New American Cursive :: Scope and Sequence


New American Cursive | FAQs | Scope and Sequence

New American Cursive Penmanship Program

 Scope and Sequence


Introduction:  Handwriting trains the brain.  Penmanship is important because it is a reflection of you.  It goes with you the rest of your life.  You have the power to make it legible and beautiful. 

Why Cursive:  The discipline of learning to write a legible script is as muchNAC_Spiral.jpg an opportunity for character training as it is an exercise in handwriting.  The physical act of writing requires focus, discipline, patience, attention to detail and accuracy – priceless skills for the young child at the beginning of his academic career.  Students who struggle with poor penmanship frequently write minimal answers on tests.  They are often not getting scored for what they actually know.  Cursive improves neural connections in the brain and is faster and easier to learn than printing. 


When:  Starting cursive in the first grade teaches the beginning student basic skills of concentration, accuracy, correct spelling and the patience and persistence required to do quality work.


How: 15 minutes a day in the New American Cursive Workbook (NAC) establishes the basis for good penmanship.  A Teaching Guide is included in each book.


Kindergarten:  Correct pencil, paper and posture position are essential instructions to set the student on the right course.  Learn how to recognize and form each printed letter.  Introduce cursive by teaching students how to write their name in cursive. Startwrite/NAC software (Windows only) can be used to make individual worksheets.


First Grade: NAC Workbook One is a complete introduction to cursive.  Instructions and exercises on how to form each cursive letter. Start integrating cursive with other subjects as soon as the student knows the alphabet. 


Second Grade:  NAC Workbook Two is focused on developing legibility and speed.  Spacing, size and connections are emphasized.  Practical applications of good penmanship are illustrated.  All work is written in cursive. Now in Scripture or Standard versions. 


Third Grade:  NAC Workbook Three develops individual style, speed and fluidity.  Polite manners and letter writing exercises are used to emphasize legibility, neatness and the importance of good penmanship in this fun workbook. Now in Scripture or Standard versions. 

Why start cursive training early?

If you teach cursive first, you can always develop a good print style later. But if you teach printing first, many students never develop good cursive and often go back to printing. Children learn print from reading so it is not essential to have them perfect printing.

Research indicates that waiting to change from printing to cursive until the third grade slows students down to a first grade speed level for at least a year. Learning cursive early frees up instruction time in the third grade. Most young students are eager to learn cursive and see it as a rite of passage. The three main reasons to start cursive training as early as the first grade are:

  1. Because they have the capability! Before the 1930’s, U.S. students were taught cursive in the first grade and learned to write quite nicely. The ability to write a fast legible script is rapidly declining in America. In 2007 a national survey indicates only 16% of high school seniors are writing in cursive. We are losing the ability to write fluidly in our own language.
  2. Cursive develops the neurological connections in the brain required for early fine motor skill development. The ability to write the letters from memory fluidly (until it becomes automatic) increases the writer’s speed and ability to focus on content.
  3. Cursive is easier to learn than printing especially for children with learning challenges such as Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder. In printing, many letters look alike and are easily reversed. Children often become confused and make unnecessary errors. Starting cursive in first grade eliminates the difficult transition from manuscript to cursive in a later grade.