Cursive First Handwriting Curriculum

I was a little baffled when I first heard about teaching cursive before print. Cursive seemed more difficult to write and I wondered how my children were going to learn to read print if they were taught cursive first.

Cursive First is an excellent curriculum for teaching children cursive penmanship. It can be used with a wide range of ages with great results.

Cursive First was affordable and it coordinated with my favorite phonics and spelling program so I decided to give it a try. I read the teachers manual in one day and quickly discovered the benefits of teaching cursive first.

I have been using this curriculum for several years now with three of my children. I am amazed at how quickly and easily they were able to learn cursive. There have been no issues with transitioning from cursive to print and all three of them have had no problem with reading books in print.

There are several different handwriting curricula out there that give instruction in cursive first. However, the Cursive First curriculum is the only one that I know of that allows you to teach cursive to a child before they are able to hold a pencil!

I am actually teaching my younger children how to write in cursive using sand paper letters, a salt box, sidewalk chalk, pudding and more all thanks to the Cursive First program!

Why Teach Cursive First?

There are numerous advantages to teaching cursive before print. You can listen to Elizabeth FitzGerald, author of Cursive First, talk about the history of penmanship and the benefits of cursive first in this podcast. If you want to read about the rationales for teaching cursive from the beginning click here. More and more educators are realizing the benefits behind teaching cursive before print (read here and here).

Cursive First Curriculum

Some benefits to teaching cursive first that I have appreciated are:

  • Prevents mixing up similar letters like “b” and “d”
  • Being able to see words as units because the letters of each word are connected together
  • No more confusion about where to begin forming a letter since all lower case cursive letters start at the baseline
  • It’s easier to learn so my children’s handwriting looks so much better!

What Comes in the Cursive First Curriculum?

The Cursive First curriculum comes with:

  • a teachers manual that explains the why and how of teaching cursive. It does not include daily lesson plans although a sample lesson plan for the first six days is included. While most homeschoolers would prefer to have a scripted lesson plan, not having one allows the parent or teacher to give instruction at a pace that is based on the child’s ability and interest.
  • a set of cursive phonogram cards that provide instructions for teaching how to form each letter
  • a set of practice sheets that can be reproduced for multiple children.


Cursive First coordinates with the Spell to Write and Read program. If you already own or plan on buying Spell to Write and Read then you only need to purchase the Cursive First curriculum to teach cursive.

If you are using a different phonics/reading program then you will want to purchase the Cursive First Bundle which includes Cursive First, 70 basic phonogram cards, and a phonogram CD.

Cursive First Bundle

Why Cursive First and Not Another Cursive Program?

Here’s why I recommend Cursive First over all other cursive handwriting programs:

  • It allows me to teach penmanship to my child even before they can hold a pencil. Instructions are given for how to use large motor skills to learn letter formation.
  • It links handwriting with phonics.
  • It is affordable! You can reproduce the worksheets over and over again for all your children.
  • It works for a wide range of ages from those just starting to write to children who learned print first and are transitioning to cursive.

Do you want to learn more about teaching penmanship?

Elizabeth FitzGerald did a live video on Facebook where she talked all about penmanship. Even if you don’t use her curriculum you will want to check out the video. I was blown away by all the information she shared and I was reminded of the important connection between handwriting and learning to read.

She also shared another helpful video on teaching penmanship. You can watch it here.

To learn more about the Cursive First curriculum visit their website.


  1. Thanks so much! I knew this was what I wanted for my son but was overwhelmed by the whole SWR curriculum. You made approachable.

Speak Your Mind