preschool/kindergarten cursive handwriting in relation to reading acquisition


IGS Member
I am researching evidence for effective preschool/kindergarten cursive handwriting instruction that aids reading acquisition. I have been working with a four-year-old child named :)Madison who is entering pre-kindergarten this fall. She is one of triplets who just completed a full academic year in a public preschool. Their school uses the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, which teaches manuscript capital letter writing to pre-kindergarten children. It is designed by an occupational therapist for children with and without disabilities. Her two siblings both learned to write capital letters, but she did not. She has dysgraphia due to multiple disabilities, including hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy on the right side of her body, and cortical-visual impairment. A research study reveals that the left hemisphere of the brain processes manuscript handwriting, and the right hemisphere of the brain processes cursive handwriting (Hellige & Adamson, 2007). Madison's brain damage is in her left hemisphere, so she has impaired ability to learn manuscript handwriting. I believe she can develop muscle memory of the formation of each cursive letter, which will enable her to learn cursive handwriting. This skill could be her only path to reading. I'm interested in receiving comments from people who have had success teaching cursive handwriting to very young children in a multisensory manner that aids acquisition of reading.
Hellige, J.B., & Adamson, M. M. (2007). Hemispheric differences in processing handwritten cursive. Brain and Language, 102, 215-227. doi:10.1016/j.band1.2006.11.003
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