Years ago, at the tender age of 6, I transferred schools. The last memory I have of my old house on Waring Road was of practicing learning my letters all over again because this new school taught, used, and expected a fancy style of handwriting, called D’Nealian Manuscript.
D’Nealian handwriting is similar to a serif font in that it has tails, rather than straight lines, like sans serif fonts. For example, serif fonts include Times New Roman, and sans serif fonts include Arial.
While some teachers barely bat an eye, other teachers and schools are very strict that their students learn the correct style to match their curriculum. Therefore, it’s advisable for parents to have an idea of which style of writing your school district teaches.
While many parents roll their eyes, thinking D’Nealian a more difficult style, in truth, there are many benefits to this handwriting, outweighing the frustration in re-learning.
- Once a child knows D’Nealian, the move into cursive handwriting is simpler, as the tails are connected;
- D’Nealian Manuscript is slanted to the right, the same direction the eye is learning to read, which assists the eye and hand to move from left to write in reading and writing;
- There is less starting and stopping in writing, less of a pencil lift. This makes writing words less of a chore for the children;
- While children may still press hard on their pencil while writing, children tend to put less pressure on their letters when ending with a tail, as in D’Nealian, than they do when ending with a straight line. This teaches children to feel the difference in pencil pressure and helps them to learn to “let up” on the pencil as they learn to write.
If your elementary school prefers D’Nealian, there are a lot of free worksheet resources online to reinforce the writing style for your child and to make sure that parents understand the style.