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Cursive vs. Printing (Manuscript)

I first published this almost 5 years ago and cursive is still going strong in our house. I recently published a companion post to at the Homeschool Classroom with tips on teaching cursive first.

****************ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS ****************


When I sat through PJ’s kindergarten back-to-school night, I was fascinated as I listened to the teacher explain why the school taught cursive first and exclusively until fourth grade. I was pretty sold then but now that two of the kids have been through that kindergarten program learning cursive, our third is a lefty, and I’ve done some more research, I am convinced.

Here’s how I see it.


    1. All lowercase cursive letters can be written using 4 basic strokes.* You can find a couple approaches to this but the strokes our kids were taught are found here. When letters are taught be stroke, retention is much quicker than teaching printing.


  1. Cursive is a gross motor skill rather than a fine motor skill so it’s more developmentally appropriate…especially for boys.
  2. There is less letter mix-up with cursive since b’s and d’s and p’s and q’s have distinctively different shapes.
  3. The practice of cursive writing develops parts of the brain in ways printing manuscript cannot.
  4. Because cursive flows and does not require the writing implement to leave the paper as often as manuscript, it does not infringe on thought flow as much.
  5. Cursive’s bottom-up motion is easier for lefties.
  6. Cursive is a more efficient writing style and even more important now that standardized tests (such as SAT) are requiring timed writing sections. As children get older their print usually morphs into a less-readable hybrid but they are too set in their ways to re-learn a new writing style such as classic cursive.


  1. One must learn to read manuscript but write in cursive.
    This hasn’t been a problem for either of the older two.
  2. It goes against the grain of what the majority of the world does and so there are less resources.
    I was able to download a cursive font so I can create my own worksheets and copy work and there are enough out there to make do.

*In case you were wondering which letters fall in which stroke category, here they are:

swing ups-i,j,p,r,s,t,u,w
roller coasters-b,e,f,h,k,l
hills and valleys-m,n,v,x,y,z
ocean waves-a,c,d,g,o,q

For other articles on cursive check out:

1 Comment

  1. JennyJuly 9, 2015

    Thank you for this!
    I was thinking about making sure they wrote beautifully in manuscript first, btu tmay I will have them work on this first this summer. We homeschool.

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