small or big as you wanted. Then you could just print off sheets as needed.
Hope this gives you some ideas around the copying problem so you can still use Cursive First.
Also, I am planning on using Spell to Read and Write or The Writing Road to Reading (which is the program that Wanda Sanseri first used and taught, and then used to create her own program (SRW) by changing some things, but keeping the essential aspects like the phonograms, spelling rules, and spelling lists). I just wanted to let you know that my friend who uses SRW doesn’t do all the extra things Wanda lays out. She taught the phonograms, then does the spelling lists. Its not very cumbersome when you do just that, but you still get the value of the program. Just an idea.
I am considering switching to Cursive First, but I have a question that some of you may be able to answer. Is there any stroke practice included in the curriculum? I would like to start my kids with practicing the basic overcurve/ undercurve strokes like my grandparents did. The curriculum description says it includes “detailed instruction and dialogue for teaching numerals, cursive strokes and the first 26 phonograms,” but I can find no other details on it.
The Cursive First program does NOT includ basic strokes…
We started with the Cursive First program, and ended up not liking it. I’ve switched to Peterson Directed Handwriting, which has a cursive first option. My son just finished all the letters, and has beautiful handwriting – when he uses it. I’m hoping that copywork now will help with him using it all the time….
Peterson Directed Handwriting does start with basic strokes. over curve, under curve… and (for the cursive) it teaches 4 basic strokes that make up (with a few variations) all the lower case cursive letters… “sharp top, loop top, round top, roll top”…. and teaches the children to build muscle memory. It also recommends having “fluency tests” periodically to actually measure how quickly they write legibly.
The cursive first option of Peterson is available as PDF files that you can print from. Because I have 2 different aged kids, I got both Step 1 and Step 2… and found them useful to use together. Step 1 has the big letters to “finger trace” (as the first step of building the muscle memory)… and just had them alphabetical with the idea that you would use them in whatever order your reading program teaches letters…. but both my kids read that i wanted to use it with. Step 2 is meant for a 6 or 7 yo, and has the letters in the order easiest to learn to write. So that is the order I’ve used with the kids. My now 7yo, as I said, just finished it up and although he needs refinement, is writing fairly well. My just barely 5yo, who is left-handed, is struggling with the letters – I’m not sure if it is because she is left-handed (which Peterson gives lots of information on teaching left-handed kids on their website, etc.) or because she is so young, or both… sigh
Anyway – that is my recommendation. There is lots of information on their website, and I phoned with some questions before starting, and he talked to me for quite a while showing me things… I think their program is much better than the “Cursive First” program I bought before it!
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