- A child gets to feel the word as a whole. Children with LDs often misspell short, non-phonemic words such as said, of, or one. Cursive gives a child an introduction to the feel of a word as a connected entity.
- When printing some children have a terrible time with spacing between letters and words. In cursive, it is more apparent when a word stops and a space is needed.
- Cursive can be taught so that each letter begins on the line. This consistency helps children with spatial problems. (Fig. 1, Initial stroke)
- Reversal of letters tends not to be as much of a problem in cursive as in print.
- Although learning cursive slows down writing, it is faster than printing once learned.
- Write a large letter to show the child how the letter is written.
- Have the child write the letter in the air while saying the letter. Guide the child's hand if she has difficulty writing the letter correctly in the air.
- Have the child trace your letter on a large sheet of paper. (Newsprint folded in half is a good size to start.) Make sure she starts on the line and traces the letter in the correct direction. This large letter will now be her reference model.
- Have the child write the letter while looking at the model. If she can do this correctly turn the paper over and have her write the letter saying its name.
- If he writes the letter correctly have him write the letter with his eyes closed.
Some children get confused where they need to change direction in cursive. They may end up going round and round like a traffic circle with letters such as o and g. Other problems are bridges such as ow, ou, oy, oa, etc. (Fig. 1, Bridge) In the beginning mastering the letters may take more time than you might predict, but with effort and practice your child should learn how to correctly write all the letters. Start with very large letters. Move to smaller letters when the child has mastered writing the large letters correctly.
Despite predictions of no need for cursive or typing in the future, right now they are tools to open new doors for a child with LDs. Children have at least 12 years of school facing them, and adults should work at giving them tools to make the journey enjoyable.