January 30th, 2021 English, Writing, Handwriting

How to write in cursive and improve handwriting?

learn to write in cursive and improve handwriting with cursive writing

From grasping readers’ attention to holding it till the very end, good handwriting has many advantages, and if we are talking about the benefits, we cannot resist mentioning the role of good handwriting in examinations.

While some parents may argue that it’s unjust, bad handwriting can make it difficult for teachers to comprehend what the child is trying to communicate in their answers or essays and that is why teachers advise students to work on improving their handwriting or write cursive and provides them with writing exercises and cursive writing books.

Why should children learn cursive writing? 

Cursive writing skills requires you to focus on many some important aspects such as look, style, letter spacing, word spacing, size consistency, connecting strokes, the slope of the alphabet, pressure on the page, beginning and ending strokes, cross – stokes, and the list can go on. It is nearly impossible to focus on all these aspects at once, and even if your child able to achieve this, it might reduce the writing speed which can have a negative impact on academic performance. so what to do then? In solution to this, many teachers suggest learning how to write in cursive, but how does it help?

In cursive, we write from left to right joining letter to letter in proper sequence and with proper spacing, making it easier to read. Cursive writing was developed to write faster and in a smoother way. Writing with the block or gothic fonts slowdowns the writing speed and requires writers to focus on letters more than the text.

How to learn to write in cursive writing?

1. Begin with tracing

The best way to begin learning cursive writing is through tracing the letters. Tracing over and over again will help kids to grasp it more efficiently. We advise you to encourage your child to begin tracing on cursive handwriting worksheets; you can even download a free worksheet at the end of the article. Otherwise, if you want you can even use a lined paper to practice writing cursive letters. The dotted lines in a paper ensure the child maintains the size and shape of these cursive letters.

2. Initiate with lowercase cursive letters

In cursive handwriting, lowercase letters are similar to primary alphabets and i.e., it is easier to memorize them. For efficient learning, you should always begin how to write cursive with lowercase letters. Lowercase letters are further categorized into lowercase with an upward stroke and lowercase with a curved stroke.

a. Lowercase letters with an upward stroke

In cursive handwriting, letters like – b, f, h, I, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, u, w, x, y, allinitiate with an upward stroke. The only difference between them is some are extended to the top line, and some are to the middle-dashed line. Letters like f, j, p, and y are extended downward beyond the bottom line.

  1. Start practising with the easiest letter that is “u”. To draw the cursive letter u, simply make an upward stroke to the dotted line and slide back down to the bottom line and then curve upward to join the dotted line again and then again go down to create a little tail. Keep on practising until you get a grasp on this letter.

2. Once you achieve it, move on to the next one. You can choose the one with a similar stroke such as w and t. Other cursive alphabets like I, j, m, n, r, v, and y also uses a similar upward stroke but with a simple variation.

3. After having a thorough practice of these letters, you can proceed with the next set i.e. h, l, k, b, and f. These letters also initiate with upward stroke but are comparatively complicated than the previous letters because of their more complex shape. From this set, you can begin with the letter l.

4. To draw the letter “l”, Draw an upward stroke from the bottom line and then curve downward behind the upward stroke and extend it to the bottom line finishing it with a sweeping stroke to make a little tail.

5. After perfecting the letter “l”, start practising other letters that follow similar strokes, such as h, k, b and f.

b. Lowercase letters with a curved stroke

  1. The remaining set of lower case letters which we will learn now is letters with a curved stroke which are a, c, d, e, g, and o. From this set, we can begin with the letter “a” or “o”, you can choose whichever you want, we will start with the letter o.

2. To draw the letter o, Start from the middle dotted line and draw a small loop closing at the point where you started and at last make a large curve to the right, to form an oval and extend it to the top line.

3. To draw the lower case “a”, Start with the middle dotted line, and draw a downward stroke and loop it back to the middle line to create an oval and then make a stroke down from the top of the oval and extend it to the bottom line, making a sweeping curve just above the bottom line.

4. Once you have perfected these, you can move ahead to other lowercase letters with curved strokes.

3. Uppercase letters in cursive handwriting

  1. After perfecting your lowercase cursive alphabet, the next step is to learn the uppercase cursive alphabet. Choose the easiest one, you can go with the upper case L.
  2. To draw the uppercase L, start by drawing a loop from a point above the middle dotted line and curve the loop towards the top line. Extend it to the bottom line in a downward stroke, extend the line furthermore to make a small upward stroke from the bottom line towards the right and extend the stroke so it creates a slope on the bottom line. 

3. Next, we need to learn other uppercase letters of this set that are C, E, G, and O. These letters also follow similar strokes with a bit different variation so learning the letter L initially will be invaluable.

4. After completing this set, you can start learning the next complicated letter R, which has a similar pattern with B, D, F, J, P, and T. 

4. Perfecting your technique

After you have mastered the lowercase and uppercase letters, it’s time to improve your cursive writing skills.

a. Practice using letter guides

If you have practised through tracing worksheets, you must have a good idea of strokes and patterns but to improve and perfect these letters you can also use letter guides. Letter guides make it easier to understand the strokes and pattern by giving step by step guidance on how to draw every cursive letter using arrows and dotted line which you can trace. 

b. Practice linking the pattern of a single letter

After you have practised the first technique, the next step to improve cursive writing is to learn how to link these alphabets. First, we will link the pattern of a single alphabet. Pick out a letter of your choice and try writing one line of the same alphabet; try to link them in a fluid pattern. Remember to use a lined paper.

c. Practice linking the pattern of different letters

Once you complete practicing the single letter pattern for every letter, now you can try forming linking patterns of different letters. You can choose the pair of letters which join at the bottom, top, and bottom to top. You can try some pairs such as – ae, oa, se, ng, ue, etc. again try to link them in a fluid pattern. 

d. Join cursive letters to form words  

After practising linking letters try to form words with these letters. You can make this activity fun for your children by encouraging them to write their own names or words they like. Try forming sentences too. 

5. Practice regularly

Cursive writing is an art, and the more your child practice the more they improve. Encourage your child to spend at least 20 minutes daily to practice cursive handwriting, they can write different letters, words, and sentences using worksheets or write their favourite sentences or phrases that they like in cursive.

Tricks to follow

Cursive handwriting can be a bit complicated to learn for children, but we can make this learning process simple with few tricks. Complicated stroke patterns make these alphabets hard to memorize for children. One of the most common ways to make it easier for them is by grouping. This grouping of cursive alphabets is based on the styles, and it is categorized into four groups climbers, kite strings, loop groups, and hills and valleys.

For lower case cursive letters

  1. Clock Climbers – For the alphabet that follows clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation such as a, d, g, q, and c. 
  2. The Loop Group – For the alphabets that contain loop in their formation such as h, k, b, f, l, e
  3. Hills and Valleys – these letters all seem to follow the shape of hills and valley – n, m, v, y, x, z
  4. The Kite Strings – This group contains letters whose formation gives the shape of a string of a kite such as – i, u w, t, j, p, r, s, o 

For upper case cursive letters

  1. Slim 7 Group– P, R, B, H, K
  2. Umbrella Tops and Eggs– C, E, A, O, Q
  3. High Hills and Deep Valleys– N, M, U, V, Y

Additional benefits of handwriting practice

Apart from the improvement in academic performance, there are many additional skills children get when they begin to write in cursive.

Improved fine motor skills

With continuous practice of cursive handwriting children start to learn all the basic aspects that are required for good handwriting such as spacing and size of letter, positioning of pencil, accurate angle of the paper, the fluid motion required while linking letters, etc. this physical and spatial awareness which improves fine motor skills which helps in activities like reading, copying words from a blackboard, tying shoelaces, buttoning, etc. 

Increased retention

Research shows that students tend to understand and recall better after a week when they take notes by transcribing in cursive writing instead of typing on a computer. Taking notes by hand promotes students to process the content and reframe it better as compared to other methods. 

Improved spelling ability

In cursive handwriting, we need to write from left to right in a fluid motion joining letters in a proper sequence and spacing that makes them simple to read. On repeated use, muscle memory acquires these patterns and improves the spelling ability of children.

Ease of learning

Cursive handwriting improves mental effectiveness by the active interplay of the right and left cerebral hemispheres. As a result, it stimulates the brain and improves the ease of learning in a way typing and other fonts with stop-and-start motion cannot.

Increased writing speed

In cursive handwriting, the formation of words is done by linking letter to letter in a fluid pattern which increases the speed of writing, which is far better than normal or block(stop and start stroke) handwriting. Increased speed in turn increases the attention span of the child. 

Tips to follow  

Sit comfortably

Sit on a comfortable chair and keep your shoulder relaxed, back straight, and feet flat on the floor. Make sure your desk is not too high or too low for you and have a comfortable position.

Use a proper pencil/ink pen  

Depending on age, kids can use either a pen or pencil. When it comes to selecting the right pencil, there are only two things you need to check off the list, which is a comfortable grip and ease of writing; for a pencil, you can go with the one that has a triangular barrel. For a pen, people usually go for a fountain pen, but you can also use regular uni-ball ones as they are smooth and dry quickly.

Hold your pen correctly

Hold your pen/pencil at an angle of 45-degree with a light grip, you don’t need to apply too much pressure from the pen on the page. Most experts recommend holding a pen in a tripod grip where the pen rests on the middle finger and is held in place by the thumb and index finger, but there is no evidence to show one grip is better than others. We advise you to use whichever grip you feel comfortable in and avoid keeping your finger stiff and maintain a loose grip.

Don’t overdo it

Don’t pressurize your child to remember all the cursive letters at once and let them learn at their pace. Cursive writing is an art and child must enjoy while learning it, try to find a way in which they enjoy this learning. They will grasp faster and better when they enjoy it. Just encourage them to practice every day, even if it is for 20 minutes, as the more they will practice the easier to write it will get.

Place the paper at an angle 

The positioning of the paper makes a huge difference to a child’s handwriting. Correct positioning of paper allows the child to write comfortably and freely move their hand on paper. Moreover, this tilt makes it easier to see what they have written and helps them to maintain the slant of every letter. In general, the paper should be parallel to the child’s dominant hand. The positioning of the paper can further differ based on right-handed and left-handed people. You can see the below image to know the proper positioning of the paper according to your dominating hand.

Cursive writing worksheet

Download Free cursive writing worksheet

More Reading

Creative writing
WikiPedia – Cursive

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