penmanship question-manuscript then Cursive First

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  • Rachel White

    Which printing style is closer to the Cursive First? My children need a little more practice on the printing to neaten it up, but I want to transition into the Cursive First. It seems that D’Nealian’s print would make for a good transition. I like the style of CF (except for the Q, which I will teach them differently), it’s not completely slanted or loopy(which my hubby doesn’t like) and it will suit my son’s ZB manuscript training and my dd’s HWT training; I want them both on the same program to simplify my life.

    Also, I’m hoping it will help my son like writing better. When looking at the fonts, they both chose CF as a preference.

    Thanks, Rachel

    Sonya Shafer

    I haven’t had any experience with Cursive First, so I’m not much help here. Anybody else have an opinion?



    I would suggest going directly into Cursive First or whatever cursive you choose. It is not necessary to have a transitional style of writing, in fact, I’d say that you’re just making it more difficult.

    My dd9 used HWT and had great manuscript (around age 4-5). Around age 5-6, she asked to learn cursive. I used the Cursive First program and in a couple of months (we did 2 very short lessons per day), she had mastered all of the cursive and said, “Mommy, this is so much easier. Why didn’t we just start with this?” 

    This prompted me to research where I learned that until the 1950s or so, cursive was always taught from the beginning and those generations had lovely penmanship. We often learn best what we learn first, is true in this case. 

    With my son who is 6, I began with cursive at age 5 and he has terrific penmanship. Again, we do a few minutes most days and that’s it. With him, I used a program called Pencil Pete with the same success that I had previously with Cursive First. Here is a sample of his writing – sample.

    Bear in mind, my kids have no delays of any kind, nor are they exceptional in their studies, just average kids using the habits of attention and perfect execution. 

    Hope this helps,


    Rachel White


    How is their manuscript writing? If they haven’t done any, wht are you going to use to teach it?



    Rachel –

    My goal is fluent, lovely cursive. It’s what I expect them to use mostly in life. I only use manuscript printing for filling in forms.

    DD9 has great manuscript from using Handwriting Without Tears at age 4-5. DS6 – I’ve never taught him, but he makes them on his own pretty well from observation, I guess. I suppose I could hand him a HWT workbook in manuscript, but I don’t really see the need at this point. Eventually, when he’s old enough to need manuscript for filling out forms for some purpose, he can very quickly learn it properly w/ a HWT book. Otherwise, it’s cursive for everything here.Smile



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