Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Best Writing Curriculum for Elementary Schools
At this point in time we do not recommend any specific handwriting curriculum. Our current effort is being placed on simply having cursive handwriting reinstated in the elementary curriculum since it has been omitted in the Common Core Curriculum.
Ideally, children would focus on writing readiness in kindergarten by engaging in activities that would help develop both the gross and fine motor muscles and learn to hold a writing instrument using a proper grip. Beginning in first grade, children would learn to write using printed/manuscript lettering. Emphasis would be placed on correct direction formation of these letters and legibility.
Far too many educators today have no idea of proper writing posture: sitting at a desk, straight back, feet on the floor, paper slanted appropriately for a left- or right-handed writer. Instruction would be given in proper letter formations using standard acceptable directionality. Historically the most effective teaching method was the see it (teacher demonstrates proper letter formation), say it (simple words accompany the letter formation process), do it (the child writes the letter following the method demonstrated by the teacher).
This method employs the three main methods of learning: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Enough time/practice should be given so that the writing process becomes automatic and the child then can focus on what is being written. Towards the end of the first grade most children will be proficient enough in printing that they can move on to cursive writing being taught during Grade Two.
Following the teaching of cursive writing, children should be required to continue writing mainly in cursive and some printing for the remainder of the elementary school years. Emphasis would move towards continued legibility and increased speed in writing. By the end of eighth grade most children should have achieved competency in both manuscript printing and cursive writing. During the high school years students would be permitted to choose to write either in cursive or printing. Some handwriting should be required in high school as well, possibly in both English and Math classes.