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If you've ever taken a close look at cursive letters, you might recognize common starting pencil strokes that connect letters together into groups.  We discussed this in a previous post here on The OT Toolbox on cursive letter families

Today, we're playing a fun cursive writing game that recognizes the common beginning starting points and starting lines that make up cursive letters. 


Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.

Cursive Writing Starting Lines are the beginning pencil movements that create letters. Take a look at the images below and notice the starting movements that make up each group of letters. These starting lines create the cursive letter families. 

This activity is part of our series on how to teach cursive writing.

Cursive Writing Starting Lines


Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.
Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.

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To create this cursive letter game, we used four different colors of index cards. On each one, draw the beginning cursive lines below. 


Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.
Letters are grouped into families, but each card should only have the first pencil motion that makes up each group: a bump, a portion of a loop, an upward slant, and a rolling curve up. 

Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.


On the reverse side of each card, write the corresponding letters in that group. 

Students can be shown how each letter has similarities in beginning lines. 

Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.

To play the beginning lines cursive writing game, create small flash cards with each letter. You can match colors for beginner cursive writers. Use a common color to make the activity more difficult. 

Next, ask students to match the cards to the beginning lines card. 

Turn all of the small letter flashcards over and play a memory game. When the student flips the letter over, they can flip over the corresponding beginning line mark. This game works well with cards and letters that are all a single color.

How can you show students that the letters are grouped by a common beginning start line?

Need help with the underlying skills needed for handwriting? Start here on our Handwriting resources page.


The Handwriting Book  is a huge resource when it comes to addressing handwriting concerns. It's a book written by 10 occupational therapists and physical therapists and refers to every underlying skill related to written work. This is a tool for therapists, teachers, and parents.





Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.




Make these index card flash cards to play a letter memory game that teaches kids about cursive writing starting lines to help kids learn to write cursive handwriting.






Today, we're taking a break from the mechanics of cursive writing to share a quick and fun way to practice cursive letters, pre-cursive lines, or cursive connections. 

Use this cursive handwriting activity to help kids work on individual letters or the areas of cursive that need a little more practice in a beautiful and process art manner! 

This activity is part of our 31 day series on how to teach cursive writing. You'll want to check out all of the posts we've shared so far this month in order to gather a better understanding of aspects of cursive handwriting that are needed for legibility and function. 

These pieces include the rhythm of cursive, speed of cursive writing, cursive slant, cursive letter connectors, and so many more areas that make up functional cursive handwriting. 

Try this watercolor resist activity to practice cursive handwriting including letter formation, cursive writing lines, and pre-cursive lines.

Cursive Writing Watercolor Resist Activity


Affiliate links are included in this post. 

Use this watercolor resist activity to practice individual letters or portions of letters including pre-cursive writing lines. 

Start with a white crayon. Some children may benefit from a small crayon piece. Simply break the crayon into a piece. Read more about cursive writing and pencil grasp.

Next, ask students to write cursive letters with the white crayon on white paper. Watercolor paper works best for this activity. 

Students can really practice the motor plan and visual memory needed for letter formation with this watercolor resist activity. They will be able to slightly see the lines they have created with the white crayon, but will not be able to completely see each line or errors in re-trace. 


Then, use the watercolors to create strips of color for each line of cursive letters or cursive pre-writing lines

Try adding light pencil lines for the baseline for each row of lines or cursive letters. 

Try this watercolor resist activity to practice cursive handwriting including letter formation, cursive writing lines, and pre-cursive lines.

More advanced students can practice cursive letter combinations and connectors by writing lists of spelling words or even a secret message in cursive. 

Make it colorful and fun to practice cursive writing without the worksheets!

Try this watercolor resist activity to practice cursive handwriting including letter formation, cursive writing lines, and pre-cursive lines.

Here are more creative cursive practice activities:







In current classrooms, it can be difficult to find time for cursive instruction. There has been more and more debates about the need to teach cursive. Other schools combine cursive instruction with morning work or with classes such as cursive such as spelling. 

The tips below can be helpful in teaching cursive in the classroom despite common struggles such as limited time or resources.




Try these tips and tricks for teaching cursive in the classroom


Tips for Teaching Cursive in the Classroom


One issue that can interfere with proper cursive instruction is a lack of specific cursive curriculum. Students may not be instructed with specific directions for each letter formation. Rather they are allowed to copy from overhead work or write creatively using cursive letters guides or visuals. 

When kids are taught cursive by copying forms alone, many times letter formation is a big issue. 

These incorrect movements become habits that are progressively more and more difficult to adjust and correct. As students are required to write more quickly or with more words per sentence or paragraph page cursive can become even more difficult to read overall.


Schools are also are limited in time allowed for cursive instruction. 


There are ways to instruct cursive handwriting in curriculum so that proper cursive training occurs and kids don't become frustrated or utilize creative formation patterns.


Common concerns with cursive instruction in the classroom



Many times teachers allow students to write spelling words in print followed by cursive. When they do this they are expecting proper spelling in the printed form but perhaps not the cursive form. This seems like an awkward practice session for kids who don't know the pattern the movement strokes of cursive letters. 

Rather than instructing the student in cursive letter formation they are allowing students to continue on with poor motor plans for letter formation resulting in an accurate spelling.


Another common issue is that there may not be a schoolwide or districtwide hand writing model in place. As a result some some classes in the school or district may teach cursive at a different rate or while using different verbal prompts then another classroom. 

These students then move onto upper grades at different cursive abilities. Upper classes may require cursive handwriting in reports or journal pages knowing that some kids from a particular school or even classroom were not instructed in the same manner as another student who attended the same school district.


In the earlier grades at the second and third grade level it's important that time is set aside specifically for cursive handwriting instruction rather than combining it with classes such as spelling. 

In this way students are able to learn specific cursive exercises, pencil control expert motions, and letter formation using verbal prompts.

Here are strategies to help with common handwriting problems such as line awareness, spatial awareness, sizing, and more.


Tips for classroom cursive handwriting instruction



Cursive writing can be taught to the whole classroom at one time, using a consistent cursive lesson plan. This allows for practicing the motions of letters in the air, on paper, and with use of consistent verbal cues and visual prompts. 

Initial instruction can include large motor motions using consistent verbal cues for each letter as it is taught. In the classroom instruction, a teacher can demonstrate sequence of motions including height, retrace, connections, and spacing.


Student's written work should be checked individually. They should be done as the child is writing with verbal and visual prompts to correct letter formation as indicated. It is very risky to instruct entire class without checking for proper mechanics as these in accuracies can lead to poor motor planning of letter formation.


Try this cursive activity in the classroom:



Modified from a Handwriting Without Tears program, "Come On Up" is one strategy to teach cursive handwriting in a group setting. Students can work on cursive writing as a group learning and practicing what they have learned already. This is a good way to go over previous learn learn letters.


Come On Up group cursive writing activity

Play the game, Come on Up to help students learn and practice cursive letter formation.

The teacher can write cursive letters of the alphabet on the chalkboard or SmartBoard. Assign students a letter of the alphabet. As the instructor writes a letter, she should call out the letter and say, "Come on Up letter..." 

The student assigned to that letter can come to the front of the classroom, trace over the letter on the board, and then write their letter right underneath it. 

This is a good way to practice while boosting self-confidence with cursive formation. The entire class practices letters and can help each other with formation if needed. 

Getting up and moving in the classroom is a great way to sneak in movement during learning. Students can shuffle letter so that they are able to practice other letters of the alphabet.

Try these tips and tricks for teaching cursive in the classroom

More strategies to help with cursive writing instruction:







When students are learning cursive, it's common for slow formation to occur. Here are ways to help students write with increased speed in cursive writing and tips to help improve functional cursive.

This is part of our 31 day series on how to teach cursive writing.



Use these strategies to help kids improve cursive writing speed for increased cursive writing function.


Writing in cursive is complex! Students need to really focus on letter formation, pencil control, and retrace of lines when writing in cursive. On top of all that, there is the line awareness, spatial awareness, and size awareness needed for written work. This is a lot to remember! 

Speed of cursive writing does come with practice through. For the student who has learned all of the cursive letters, cursive speed is the next step in functional writing.

Students eventually should focus on speed in cursive writing. Legible handwriting is the overall goal, and students must eventually develop the speed and accuracy for legible and functional writing. 

This is particularly important when students are asked to write more quickly or to copy notes and the older grades cursive writing is needed at a faster pace.


Speed in cursive writing



Use the strategies below to work on speed in cursive writing. These strategies should only use be used by students who have mastered letter formation and retrace in a legible and functional manner.


  • Ask students to work on timed cursive writing. Start with just cursive exercises (Use the cursive exercise ideas below). Timed cursive can also be done with a sentence or list of words like spelling words.

  • Cursive exercises- Use a timer and ask students to complete a worksheet of cursive writing or a single page of cursive exercises like waves and connected T's, loops, or bumps, students can be timed on completion with accuracy.
  • Timed letter count- Turn on a timer and ask students to write cursive words. Written work can be strings of letters, words, or sentences as student's copy from a model placed on their desk. Students can write as much as they are able in the given time. When the timer goes off, students can stop and count the number of words or individual letters they were able to write. Repeat this exercise each day, marking down number of words.

  • Eventually work on short words such as sight words or commonly used words. They can copy a strand of these words with timed tests.

Timed cursive exercise tips



If at anytime during time to work letter formation suffers, go back and work on proper letter formation with consistent verbal cues.


Exercises in speed are necessary to help students develop more function in their pursuit of writing. As children age, they are required to write faster and for longer periods to take notes. Speeding up exercises can help writers find flow of their personal style.


When students start to speed up in a writing, many times you will see modifications of formation in letters. Overtime these modifications become automatic as the motor plan becomes consistent through practice. 

When students are required to form those combinations of letters again and again, unique letter formation between letters become automatic and comfortable. 

It's important to ensure a quality of handwriting so that the student is able to look back over their notes read what they've written. Many times, kids scribble down homework assignments or notes and then can't read them later. This isn't functional writing and speed should slow down.

Students who write too slowly in cursive will benefit from increased practice and back attrition. Overtime the speed will increase as the the motor plan of letters becomes more automatic.



Use these strategies to help kids improve cursive writing speed for increased cursive writing function.

Assessment of writing speed

One assessment that can be used to assess speed of handwriting is the DASH. The Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH), and the Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting 17+ (DASH 17+) are standardised tests. The DASH is a reliable tool to assess  handwriting speed against the norms expected for a child's age.

Speed of cursive writing is important for rhythm and function in cursive. Need to work on some other areas of cursive, try these ideas:







If you've been following our series on how to teach cursive, then you now have a lot of cursive writing techniques and tips under your toolbelt. Today, you'll find creative cursive practice ideas here on The OT Toolbox. These are creative ways to practice cursive writing so that handwriting time is fun and not boring! 

This post is part of our series on how to teach cursive writing. Check them all out for tips, strategies, and tools for teaching cursive.

One of the posts in this series included creative ways to practice cursive writing using the senses. Today's ideas are different mediums to write on including various types of paper or other writing surfaces. These are fun ways to practice cursive letter formation.



Creative ways for kids to work on cursive writing including letter formation.


Creative Cursive Practice Ideas


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Try writing these creative writing ideas for practicing cursive letter formation, re-trace, rhythm, and speed of writing.

Write on recycled newspaper.

Write on graph paper.

Fill a tray with sand. Add a small amount of water and flatten the sand. Students can write with their finger or a stick in the sand.

Write on cardboard.

Write on paper bags.

Write on paper towels. Drip water to watch the marks blend. 

Write on wallpaper scraps. 

Write on envelopes.

Write on transfer paper.

Write on cardboard tubes.

Write on a plastic tablecloth using permanent markers. 

Write on leaves.

Write on tape.


Write on poster board.

Write on recycled floor tiles with a dry erase marker.

Use sandpaper under paper for practice.

Use a writing tray filled with a variety of mediums such as beans, rice, corn, sand, paint, cornmeal etc. 

Practice letter formation on a chalkboard using a wet paint brush.

Practice letter formation using a feather on their hand.

Practice letter formation in the finger paints.

Cover the desk with a material such as shaving cream or putting to practice cursive writing.

Use glue to write cursive letters. Create crayon rubbings.

Make textured cursive letters with glue and sprinkle with glitter or colored sand with them dry. Students can touch and feel letters.

Creative ways for kids to work on cursive writing including letter formation.


Need more ideas to practice cursive writing? Try these ideas: 






Creative ways for kids to work on cursive writing including letter formation.

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