SHOULD WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN CURSIVE BEFORE PRINTING?
We recently stumbled across a mailing in our files from an Oregon Teacher dated March 14, 1996.
She sent samples of classroom work by her
KINDERGARTEN students who were taught cursive handwriting BEFORE PRINTING
(Cursive vs. “Ball and stick”) (You will see samples of their work later)
This of course raises the old question whether to teach printing or cursive writing first.
The question, or debate, comes up from time to time but the direction has been for a long time unquestionably not to teach cursive first, or even teach cursive at all.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld, author of such books as Alpha-Phonics A Primer for Beginning Readers, How To Tutor, and many other books on teaching the “Three R’s,” has for decades argued that cursive should definitely be taught to all children and preferably taught to them before being taught printing.
This may come as a surprise to many, especially anyone younger than, say, 40 or so. Many would also be surprised that print (ball and stick) was NOT taught in public schools* until about the 1940’s.
Until the 1940’s the only classes which used print were Mechanical Drawing (For building plans, etc.) or Art classes (For poster work). Once an elderly lady in front of me in line in a bank was asked to print her name for a certain document. She told the Teller she had never been taught to print. (I could see over her shoulder she had a beautiful cursive signature) As the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s rolled by various arguments arose for both teaching print first and also for not teaching cursive at all. The electric typewriter seems to have sped the process “We do not need to learn cursive since everything will be typed on a machine.” More recently the computer put that process into high gear. Then came the personal devices such as smart phones. We all know what happened from then on.
Some parents are surprised to learn that cursive handwriting is rarely taught in public schools anymore.
As the saying goes “what goes around comes around.” In the past couple of years we have seen some articles surface indicating that cursive hand writing may actually be (As it always truly was) a very good thing to be taught.
Why might learning cursive handwriting be beneficial?
We will investigate some of the reasons in our next post.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld’s 1974 classic book, How To Tutor, covers reading, writing and arithmetic. For those interested in teaching children to be good cursive hand writers, there is an entire section in it which completely covers cursive handwriting. Also available is the cursive handwriting practice workbook, created by Sam’s colleague Barbara Simkus, which is directly correlated to the How To Tutor instruction book.
We would love to hear your opinion (below) which to teach first: Cursive or Print
Use link below to learn all about How To Tutor and its companion workbooks:
The books are available at Amazon.com
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