Teaching Handwriting


Vertical (Traditional) vs Slant (modified italic, D’Nealian) controversy.

Slanted or (D’Nealian) was introduced in the late 60’s because it was supposed to be an easier way to prepare students for cursive writing. Research has subsequently determined:

  • The traditional (Vertical) style of handwriting is easier for students to write. ”By age 3, children produce drawings that are composed of the same basic lines that institute manuscript letters: vertical lines, horizontal lines, and circles.
  • Traditional handwriting is easier to learn because it relies predominantly on already acquired gross motor skills.

Modified italic uses very complicated strokes for young children. Traditional text is easier to read. Young children learning to write are also learning to read. Books and textbooks are written in manuscript.

Teaching manuscript handwriting to children learning to read does not cause the confusion that teaching italic does.

Research also found that teaching manuscript first does not hinder the transition to cursive.

How to Teach Handwriting.

Teach your child to write the letters of the alphabet

  • Trace letters in sand
  • Make letters out of clay
  • Play with letter blocks and magnetic letters

Teach her to write her name.

As handwriting is mastered, use handwriting in short compositions

  • Have your child write in a journal.
  • Create a picture autobiography or other picture-word books.
  • Practice words from books such as “Cat in the Hat.”
  • Have your child write letters to relatives and friends.
  • Have your child write short stories or reports.
  • Add longer writing projects as your child's handwriting develops.
  • Add interest by using border paper. I've created some for you to download at http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/forms.html. Also, check out this resource for creating your own border paper.The Checklist

Provide daily writing opportunities but limit handwriting time to 3-5 minutes to avoid burnout.

Keep track of what you do in handwriting with The Checklist!

For more information, see Handwriting Curriculum Recommendations.

See Sample Curriculum Plan for a sample schedule.

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