Starting with Manuscript or Cursive
Foundations and Rhythm of Handwriting both offer instruction for teaching handwriting in two styles: cursive and manuscript.
Should I teach manuscript or cursive handwriting?
- 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.
- Does the student struggle with fine-motor activities? If the student struggles with fine-motor skills, it is helpful to begin with cursive handwriting instruction. Cursive handwriting requires significantly fewer fine-motor movements than manuscript.
- Does the child show signs of reversing letters while reading and writing? If the student has demonstrated confusion when writing b's and d's, or p's and q's, cursive can be very helpful because it emphasizes the direction of reading and writing.
- Have you already begun teaching one handwriting style, and it is working well? If you have already started teaching handwriting and the lessons are going well, changing handwriting styles is unnecessary. Because handwriting is the kinesthetic representation of our language, changing handwriting styles may slow down learning how to read.
Cursive and Manuscript Comparison
|All lower-case cursive letters begin at the baseline.||Lower-case manuscript letters begin in seven different places.|
|You pick up the pencil only between words when using cursive handwriting||You must pick up the pencil between each letter when using manuscript handwriting.|
|Cursive letters are connected with connector strokes. Explicit instruction must be given in how to connect cursive letters.||Manuscript letters are not connected. Explicit instruction must be given in spacing between letters and between words.|
|It is difficult to reverse b's and d's in cursive because their initial stroke in cursive is different.||Some manuscript letters mirror each other they may be easily reversed.|