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  • Lesson Plans ForAdvanced Cursive Handwriting

    Grades 4 - 8

    Research-Based Instruction for Integration ofFluent Adult Cursive Handwriting Patterns

    We Write To Readfrom

    Peterson Directed Handwriting

    Table of Contents

    Introduction 260Intermediate and Advanced Levels 260Special Teaching Strategies 261Physical Position Skills 261The Peterson Sequence of Instruction 262A Regular Lesson Proceedure! 264What Is Legibility 265Reviewing Slant Print Patterns 266Our Pupil Book 267Issues and Answers 268UNIT ONE LESSONS (Weeks 1-6) 269Unit One Model Test 272

    UNIT TWO LESSONS (Weeks 7-12) 273Unit Two model Test 275UNIT THREE LESSONS (Weeks 13-18) 275Unit 3 Model Test 277UNIT FOUR LESSONS (Weeks 19-24) 278Unit Four Model Test 279UNIT FIVE LESSNS (Weeks 25-30) 280Unit Five Model Test 282UNIT SIX LESSONS (Weeks 31-36) 283Word Challenge 285Concepts and Facts Test 286Examples of Student Handwriting 287

  • 260 Lesson Plans For Advanced Cursive


    We have prepared a sequential lesson plan outline for theentire school year. You can follow the day-by-day proce-dures with confidence that the time you spend will help yourstudents to improve their writing.

    Ideally, handwriting should be practiced every day. Four orfive ten-minute practice sessions each week are more pro-ductive than two 1-hour sessions per week!

    If you are faced with time restrictions, you can adapt theselessons to meet the time available. Also, you can combinethe review of writing skills with spelling instruction.


    1. Have students make a "Handwriting File Folder," prefer-ably with pockets, so they can keep practice paper, a pen,the writing book, and a cumulative file of their practicepapers that can serve to compare individual progressthroughout the year.

    2. Organize the class. When you plan to have pupils ob-serve your chalkboard writing, turn desks to face thechalkboard to improve the student's visual perspective.

    3. Establish procedures for pencil sharpening, passing outpaper, and the use of learning aids such as desk triangles,pencil grippers, rubber bands, etc.

    Intermediate and Advanced Grade LevelsOne of the most important findings from recent motor control research is that it is never too late for students to learn andimprove. Students who have deficits in reading can benefit greatly by practicing gross motor letterform rhythm patterns asoutlined in the lesson plans that are included in this handbook. TEACHERS OF INTERMEDIATE AND MIDDLE/JUNIORHIGH SCHOOLS have a great opportunity to help their students in all language development by including time for hand-writing process practice.

    Whats In A Name?Peterson Directed Handwriting has been serving schoolssince 1908. Peterson handwriting specialists are activelyinvolved in teaching handwriting. The methods, devices, andmaterials of instruction and learning we promulgate havebeen thoroughly tested, revised, and improved in the class-room.

    Research Based InstructionThe Peterson organization has always been recognized forscientific analysis of the physical/process skill needs of chil-dren as they learn to write. And most recently, with the co-operation of computer scientists and brain function special-ists, totally objective data has been gathered using cutting-edge technology.

    This Monumental ResearchThe type of data that helps scientists around the world tolearn more about human motor control systems and helps toprovide answers to problems associated with disease andbrain damage..... now, has revealed important corollariesthat are very important in learning symbolic language (in-cluding READING SKILLS). In short, handwriting pro-cess instruction would be important for children even ifwritten work would all be produced on a word processor!

    INTRODUCTIONIsnt it ironicthat the computer excuse for de-emphasizing handwrit-ing instruction has been proven wrong....by the computer!

    All Symbolic Language Is LearnedAdults have become so automatic when they read and writethat they forget that READING and WRITING are artifi-cial language. Over the world there are a multiplicity ofsymbolic language systems. Our written language must travelfrom left-to-right.....and, because of human physiology, theway a child produces the symbols of language is urgent.That is why Peterson methods are so very unique, comparedto commercial handwriting books.

    Simplicity and EasePeterson methods are easy to teach and learn. Since hand-writing is a psychomotor skill you will note that lesson plansalways focus on how to write. The sequence of instruc-tion is based on motor control science.

  • We Write To Read 261


    Peterson methods are PROCESS CENTERED. Recent com-puter-assisted research compared ten (10) specific motorfunctions humans use as they write. The results indicate theimportance of the following strategies:

    1. Gross Motor Patterning - You will note the very largefingertracing models presented in the pupil books fornumerals and letter formation. The research showedthat gross motor patterns create a network of "learnedpattern modules" in the human brain which are veryimportant in developing READING skills, too.

    2. Action Word Rhythm - When pupils practice withoutmovement rhythms, information for integration of theprocess does not reach important parts of the brain.Saying strokes aloud helps students move with a rhythmprocess that completes the learned pattern modules. Youcan use the action words presented on each letterformdevelopment page...or...say the colors used in the color/rhythm models...or...simply "count" as illustrated onsome pages of the book.

    3. Eyes-Closed Practice - Cursive handwriting is engi-neered to fit the musculature of the hand/arm. Motor-control practice develops MUSCLE MEMORY whichmakes it possible for a student to write withfluency...almost an automatic process.

    4. Letter Tops Create Legibility - The COLOR/RHYTHMalphabet development models provide verbal descrip-tions for the rhythm and form of each letter. Lowercaseletters are used more frequently than capitals and theirdevelopment is more patterned. Be sure students mas-ter these verbal descriptions.

    5. Handwriting Karate (Baseline Control) - Students needto develop consistency and fluency in handwriting. Oneof the major skills that contributes to this accomplish-ment is a well-patterned downstroke movement. We havecoined the phrase "handwriting karate" to help eachstudent understand the process. Simply stated, "hand-writing karate" describes the leftward-slanted down-stroke that comes back to the left and "chops" the base-line. In writing lowercase letters the slanted downstrokepattern always follows a rightward upstroke. There-fore the student develops a rightward/leftward basicstroke pattern as illustrated on many of the student pagesin the grade 4-8 student books.

    6. Arm Position - As you observe students in all writingsituations, be sure to emphasize the positioning of thewriting arm. Right-handed writers should place theirarm at right angles to the lines on the paper. If theright arm is too far to the right, left-to-right movementis restricted. Rightward movement is the key to maxi-mum efficiency in handwriting. The handwriting digi-tizer research indicated that paper/arm position is evenmore important than pen position.

    When children learn to hold the paper, the angle of the paper placement should allow them to keep the writing arm at thebottom of the paper rather than to the right side. Arm entry is the crucial objective. That is why writing position differs fromreading position. When the writing hand is under the baseline lateral movement is not blocked.

    Motor-control research revealed PAPER, HAND, ARM-ENTRY positionskill to be crucial for fluency!


    YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS CAN BENEFIT from a simple device to help thepractice and application of this skill. Peterson Handwriting self-adhesive DESKPOSITION TRIANGLES or a generic equivalent will make this task easier forpupils to learn and easier for you to monitor in application.

    The triangle is used as a guide to slant the bookfor fingertracing and the paper for writing. Itmakes it simple for you to spot students whoneed a reminder during language work. It alsoprovides color/rhythm models in writing posi-tion.

  • 262 Lesson Plans For Advanced Cursive

    The Peterson Sequence of InstructionThe We Write To Read series presents the study andpractice of standard American cursive letterforms in ascientifically-planned sequence based on the computeranalysis of motor control processes revealed on aspecial electronic tablet that measures ten movementfunctions at the rate of 1000 points per second.

    Lowercase letters that begin and end onthe baseline:

    Sharp Top Beginning Strokes:

    Loop Top Beginning Strokes:

    Round Top Beginning Strokes:

    Roll Top Beginning Strokes:

    Combinations ofundercurves and overcurves:

    The eighteen lowercase letters (including the f and q)shown above all use the same basic rhythm pattern.The rightward move combined with the leftward slantproduces one motor pattern rhythm:

    slide right/slant left.

    The automatic type of movement students need forfluency has been demonstrated to be best controlledwhen rhythm is internalized and appliedconsistently during the writing process.

    These 18 letters offer rhythmic units that enjoy aconsistent end point - the baseline.

    Lowercase Letters that end above the base-line:

    These four letters are grouped together because of interruptedrhythm and the special control point for joining.

    The joining stroke, that is actually part of the rhythmic unitof the letter that will follow, is very important for decoding -particularly fo