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Student struggling with cursive

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    Student struggling with cursive

    My 4th grade daughter has started with SC this year and is doing a blend of SC7/8 and using SC4 for the LA portion. She had started learning cursive previously last spring and while she can form all of the letters and copy words, it is like art, by which I mean she can write it all day long, but she cannot read a lick of it and has trouble recognizing a significant portion of the letters even after 6 months.

    I originally used Handwriting Without Tears to teach her writing, as she had grip issues as a younger child, so I'm familiar with a lot of the techniques used there and have been trying them- using large arm movements to trace the letters in the air, finger tracing in salt, using the chalkboard and the steps of write, then erase tracing the letters, and even flashcards.

    None of it seems to have helped so far. I've been progressing with the SC4 LA lessons outside of cursive, because after 6 months of working on this, I'm definitely not just having her do more copywork seeing that it's not clicking/sticking. But I am sort of at a loss now of what to try next.

    How long do you stick it out trying to keep going with cursive? Do we drop it for a while and come back when she's 6 or 12 months older? Do we keep slogging through concentrated cursive practice twice a day for 5-10 minutes? She's frustrated and a bit dejected as cursive is something she's wanted to learn for a long time, but it seems as hard for her as learning a foreign language honestly. It's not sticking and I can't figure out how/why to help beyond what I've done.

    Well, as kids do, she shocked me today and suddenly popped off several of the letters correctly multiple times. I guess I despaired at the wrong moment, lol.


      kayteebee, did she begin last spring with SC 2 Cursive (NAC 1)? If yes, did she complete the Practice Sheets and Summer Cursive?

      In some cases we might suggest pausing for a time, but because of her age and because she wanted to learn cursive, I would not set aside cursive for your daughter. Doing so may feel discouraging or teach by example that we quit when disgruntled. It may be difficult to resume in the future. Clearly she knows some cursive, as her writing showed later in the day. (Premature despair is common to all of us!)

      A few tips:
      1. If she has not worked through all of these, I would consider doing so. Keep cursive separate from her written work until she knows the letters without thinking, as she did after you asked the question. With the practice sheets, we carefully and incrementally build words the student can read.
      2. Consider one 10-minute period daily. Play the classical music selection from SC 4 (Mozart) during that time. The goal is to change it from a time of frustration to an anticipated daily time of relaxed focus.
      3. Mark her best letter or word. Make a small star on the page. Comment on everything she did well in that letter or word (spacing, size, letter formation, legibility).
      4. Read her best letter or word aloud for her. Have her repeat it.
      5. Unless she has a glaring error to recopy, then close with the successful letter or word and call it a day for cursive.

      Eventually she may begin to notice her own best work. She can mark these herself. Eventually she may strive to create more good work and begin to read her own words aloud. For now, and possibly for several months, the above may be sufficient to shift the tone of the task, which may be the most important factor for her.


        Thanks Cheryl- that is helpful. This is our first year with MP. Last spring she used The Good and the Beautiful’s cursive book and had almost, but not quite, finished it. I will order NAC 1 and give that a go rather than level 2 NAC we have right now.


          Originally posted by kayteebee View Post
          Thanks Cheryl- that is helpful. This is our first year with MP. Last spring she used The Good and the Beautiful’s cursive book and had almost, but not quite, finished it. I will order NAC 1 and give that a go rather than level 2 NAC we have right now.
          Sounds good. Based on everything you mentioned, I would order the Practice Sheets as well. We created these to extend the value of the NAC 1 lessons.If you have the SC 2 Curriculum Manual, you will see Cursive lesson plans. Plan to teach from these. If you do not have them, they can be ordered separately as Penmanship, Level 2, Individual Lesson Plans for Simply Classical - Memoria Press.