Saturday, October 17, 2009
CURSIVE WRITING AND DYSLEXIA
I have read quite a lot in the Turkish newspapers recently about parents and teachers discussing how children learn writing in schools.Since 2006 all primary children have been taught cursive writing from the first grade. Some teachers and parents complain that this style of writing is difficult for children to learn and also perhaps unnecessary in the age of the computer !!
Cursive writing can initially take children some time to learn. It is however generally recognized that for children who are dyslexic or have dysgraphia the continuous cursive style is the recommended method of writing.Both the BDA ( British Dyslexia Assoc) and the IDA ( International Dyslexia Assoc ) on their websites advise that cursive writing should preferably be taught to dyslexics and those with dysgraphia.
It helps childrens’ writing to be clear, fluent,legible and fast.
All letters start on the line so there is no confusion about where to begin the letter.
Children are less likely to reverse letters which are typically difficult (like b/d ).
There is a clearer distinction between capital letters and lower case.
Dyslexics actually benefit from cursive as it flows .In cursive writing each letter is formed without taking the pencil off the paper – and consequently, each word is written in one, flowing movement Unlike in printing where they have to stop, and lift the hand for the next letter. Stopping can throw a dyslexic off track.
As the pencil does not often need to be lifted from the page this re-inforces phonic and spelling patterns.
Children can learn print through reading, so it's not essential to have them print.
Some Helpful Tips
Don’t give up – it may take some time..
Get your children to practice for short 15 minute intervals.
Begin with small/lower case letters first.
Print large cursive letters on a piece of paper and cover them with sticky back plastic.. Now have the child roll out playdough in a snake and have him or her trace over your letter, learning how to form the letters with the playdough.
You can get your child to use big fat felt tip pens on large paper to write on.
Fill a tray with wet sand and ask your child to write individual letters in the sand. Alternatively you could use rice or beans.Another fun thing to do is buy a can of shaving foam and spray it on your kitchen table – after get your child to write the letters you wish to practice. You can also use carpet squares ( with thick pile ) to write letters on.
In order to practice letter formation use dotted cursive letters which children can trace over.First of all make the letters quite big until they have become competent at forming the letter.
Writing in the air or writing the letters on the childrens backs helps the pupils internalize the motions involved in making the letters. Saying the sounds aloud reinforces the letter sound relationship and will help them as the learn to read and spell words.
Remember to be patient.
For an excellent video about teaching cursive handwriting see Teachers’ TV
Primary Special Needs - A Passion for Handwriting