We started with manuscript printing to learn the ABC’s because I didn't know anyone who wasn't. Once I found Don Potter's web site and began to browse around a bit, I found this article about starting handwriting with cursive to prvent whole word dyslexia. In the article I learned:
Cursive helps reading: Many letters in print are alike, like “b” and “d”. In cursive the hand makes very different movements to create each letter. The “b” begins like an “l” and the “d” begins like an “a”. The child then is less likely to be confused as to which symbol has which sound. Also, Cursive requires the child to move from left to right so the letters will join together in the right sequence.
Cursive is easier to do than print: There are only three movements to learning cursive; under curve, over curve, up and down. It is actually more difficult for a child to draw straight lines and round circles.
The conclusion of the article states: “Teach cursive first and print later. There are few things that help enhance a child’s academic self-esteem more than the development of good handwriting. It helps reading, it helps spelling, and because writing is made easy, accurate and esthetically pleasant, it helps thinking."
Ah..this might really help us, I thought.
Because the boys had already learned to the print the letters in upper and lower case, I simply began cursive by copying the words we were reading in the blend phonics book. They trace the letters as I sit by and coach. It is surprising to me how much they love to loop-tee-loop the letters. My 4 year olds often ask to do extra lines and my oldest who was reversing words and confusing letters is making fewer mistakes. They seem to have no difficulty reading in print and writing in cursive.
To make the penmanship lessons I create the handwriting pages in Startwrite. You can do one lesson for free. Then if you decide to purchase it, you may find it is a great tool to have through out the entire elementary grades if you are incorporating copywork into your school. I love to put photos of the boys or their friends on the page and write fun love notes to them they have to copy. They can write letters to grandparents with pictures they drew or whatever. I love all the creativity and freedom to be personal. Purchase cost is $40.
If you don’t want to make your own worksheets I found that Westvon has a series called Happy Scribe which is very affordable. They include cursive, italic and print in each book.
Spencerian Penmanship is a great place to start to learning cursive writing.
For a comprehensive tutorial about penmanship, I found a free guide at the Bogart Family blog.