Governor's Corner with Jane Budge
What is cursive handwriting and what are its benefits?
Cursive handwriting is a style of writing in which all the letters in a word are connected or joined up. The National Curriculum requires that all children are taught cursive handwriting from reception age. You will probably have noticed in your own children that, at first, it’s all about learning the movement rather than neatness. Children are encouraged to play with writing. For example, they might trace the letters in books with their fingers; they might form letter with their fingers in the air, in sand or in paint. The idea is to encourage the development of their gross and fine motor skills so that they can recognise the patterns and shapes of letters and then make them themselves. This is taught alongside phonics so that children can learn a sound and how to write it.
When children come to Thomas Russell Junior School children continue to be taught handwriting and have the opportunity for lots of practice. For quite a while, it can look like an inky spider has run amok on a sheet of paper but, with perseverance, there are lots of benefits to being able to write cursively. Here are some of them.
- Lots of children confuse letters like b and d, f and t, q and t. In cursive writing, the letters have different start points which can make them easier to for children to distinguish.
- Writing cursively, children learn to write blocks of letters like sh and th. Over time, children learn the sequences for longer, more complicated words and “muscle memory” means that the process becomes more automatic and spelling improves.
- This same process can be helpful to dyslexic pupils; it a valuable technique for remembering how to write letters in the correct sequence.
- Cursive handwriting should result in clearer, more legible work.
- Cursive handwriting should mean that your child can eventually write more quickly for longer periods because it’s a sequence of uninterrupted movements.
At secondary school, your child will no longer be taught handwriting skills. However, the cursive skills that they have learnt at Thomas Russell Junior School should stand them in very good stead as they will be well-practised in producing work that is neat and readable and they should also have the stamina to quickly for longer periods of time – an invaluable skill for the demands of secondary school!
Jane Budge (Mum of Maisie & Holly; Curriculum Governor)