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    Teaching Cursive Writing
    By Betsy

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    I enjoy teaching my students cursive because they are generally excited about learning something new. Here are the things I do to teach cursive:

    **The first day of cursive practice I asked the kids to watch me write a word on the overhead two times. The first time I wrote in regular print and the second time I wrote in cursive. Then I asked the class what they noticed different about the way I wrote the words. Students noticed that the second word had letters looped together, some said the cursive word was "prettier", and others noticed that I did not pick up my pen until I had written the entire word when I wrote in cursive. This of course is what I was hoping to hear. We talked about the fact that cursive writing can be faster because you do not have to continually pick up your pencil. We also discussed that as adults we are generally expected to sign our names in cursive. This set a purpose for learning cursive.

    **We practiced two letters each Friday until all letters had been learned. Before the students tried the word, I demonstrated on the overhead and then had the students write the word in cursive in the air.

    **I keep an ongoing writing sheet for each student. I write the letter(s) that each student needs to practice on his/her sheet, so students will be practicing different letters as needed. I also wrote their names in cursive and other phrases such as "Today is Monday" on their practice sheets. This takes a little prep time but it is well worth it.

    **I have several cursive mats that were purchased at the dollar store. I let students practice cursive during free time on these mats.

    **I have a chart hanging on the board that says "Cursive Word of the Day." Each morning I write a different word on the chart and students write the word on their morning work paper. I quickly walk around the room to check their word and help those who need it. Now we're writing a cursive phrase of the day. (We don't do this until we have learned to write all letters in cursive.)

    **Students need to practice reading in cursive as well as writing. I have started writing homework assignments and the date in cursive on the board. When you think the class is ready, have them begin writing in cursive in small chunks. My students are now writing the heading of their papers in cursive. The heading includes name, date, subject. Friday I let them complete five sentences from their English book in cursive.

    My students have beautiful cursive writing, and I must say that some of the girls AND boys can write better than I can.

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