Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Terrible Horrible Cursive Exercise

      This cursive exercise demonstrates just "how" teachers may integrate a
reading exercise with a penmanship project. Students can draw a picture of
themselves having a terrible, horrible face and then practice cursive letter
patterns over and over around their aching heads! Oh, how horrible! This
repetitive drawing helps develop motor coordination, pattern making, and
includes kinesthetic learning too!
     Cursive, also known as script, joined-up writing, joint writing, linking, running writing, or handwriting is any style of penmanship in which the symbols of the language are written in a conjoined and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster. However, not all cursive copybooks join all letters. Formal cursive is generally joined, but casual cursive is a combination of joins and pen lifts. In the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic alphabets, many or all letters in a word are connected, sometimes making a word one single complex stroke.
      While the terms cursive or script are popular in the United States for describing this style of writing the Latin script, this term is rarely used elsewhere. Joined-up writing is more popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, and linking is more popular in New Zealand. The term handwriting is common in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
      Cursive is considered distinct from printscript, in which the letters of a word are unconnected and in Roman/Gothic letterform rather than joined-up script. Printscript is also commonly called "manuscript", "block letter", "print writing", "block writing" (and sometimes simply "print" which confusingly also refers to mechanical printing).
      A distinction is also made between cursive and "italic" penmanship, in which some ascenders and descenders of cursive have loops which provide for joins and italic which is derived from chancery cursive, which mostly uses non-looped joins or no joins. There are no joins from g, j, q or y, and a few other joins are discouraged. Italic penmanship became popular in the 15th century Italian Renaissance. The term "italic" as it relates to handwriting is not to be confused with typed letters that slant forward. Many, but not all letters in the handwriting of the Renaissance were joined, as they are today in italic.
      In Hebrew cursive and Roman cursive, the letters are not connected. In the research domain of handwriting recognition, this writing style is called connected cursive, to indicate the difference between the phenomenon of italic and sloppy appearance of individual letters (cursive) and the phenomenon of connecting strokes between letters, i. e., a letter-to-letter transition without a pen lift (connected cursive).
      The origin of the cursive method is associated with practical advantages of writing speed and infrequent pen lifting to accommodate the limitations of the quill. Quills are fragile, easily broken, and will spatter unless used properly. Steel dip pens followed quills; they were sturdier, but still had some limitations. The individuality of the provenance of a document was a factor also, as opposed to machine font.
      Locating projects and ideas in teacher's manuals about the instruction of cursive or penmanship is becoming a thing of the past. However, with a little ingenuity one can develop some very diverting ideas that promote the teaching of the subject on the internet. I will include in this journal a collection of ideas and original projects that I will design to promote the teaching of cursive writing.

"Renowned author Judith Viorst reads her beloved children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, as part of Bookmarked 2010! a celebration of reading with children, produced by the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood. For more information about Bookmarked! visit"

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