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Posted By: Jerry Rice on July 24, 2001

I worked with this supposition a few years ago when serving as the Director of Curriculum/Instruction in a suburban school. We were using the ARL [Assured Readiness for Learning] program developed by Dr Phillip McGuiness. The program proposed teaching students to write in cursive handwriting from the kindergarten level, thus skipping the stick and ball stage of printing. The theory behind his program was that this would "chunk" words and letters together to improve student understanding of words and sounds, and sentences would be a flowing line rather than a series of unconnected letters. He also proposed that children at the early grades find it easier to make swirls, curving lines, and circles than the sticks and balls required of printing.

I tried to find more research to back these supposition up, but found little. You might want to start with McGuiness's work and move from there. I did some research on my own, watching children move from the Kindergarten through third grade. Most had little difficulty transferring between cursive and text-print. I also found that children's handwriting was much better, and readable, even at the kindergarten levels. McGuiness advocates using blindfolds for students to have students "imagerize" the letters and words, and to write without looking. For some reason, it does work and enables students to "see" the letters and words in their minds.

Hope this helps.

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 The relationship between handwriting and reading. by Emily Goldberg on June 7, 2001
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