New American Cursive is a simplified cursive that is easy enough for children in first grade to learn, and possibly even easy enough for younger children. It was created to allow children to learn cursive rather than manuscript printing as they begin writing, thus avoiding the transition to cursive at a later time. (Printing is easily learned later, but it doesn't hurt if a child has already begun to print.)
Points raised in favor of learning cursive first are:
- Cursive is quicker and less laborious than printing.
- Cursive develops neurological connections in the brain that help children acquire fine motor skills.
- Cursive is especially helpful for children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia because letters like "b" and "d" that look like reversals in printing, are not so easily confused in cursive.
- The connectivity and flow of letters is more appealing.
New American Cursive eliminates unnecessary strokes—the publisher of the New American Cursive series says there are "26 fewer strokes than the top three most common cursive programs." The books are very simple to use. While separate lesson plan books are available for each level, you might not need them. The worktexts themselves include instruction and exercises in each book. Teaching information included in the book explains how to test and grade children's handwriting. Each worktext has a metal comb binding at the top so that it can open flat and not have the comb in the way for either right- or left-handed writers as they complete their exercises.
New American Cursive is available for levels 1, 2, and 3 which correspond to grades one through three. However, New American Cursive 1, an introduction to cursive, might be used by other students at other grade levels who are learning beginning cursive. Students learn both upper and lower case forms and how to join letters. They practice writing a few words and sentences as they build their repertoire of letters. For the second and third levels, you can choose from two options. One option uses Scripture verses. The second option, for those wanting secular content, uses quotes from famous Americans in New American Cursive 2 and famous quotes plus lessons on manners in New American Cursive 3.
You can purchase a software program, StartWrite/NAC®, available from www.NewAmericanCursive.com, to create your own exercises or tests for children.