Before beginning, the teacher should decide which form of handwriting is best for the student. We encourage teachers and parents to read our blog article Why Teach Cursive First? We also suggest that you consider the following three questions:
- Does the student struggle with fine-motor activities? If the student struggles with fine-motor skills, it is helpful to begin with cursive. Cursive handwriting requires significantly fewer fine-motor movements than manuscript. The pencil does not need to be lifted up and down between letters. Placing the pencil to begin each letter is greatly simplified by the fact that all lowercase cursive letters start on the baseline. In comparison, manuscript letters begin in seven or eight different places.
- Does the child show signs of reversing letters while reading and writing? If the student has demonstrated confusion about the direction of b's and d's, or p's and q's, cursive can be very helpful in minimizing the issue. Cursive handwriting naturally emphasizes the direction of reading and writing, from left to right. Furthermore, it is difficult to reverse b's and d's and p's and q's in cursive.
- Does the child attend a school where manuscript handwriting is taught? If a parent or tutor is using Foundations to supplement a reading program at school, we suggest matching the handwriting style to that of the school to minimize confusion.
Cursive and Manuscript Comparison
|All lower-case cursive letters begin on the baseline.||Lower-case manuscript (print) letters begin in 7 places.|
|You pick up the pencil only between words with cursive.||You pick up the pencil between each letter with manuscript (printing).|
|In cursive, it is impossible to put too much space between letters within a word and too little space between words.||In manuscript (printing) too much space is commonly placed between letters within a word and too little space between words.|
|Cursive emphasizes where words begin and end.||Students who begin with manuscript (printing) are commonly confused about where words begin and end.|
|It is difficult to reverse b's and d's in cursive.||Reversals are common in manuscript (printing).|
|Historically cursive was taught first.||Manuscript (printing) has only been taught first for the last 80 years.|
|In Europe and Eastern European countries cursive is taught from the beginning.||Manuscript (printing) is taught only for drafting or not at all in most non-English speaking countries.|
|Cursive was designed for the human hand.||Manuscript (printing) was designed for the printing press.|
In Foundations, the A and B Teacher's Manuals include instructions for both cursive and manuscript, so that they may be used with either style. The Foundations Student Workbooks A and B and several of the supplements are specific to the handwriting style the student is learning.
Rhythm of Handwriting books are also available in either handwriting style.