Sunday, September 7, 2008

Teaching Cursive

I used to wonder why printing was taught in the first place. Children learn so quickly to make rounds and squiggles when playing with crayons and pencils. Through a Canadian graphologist I have learned about a French lady's teaching method. Her name is Danielle Dumont and I would love to have her books. The problem? Well as teaching manuals they are over $100 and in French which I do not read. The idea though is so simple it is refreshing. She used ribbon for rhythmic exercises making patterns in the air with the ribbon. Then they make the same strokes on a blackboard where they can see the patterns. From this they learn to make letters. After all a small loop is an e, a large loop is an l. Of course in French le is a word so when shown that by breaking the exercise into 2 strokes or letters they have written a word the children get really excited. Now the y and f can be added as they also are loops. The cup shaped stroke is a short point and a tall point then they are shown to add a dot to the short point and crossbar to the tall point and suddenly they are making i and t. Humps become m and n and my is a word, if is a word, me is a word etc. The exercises can also be used to sharpen focus by making strokes that change angles like a string of v or w or to relax and calm down by making the loops ely.

I do understand that they are taught to print so they can read books but it just seemes cursive is the easier to learn and as they can make words so easily it stirs the children to learn to write sooner. Unfortunately, in today's world I have even heard teachers say they can barely read cursive and never use it themselves and some of our local schools spend barely any time teaching it. I believe they are supposed to give it 6 weeks in second grade but one teacher said she did 2 weeks. Then they go back to printing. No wonder students hate written tests that require the use of cursive. I think it ought to be the required writing after they learn to read.

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