Conquering Cursive Letter Connectors | The OT Toolbox

Conquering Cursive Letter Connectors

When kids are learning to write cursive letters, they need to connect together appropriately right from the start. Teaching correct connectors between letters is essential for cursive accuracy and legibility. 

If cursive letters don't connect properly, one letter can look like different letter. Connecting the letters together requires practice and instruction. The more a child succeeds in proper cursive connectors,  the more legible handwriting will be. If the letters don't connect correctly and it can be hard to read handwriting. This is especially true as we get older and practice the incorrect forms. Your hand will become accustomed to producing the incorrect forms.



Tip: Use these strategies to teach cursive letters with a tow rope connection.


Try these tricks and strategies to help kids conquer the cursive letter connectors between individual letters of a cursive word as they learn to write in cursive handwriting. Teachers and therapists will love these handwriting ideas for teaching cursive handwriting.


When forming specific letters, it can be easy to merge letters or for a cursive writer to form commonly connected letters in an alternative manner. You may find this is true when you write a letter e and e connected together. One cursive writer may make this letter combination completely different than another person who connects letters in a different way. 


The motor plan that you have in your mind for forming two letters together may remain the same with practice. Letter speed and rhythm has a lot to do with unique formations and connections of cursive letters.


Cursive letter formation and connectors can have a lot to do with the angle of handwriting. Paper slanted and positioned to the left will affect the way g connects to the letter next to it. 


More practice of letter connectors will help with speed and rhythm in cursive writing. The connections between letters will come naturally according to the individual's personal writing style.


Timed writing samples show that cursive writing is more efficient and quicker than the fastest printed writing. Joining letters with connectors is what makes in writing happen more quickly and efficiently.


Connectors in handwriting should occur fluidly and with a gliding motion of the pencil on the paper. If this doesn't occur, or the writing looks choppy or jumpy with letters being jumbled as a result of connection issues, it can be helpful to take breaks in between writing strokes. 

Think about an adult hand writing or your own handwriting. The cursive letters are probably fluid and not exact as you might have learned in a cursive handwriting guide book or in second grade cursive writing instruction. This is because you have develop your own style of cursive. This has happened over time and with practice. The motor plan is established. Kids can create their own cursive style  too. When that happens, handwriting will be legible and comfortable. For kids that are learning cursive letter connections, or kids that don't have the fluid motions quite yet, flow exercises can be a big help.


Exercises for Cursive Letter Connectors



Flow exercises are very important and useful in helping kids to develop fluid fluid motions and establishing a comfortable style of handwriting. Exercises designed to improve cursive letter connectors are made up of simple bends and arches,  joined together from the base. 


Cursive letter connector exercises connect common letters together and start at the base. This might be a series of "i"s connected with ease.  ANother connector exercise might be a string of cursive letter "l"s connected. You can also mix other letters such as "u" and "n", working on the flow between two different letters. 


Tips for Using Cursive Letter Connection Exercises to help with connectors between cursive letters


Try to incorporate different letter directions and sizes of joining strokes when working on the flow of connections.


Flow exercise typically occur with 2 to 3 letters in groups. This helps to form a motor plan for letter formation.


Another important point about connecting letters is formation. It's important to start certain letters at a specific point such as cursive o. It always needs to start at the top and curve around in a counterclockwise motion. In this way the letter can connect easily two other letters.

Backward Chaining in Teaching Cursive Letter Connectors

Backward chain letter formation! Backward chaining is a common strategy for tasks such as teaching kids to tie their own shoes or to fasten zippers. It can be used for learning cursive handwriting connectors, too! 

With backward chaining in cursive writing, it's important that this strategy is only used with letters that are very well established. Try this tool only when a child is very fluent with cursive letter b, for example. Then: students can start out with a bold-typed cursive b. They can write in a black magic marker or trace over a worksheet. Students can use a highlighter marker to trace over just the connector of the b. They can do this several times across a sheet of paper, tracing over only the connector line of the b as it travels to the next letter. Students can even trace that connector over to connect to other letters such as e, a, i, etc. 


Then, ask students to complete the whole letter b, connecting it to the same letters that were practiced above. 


Practice backward chaining with cursive letters by forming big motions of the cursive letters. For example, don't as students to start at mid loop of the b.


Direction change in cursive letter connections



Joining two letters that change directions can be confusing for kids who are just learning to write in cursive and connect letters correctly. Some letters require a change pencil direction when connecting. 

When two letters connect that require the pencil to go in one direction, and then stop and reverse to go in the opposite direction to connect the letter, it can be quite difficult for a child who is just learning to write in the continual pencil motions that cursive writing requires. 

These letters require precision and pencil control for legibility. Cursive writers need to have a relaxed style otherwise the retrace required in these letters can make the retrace wide. 


Look at your own cursive handwriting. You may notice that some letters are not formed or connect exactly as you were taught in grade school. Adaptations to cursive result in personal cursive writing styles and can be completely legible. 


It's important for kids to learn to correctly re-trace and connect letters when they are just learning. As they grow and develop their own personal writing style lifting the pencil for these letters is fine.


Connections between letters can vary from person to person as an individual ages and develops. As long as legibility and functional speed are appropriate, this is fine!

Looking for more ways to work on cursive letter connectors? Try any of these creative cursive writing strategies or these handwriting activities.


Try these tricks and strategies to help kids conquer the cursive letter connectors between individual letters of a cursive word as they learn to write in cursive handwriting. Teachers and therapists will love these handwriting ideas for teaching cursive handwriting.

Some top handwriting programs for addressing skills like letter formation and cursive connectors: 

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More cursive writing resources (Click on the images to find out more):





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.

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