Monday, October 13, 2008

Decision: Cursive and/or Manuscript Handwriting

I have often been asked, "Is the teaching of cursive handwriting a necessary skill in public education?" The answer is a yes/no response. It is "yes" if the child wants to write it and "no" if a child is content with manuscript print.

Because the main purpose of writing is passing on information, it should be done in the most legible fashion which is manuscript print. D'Nealian's main concern, in teaching handwriting, is legibility.

The best quality of the D'Nealian printing technique is that once the 26 lower case letters are mastered, the script flows easily into cursive writing. No other method offers this.

It also has the advantage of devloping a rhythm when writing a letter. All letters are made with a continuous flowing stroke.

Letters are written in near normal size - not giant sized letters. They can be slanted or vertical as long as the slants are consistant in size and shape.

A major learning technique in D'Nealian are the audio directions that help the learner remember where to begin a letter and the direction in which it is formed.

All the above points make D'Nealian a leader in teaching the skill of handwriting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

D'Nealian: The Choice for Marie Montessori

D'Nealian Handwriting would have been the choice of Marie Montessori had she been alive today. Her comments back in the early 1900's were, "Yet it does not seem natural that to write the letters of the alphabet, which are all rounded, it should begin with straight lines and acute angles." "Is it necessary to begin writing with the making of vertical strokes? A moment of clear and logical thinking is enough to enable us to answer, no. The child makes too painful an effort in following such an exercise."

Only lower case letter "x" has an angler line

A Few Good Tips While Using D'Nealian Handwriting

The goal is to achieve legible writing. Because most writing is done with lower case letters , not capitals, mastery of the lower case letters, first, is essential. Several capitals are basically enlargements of their lower case counter-part.

The writer must be consistent in the letters' slant, size, shape and in the spacing of words and letters. The slant can be either to the right or left. The most typical slant is to the right. Tall letters are uniformly made the same height and the mic-line letters also conform to the same mid-line height. The shape of letters can be oval or rounded but not mixed.

The spacing of letters and words is even and not squished together.

Another D'Nealian Handwriting tip is to not worry about speed. This will develop naturally as the beginning writer develops confidence in this skill.

Remembering these four words - all beginning with the letter "s", will help you to produce clearly written penmanship: Slant Size Shape and Spacing.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I am the author of D'Nealian Handwriting.This handwriting method offers the first major change in how children learn to write their ABC's in over a hundren years or so. Lower case letters are made with a continuous stroke print ,rather than the traditional circle-stick,large sized letters and vertical writing. The circle-stick methods use splinter parts to form a letter,while D'Nealian is a flowing whole letter movement. Recently I am touting a new way for children to hold the pen or pencil when writing.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pencil Grip

The traditional handwriting pencil grip uses a three finger pincer grip. It causes calluses, bent finger flanges, and fatigue when writing a great amount. The D'nealian handwriting grip eliminates the above problems. The pencil is placed between the index and middle finger with the shaft of the pencil resting at the apex of the hand. The thumb gently presses against the pencil holding it in place. The hand slides along the fingertips or nails of the fingers. The D'nealian pencil grip is also favored by Dr. Rosemary Sassoon the U.K.'s leading handwriting expert.

-Mr. D'nealian