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Zaner-Bloser vs. D'Nealian

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've never like ZB because, well, people don't write that way LOL! Plus, DD was in a Montessori preschool and they used DN, which I do like because it looks like actual writing. However, DD1 LOVES to write and her handwriting is atrocious! She just doesn't want to slow down and learn the mechanics. She has a really hard time with DN lettering. Is it realistic to switch to ZB because it's "easier" and after a while start slowly working on DN? Or is it one or the other, all or nothing? She's 6, by the way...
post #2 of 10
I don't know which is better, but I taught The Kid D'nealian, he went to school for 2 years where he had to use Zaner-Blosser, and his handwriting went down the tubes after, creating a mix of ZB and D'nealian until we switched to cursive.

I think if I had it to do over, I would have spent my money on a book of Waldorf form drawing and worked on that rather than handwriting that first year of hs'ing. It's learning the mechanics, but in a beautiful, artistic way.

ETA: I also would have focused a lot more on the play part - spending more time on the playground with the monkey bars and everything else building up the arm and shoulder strength to make writing easier for him.
post #3 of 10
Separate writing from handwriting. Get her on the keyboard, or a tape recorder, or write for her when she wants to write a story or do other writing. Do handwriting exercises separately including things that help exercise her hands like using chopsticks, not just handwriting work.

And I wouldn't bother with the ZB print. It's ball and stick which is actually a lot more finicky to work with if you're a person who dislikes the mechanics of writing.
post #4 of 10
Have you looked into italics? There are a few italics programs out there, and it's supposed to be slightly easier to write using them. It's also an easier transfer to cursive, which might help her if she likes to write fast.
post #5 of 10
We've used the italics books from Portland State University, we liked the ultra-simplified cursive they transition into. Very "natural" way to write IMO.
post #6 of 10
another vote for italics.
post #7 of 10
DS started with typical ZB -- just whatever was in the workbooks I picked up at chapters, I didn't even know it had a name, just went with the default.

When he was about 5 or 6 I learned about D'N and the "cursive first" idea. His writing was still pretty bad -- I shouldn't say "bad", how about "undeveloped" -- so I thought it would be a good idea to try D'N.

He loved the letters, but hated doing worksheets. (I think there's some dysgraphia at work with him). Only the 'a' ever really stuck in D'N style for him.

We tried switching to cursive. The whole not-lifting-the-pencil thing really makes sense to me. Once again, he loved the letters, but hated the worksheets. And after many years, even at age 10, his writing was still a terrible, terrible mess, he'd even forget how to form letters in cursive sometimes. His writing when he was just writing for himself was always in basic, messy, printing.

Finally last fall we switched to Italics! I bought Penny Gardner's e-book. It's been a total blessing. He actually enjoys the sheets, and of course we can do copywork from his favourite books. And while his writing certainly is not GREAT, at least it is noticeably improving now.

Having tried just about everything out there, I'm planning on using this Italics style with my daughter from the beginning!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mamas! I'm so glad I asked before just switching. Looks like I dodged a bullet LOL! And I never knew that italics existed. Wow. I'm looking at the Getty-Dubay and it looks perfect for us. I mean, I like the look of D'N, but her a's looked like sperm LOL and just a few of the a's would frustrate her because she knew she wasn't getting it. Poor thing, she's just like her mama, wants to jump right in and not bother with the basics.

I also like the idea of separating writing from handwritting! I would never have thought of that myself. She would loooooove to write stories on the computer or write emails to family.

Thanks again!
post #9 of 10
in case anyone is intrested

found this today and thought I'd share --


If you want your children to have beautiful handwriting, then they need to practice! However, so many handwriting copybooks offer boring, worn-out sayings that do not interest most children today! How about combining your children's interests and studies into their handwriting drills to make them fun and exciting? Master Writer Copybooks are just the answer!
Like our Happy Scribe Copybooks, these books are interesting and exciting. For an older child, these books reflect the great thoughts of famous and important people like Presidents, Authors, Saints, Artists, Philosophers and more. Great to work into your historical studies and use as conversation starters... these are some of mankind's greatest thinkers and now you'll be able to help tuck away these profound quotations into the hearts and minds of your own children through handwriting practice.
Each copybook has twenty sayings, presented in three different common handwriting fonts: Classic Block Printing, D'Nealian Italic and Cursive. We have based these exercises on twenty day blocks, representing four weeks of five days, for one month of exercises. There are basic alphabets and number pages for extra drill pages as well as a blank page to print for your own exercises, if you so please.

Each quotation is printed once dark, and room for practice. On the second page, it's printed dotted and grayed with room to practice. It's a proven fact, that when presented with several blank lines to practice on, student's work tends to degrade quickly. However, when there is another faint reminder quote line, they will see much more consistent results in the quality of their handwriting.

There are 19 Copybooks in this Combo File... a great deal, over 2,000 handwriting sheets for your children!
Includes the following titles....

African Americans
Famous Women
Jesus Christ
Kings & Queens
Native Americans
Presidents 1 & 2
First Ladies
Shakespheare's Plays

Each book is over
see review here

I am all
post #10 of 10
Traditional manuscript can be a pain to learn, but it is fruitful. I think it is important. I used to teach sec ed math and I could not read the equations and such on the kids who did not learn manuscript. If your child ends up wanting to go in to engineering, computer science, maths, sciences careers, manuscript will be important. Just doing basic algebra is a place where you need to be able to write. My dh, who has a degree in computer science and math (mine is in econ and math) and I have agreed that even if they never learn cursive, we put manuscript is a number 1 priority.

In addition to this, I have read studies in recent times where learning the handwriting, which is a basic fine motor skill, works with certain connections in the brain that other skills do not. From that point of view, it is very important.
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