Reading Level: Ages 6 – 9
Reviewed by Kathy Davis
Cursive First is the brainchild of Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a home schooling mom and speech therapist. She created this program because she couldn’t find anything on the market that she liked that taught cursive first instead of manuscript writing. What started out as simple copy sheets became a sensation! Her friends became interested and before long she had developed and published this curriculum, which is also designed to be used in combination with Wand Sanseri’s curriculum Spell to Write and Read and The Wise Guide. Here’s what the author says about the cursive she teaches:
Variations of cursive are available today, and eventually every person will develop his own style of penmanship to reflect his or her own personality. The cursive in this book is a simple, no flairs style which incorporates the clock face taught by Spalding in The Writing Road to Reading. All lower-case letters start on the baseline, as this provides a consistent starting place for each lower-case letter at the beginning of a word. A slight slant is incorporated as it facilitates the ‘flow’ of cursive while still retaining legibility…
Capital letters are also formed simply without lots of extra loops and squiggles.
She suggests you look at developmental readiness indications to determine if your child is reader for cursive. Does he have a willingness to listen? Has she an interest in letters? Does he enjoy pencil work? Can he hold a pencil in a tripod grip (this is explained in the instruction manual)?
Cursive First includes practice pages that have a dotted midline and a bolder baseline. All numbers and letters are introduced using the “clock” letters” instruction – the clock face is used as a reference tool to help the child know the direction to write the letters.
If you’ve been thinking about bypassing traditional printing you should consider Cursive First. It is a very thorough curriculum, and it also comes with a set of three numeral cards, the cursive alphabet, and three instruction cards, and what I always appreciate is the teaching dialogue – that is included as well.
You can learn more about the program or