Upper Case Cursive Letter Formation

Teaching kids to write in cursive can be quite tricky. When it comes to uppercase letters in cursive letters can create another motor plan that needs to be established for accuracy. Below you’ll find tricks for teaching uppercase cursive letters and uppercase cursive letter formation.



Some uppercase cursive letters are not used as often as their lowercase counterpart. When kids learn to write their name in cursive and become proficient at their cursive signature the uppercase letter is just part of the motor plan becomes natural and a personal part of a personal style. There are many uppercase cursive letters that can easily be forgotten simply because they are not used very often!



Here are the verbal prompts needed to teach uppercase cursive letter formation.



This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 

For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.

Uppercase Cursive Letter Formation



Some students develop a natural speed and personal writing style and will prefer to write in cursive. Other students will write only their signature in cursive. Still other students develop a natural speed and personal style and may mix upper and lower case cursive letters. 


If you look at the average adult handwriting you may notice that there is a mixture of printed and cursive letters. The goal being functional written work, this is fine for adults and individuals who are writing for speed such as high school students.


However, consistent and accurate formation is needed for formal written work in cursive.





Uppercase cursive letters



Like the cursive letter families for lowercase, the uppercase letters are divided up into groups of families based on pencil strokes.



Uppercase Cursive Letter Families

Uppercase downward start cursive letters:



These letters include D, F, and T.





These letters all start with a downward stroke of the pencil. 


D begins down followed by a loop to the left upwards with a curved back to the baseline and a big round curve to finish off the top.



F starts in the middle of the letter with a downward stroke followed by a curve to the left and a crossline. Then on top is a crossline topper.



T starts with a middle down work stroke in the middle of the letter followed by a curve to the left and no crossline. Then on top is a crossline topper.



Right curve start uppercase letters



This group includes uppercase letters that start on the right side and curve left. This is much like the formation of a printed c. Right cursive start uppercase letters include A, C, E, O, and Q.



Uppercase cursive A starts at the right top line and curves to the left with a big C motion to the baseline. The pencil then curves up to close a letter causes at the top line. Retrace back down in loops a way to connect.



Uppercase C starts with a right curve start at the top uppercase C



Uppercase letter E



E starts with a right curve start at the top line. It includes two small curves pausing at the middle line before curbing again to the left to the baseline.



Uppercase letter O



Uppercase letter O is a right curve start beginning at the top line and curbing in a big city motion to the baseline. It continues around to close the lot start has a small loop at the top.



Uppercase letter Q



Uppercase letter Q is a right curve start letter beginning at the top line and curving in a big motion to the baseline. Q continues around to close the top of the letter and has a small loop at the end. It then has a kickstand line to complete the letter.


Rocker start uppercase letters



Rocker start letters begin with a small curving motion to begin the letter at the top line. These letters include B, P, R, and L



Uppercase letter B



B starts with a rocker start followed by a straight line down to the baseline. It retraces up to the top line and curve around right to the middle line. Pause and curve around right to the baseline.



Uppercase letter P



Uppercase letter P is a rocker start cursive letter. The letter starts with a rocker line to the top. Straight  line down to the baseline. Retrace up to the top line. Curve around with a small curve to the middle line.



Uppercase letter R



Uppercase letter R is a rocker start cursive letter. The letter starts with a rocker line to the top. Straight line down to the baseline. Retrace up to the top line. Curve around with a small curve to the middle line. Kick out to the baseline with a slant.



Uppercase letter L



Uppercase letter L is a rocker start letter that continues with a small loop down to the baseline. The line continues with a small group and diagonal line to connect as it swings away to the baseline. 


Left curve start letters

Two letters start with a left. These include uppercase letter I and J. Both letters start with the pencil moving in a left line direction.



Uppercase letter I is a left curve start letter. The letter starts at the baseline and swings in a loop to the left and turns at the top line. It continues the tall loop back to the baseline, but continues the motion until reaching the middle line. The pencil pauses and pulls in toward the loop at the midline.



Uppercase letter J



J is a left curve start letter. The letter starts at the baseline and curves left and then up to the top line. It swings straight back down to the baseline and pass the baseline with a table. The line then swings left and then curves up and away to connect.



Top loop start letters



Several letter start with a Top loop that continues down. Please letters including H, K, M, N, X, and W.



Uppercase letter H



Uppercase letter H begins with a top loop that continues down to the baseline. The pencil picks up and starts again at the top line. The pencil stroke goes straight down to the baseline and then swings away to touch the initial pencil line. It swings in a loop and then connects over to the second line. 


Uppercase letter H is one of a few letters with two pencil strokes where the pencil picks up to continue a letter. Most cursive letters and all other cursive letters use only a single pencil stroke.



Uppercase letter K


Uppercase letter K paragraph is a loop start letter. It begins at the top with a link to the right on the lease straight line down to the baseline. This is much like the uppercase letter H. However with the cake it’s second line starts at the top line and continues in to cross the first line with a small loop and then continues out again to the baseline.


Uppercase letter H is one of a few letters with two pencil strokes where the pencil picks up to continue a letter. Most cursive letters and all other cursive letters use only a single pencil stroke.




Uppercase letter M



Letter M is a loop start letter that begins at the top line with a loop. The line continue straight down to the baseline and stops. It retraces up over the climb to the top with a bump and continues down to the baseline again. The pencil strip retraces back up that one to the top line and bumps over to the baseline



Uppercase letter N



N is a loop start letter that begins at the top line with a loop. The line continue straight down to the baseline and pauses. It re-traces back up and curbs away with a bump at the top line. The line continue straight down to the baseline and stops.



Uppercase letter X



Uppercase letter X is a loop start letter that begins with the loop at the top line followed by a diagonal line down to the baseline. The pencil is picked up and continued at the top line and has a diagonal in the opposite direction to cross at the middle of the X.





Uppercase letter W



Letter W is a loop start letter that begins at the top line with a loop. The line continues down with a bottom bump inverted bump at the baseline that continues up to the middle line and beyond to the top line. The line is retraced back down with an inverted pump at the baseline. The line continues back up to the top line.



Other letters



The remaining uppercase cursive letters are ones that are very similar information to their lowercase counterparts. They are quite similar in most cases to their printed letter. These letters include Z, U, Y, V,  and W.





Uppercase letter Z



Z is an exact replica of the lowercase Z form.



Uppercase letter U



U is an exact replica of its printed counterpart.



Uppercase letter Y



Uppercase letter Y is an exact replica of it’s lowercase cursive counterpart.





Uppercase letter V



V is an exact count a part of its printed counterpart.



Uppercase letter W



Uppercase letter W is an exact replica of its printed counterpart.


The uppercase cursive letters described here are a combination of and mix of two cursive letter styles. The descriptions are designed to promote the easiest formation style of cursive letters, eliminating extra lines such as the beginning loop of uppercase cursive letter C. The letters that are exact replicas of their printed counterparts are designed to ease transition for letters that are not commonly used in written work. This is a tactic of the Handwriting Without Tears format. 


For more cursive handwriting practice, try these ideas:









Here are the verbal prompts needed to teach uppercase cursive letter formation.

Cursive Slime

Adding movement and sensory input to teaching letters and handwriting is key for learning the motor plan, identifying letters, and carryover of learned skills. 

This cursive slime activity is a fun way to encourage letter formation, letter identification, and letter matching using slime as a fine motor and sensory medium to make the activity fun and memorable. 


This cursive slime activity adds a proprioceptive, tactile, and movement component to learning the parts of cursive letters. Kids can focus on the starting pencil lines that make up groups of letters known as cursive letter families.
Use cursive beads to work on cursive letter identification using cursive slime as a sensory tool and tactile sensory play.



Cursive Slime Activity


There is a lot more information on cursive letter families as well as more cursive writing strategies and tools here and in the How to Teach Cursive Writing series that we have on The OT Toolbox this month.

Grab more cursive writing tips and strategies for teaching cursive handwriting under the cursive writing tab up above.

For this cursive slime activity, you will first need a batch of slime. We love to make non-borax slime for safety reasons.

Our favorite recipe (and my YouTube loving kids are HUGE fans of trying all.the.recipes) is this contact solution and baking soda slime recipe. It’s a quick slime recipe that pulls together easily and one that older kids can make on their own.

Then, add cursive letter beads.


Use cursive beads to work on cursive letter identification using cursive slime as a sensory tool and tactile sensory play.

Now, it’s time to play! Kids can play with this cursive slime activity in so many ways.

Look for letters according to cursive letter family, match cursive letters, and sort.

Pull the beads out of the slime and press them back in again. What a workout for the hands.

Here are a few more slime or sensory dough recipes that would be perfect for hiding and pulling out the cursive letter beads:


 How to make crayon play dough Harold and the Purple Crayon activity  Crayon Floam Dough recipe Metallic sparkly crayon play dough

How to Make Crayon Play Dough

Pair crayon play dough with Harold and the Purple Crayon book

Use broken crayons to make crayon floam dough

Celebrate the sparkle with gold, sliver, and bronze metallic crayon play dough

Use cursive beads to work on cursive letter identification using cursive slime as a sensory tool and tactile sensory play.

Cursive Activity Beads

Coming up with creative activities that can help kids learn to identify and write cursive letters can be fun. This cursive activity uses beads as a tool for forming letters, copying cursive letters, and learning to identify cursive letters. The best thing about these cursive activity beads is that they can be used in a variety of ways to help kids learn and carryover cursive writing skills.

You can read more about cursive letter families below as well as more cursive writing strategies and tools here and in the How to Teach Cursive Writing series that we have on The OT Toolbox this month.

You can find all of the tips and strategies for teaching cursive handwriting under the cursive writing tab up above.


Use these cursive activity beads to help kids learn cursive letters, learn to write cursive letters, practice cursive formation and cursive letter identification, and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

Cursive Activity Beads

Affiliate links are included in this post.

You’ll need just a few materials to make your own set of cursive activity beads:


Use these cursive activity beads to help kids learn cursive letters, learn to write cursive letters, practice cursive formation and cursive letter identification, and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

It’s very easy to create these beads for using in cursive writing activities. Simply use the permanent marker and write letters on the sides of the beads. The flat side of the wooden beads makes it easy to write a small cursive letter. The surface “holds” the permanent marker’s ink nicely so it doesn’t smear. 

We wrote the cursive letters on the beads according to cursive families. This way, cursive letters of the same cursive letter family were on the same bead. It’s a fun way to help kids learn parts of cursive letters and cursive letter families…to in the end help with carryover of cursive skills. 

Use these cursive activity beads to help kids learn cursive letters, learn to write cursive letters, practice cursive formation and cursive letter identification, and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

Cursive Letter Identification Activities


Use the cursive activity beads to help kids learn and practice cursive letters in many ways:

Use tweezers to pick up and identify cursive letters.
Play with the beads in a sensory bin.
Thread the beads onto feathers to sort by cursive letter family or to spell words. 
Add beads to a pipe cleaner.
Match cursive letter families by threading all of the beads with the same cursive letter family on the same pipe cleaner. 
Add them to a letter sensory bottle and ask students to scan for each letter of the alphabet.
Press them into play dough and then find them again.
Thread the beads onto dry spaghetti noodles to sort by cursive letter family or to spell words. 
Spell sight words or spelling words by threading the beads on a string.
Spell sight words or spelling words by pressing the beads into play dough.
Add them to slime.
Press them into moldable eraser material
Use these cursive activity beads to help kids learn cursive letters, learn to write cursive letters, practice cursive formation and cursive letter identification, and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

Here are more letter identification activities that can be used to work on cursive letter identification:




The Secret to Cursive Legibility is…

When it comes to handwriting, legibility is a big issue. Students can work on letter formation, speed, copying skills, pencil pressure, and other components of handwriting…but there is one focus that can make all the difference in cursive legibility: letter size! Letter size is a huge area to address if you are concerned with cursive legibility and functional handwriting.


For printed handwriting, size is a big concern and a helpful area to address to boost handwriting legibility but the biggest way to immediately make a difference in legibility to to address spacing between words. When it comes to cursive writing, that key area is letter size.

This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 

For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.

Use color-coded visual guides to help kids to work on handwriting letter size tricks to help kids with cursive legibility and consistent cursive handwriting.

Cursive Legibility and Handwriting Letter Size


With cursive handwriting, the natural spacing that occurs with cursive letter connectors help to group words together. Addressing size will help with consistency of letter formation and overall look of cursive writing. 

A smaller letter size is essential for increased speed that is needed for functional use of cursive as a writing form. 

When some tall letters are hitting the top line and others are hitting at the midline, overall legibility suffers. When some small letters hit the top line, the letters can look like a different letter (A cursive e that is formed so it hits the top line will look like a cursive l).

Handwriting Letter Size Activity

Try this easy activity to address consistency of handwriting letter size and cursive legibility. 

You’ll need just a couple of materials for this letter size activity:
Affiliate links are included.

Cut each colored cardstock into small index card-sized pieces. Use these as starting and stopping guides for cursive handwriting. 

The green cardstock can be the guide for a starting point for cursive letters. For some kids, knowing to start on the baseline is a big part of letter formation and cursive legibility.

For other kids, handwriting letter size is limited by the various sizes of cursive letters. For these kids, a visual guide of where to pause and re-trace or curve over to complete the cursive letter can really help with letter formation and cursive legibility.

Use the red cardstock to guide the top point of letters. 

The visual guide can be used effectively when practicing a series of cursive letters such as a line of cursive letter b‘s. Simply hold the guide at the top line as a visual cue to stop at the top writing line. 

The visual cue cards can be used as a visual self-check after writing a word.

Use color-coded visual guides to help kids to work on handwriting letter size tricks to help kids with cursive legibility and consistent cursive handwriting.

Ruler Trick for Cursive Letter Size

Another trick to help with consistent cursive letter size is to use the ruler trick. Use a wooden ruler as a visual guide that can be kept in a desk or binder. Use a red marker to color the edge of a wooden ruler

Color the edge of a ruler to work on handwriting letter size tricks to help kids with cursive legibility and consistent cursive handwriting.

The ruler can then be used to guide or self-check letter height.

Looking for more ways to make cursive handwriting consistent and legible? Try these ideas:

Use these handwriting letter size tricks to help kids with cursive legibility and consistent cursive handwriting.

Teach Cursive Tree Letters

Here on The OT Toolbox, we’ve been sharing lots of ideas on how to teach cursive writing. Today, you’ll find creative activities and tips for teaching cursive letter formation of tree letters. Cursive tree letters are those ones that start with a line up followed by a traced line back down. Lowercase cursive letters i, j, p, t, u, and w  are tree letters. This cursive letter family is a group of cursive letters that are formed with similar pencil strokes.



Breaking letters down into cursive families can help students learn cursive letter formation. Below, you will find information on how to teach cursive letter formation of “tree letters”.


Check out how each letter of the alphabet is broken down into chunks of similar letters in this Facebook video.


Try this cursive handwriting activity to help kids learn to write in cursive, using an image of a tree for cursive letters i, j, t, u, and w.



Teach cursive letter formation “tree” letters

This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 

For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.


Cursive Letter Formation of “Tree” Letters



When instructing students in forming these letters, start by outlining a cursive letter lesson plan of activities. You can read more about cursive letter lesson plans here.



Students can start out with learning The Tree Letters, start by practicing a series of upward curves across a line of paper. This can look like a string of cursive letter t‘s joined together. When practicing the curve of the cursive letter t motions in a strand across a page, don’t worry about the crossing of the t’s. Instead, set awareness on re-trace and the start/stop point of each curve.

Most important is the re-trace portion. Instruct students to draw the lines with proper re-trace as they trace back over the lines to create another line up and down. 
When beginning with cursive instruction, students should concentrate on an upward curve from the base line to the middle line or top line of the paper. This is the “tree” of a tree trunk visual and is the re-occuring stroke in the letters i, j, p, t, u, and w. 

Rainbow Writing Cursive Letter Tree Letters Activity


One activity that can practice the formation needed for tree letters is to practice drawing rainbows. Using a variety of colored pencils or markers, ask students to draw a small rainbow that starts at the baseline and peaks at the middle line. They can then trace back over that rainbow with other colors. 

Then, ask students to create a series of rainbows across the line of paper using one color. They can then draw over that series of rainbow bumps with each colored pencil or marker. 

As students trace over the previous color, ask them to keep their colored pencil or marker on the lines and to continue with re-trace back down to the baseline and back up again. 

Try this cursive handwriting activity to help kids learn to write in cursive, using an image of a tree for cursive letters i, j, t, u, and w.

Activities for Teaching Cursive Letter Tree Letters

Use short phrases to instruct cursive formation. Phrases like “Pause”, “Stop”, “Trace back”, “Curve up”, “Curve Down”, and “Swing away to connect” can help. 




The verbal prompts should involve starting and stopping points such as “Start at the baseline”, “stop at the middle line”, or “Stop at the top line”. Line names should remain consistent with names used by the student in learning printed handwriting. Bottom Line, Middle Line, and Top Line are simple cues that typically work well.




Try this tree themed activity to teach cursive letter tree letters:



1.) Students learning the Tree Letters will benefit from a visual image of a a series of curved lines up and back down with a visual of a tree’s branches at the top. The tree’s trunk should trace back down over it’s first line to create a single trunk line. Use a green stamp to create a small leaf top on a letter t.


Try this with a series of letter t’s and the other Tree Letters. Be sure to ask students to copy only 2-3 letters at a time while working on formation so that poor habits are not established.






How to Teach Lowercase Cursive i



Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter i:

Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Then swing away to connect. Go back and add the dot.

Instruct students to trace over the lines and create a small set of “roots” at the bottom of the tree trunk.


How to Teach Lowercase Cursive t
Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter t:



Start at the baseline. Curve up to the top line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Then swing away to connect. Go back and add the crossline.


Instruct students to trace over the lines and create a small set of “roots” at the bottom of the tree trunk of the t

Note about letter t- Older styles of cursive handwriting used a height of letter t that was taller than the middle line yet shorter than the top line. For ease and consistency with children, a height that reaches the top line can be most efficient. 


How to Teach Lowercase Cursive p

Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter p:

Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Pass the baseline. Pause. Trace back up the tree trunk to the middle line. Curve around in a circle. Stop at the tree trunk near the baseline. Then swing away to connect. 


Note about cursive letter p- This letter has a lot of re-trace. It also has a point where the pencil needs to stop without crossing over another line. This closure point can be a difficult precision point for some students. Work on re-trace and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays. 

How to Teach Lowercase Cursive u






Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter u:






Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Then swing away to create a second tree. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Swing away to connect.



How to Teach Lowercase Cursive w






Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter w:



Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Then swing away to create a second tree. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Then swing away to create a third tree. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. Swing away to connect.


How to Teach Lowercase Cursive j







Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter j:

Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Pause. Trace back down the tree trunk. pass the baseline and loop to the left. Swing up to the baseline and away to connect. 







A few tips for teaching tree letters





It would be very difficult to teach cursive handwriting only by verbal instruction. Carryover and accuracy would suffer!


A visual component and slow teaching strategies are very important. Try these tips to help with learning cursive bump letters.



Use large motor movements when starting out with cursive instruction. 

Teach each letter individually and for short periods of time each day.

Practice cursive letters in multiple sensory experiences, including shaving cream on desks, writing trays, in goop, with play dough or slime, etc.

Practice near copy work using a visual cue like these free cursive letter flashcards.

Practice each letter in a group focusing on one letter at a time. When a new letter is introduced, continue with previously learned letters. 


Want to teach other cursive letter families? 
Here is information on how to teach wave letters (c, a, d, g, q).
Try these ideas to teach bump letters (m, n, v, x, y, z).


Try this cursive handwriting activity to help kids learn to write in cursive, using an image of a tree for cursive letters i, j, t, u, and w.

More Cursive Handwriting Tools and Resources:

Affiliate links are included.











Try these cursive writing tools to help with forming letters:
Affiliate links are included. 


Cursive Writing Wizard is a free app on Amazon that allows students to trace letters and words. The app has stickers and animations as well as games that promote learning of cursive letters and connecting lines. 
Cursive Handwriting Workbook is a workbook for kids in elementary grades and focuses on  formation of cursive letters (upper and lower case) as well as words. 

Teachers can use a laser pointer in the classroom to help students see parts of cursive letters as they instruct each part of the formation. This is helpful when teaching letters in cursive letter families.


Cursive Letter Identification Activity

Practicing cursive handwriting is one of the best strategies to helping kids carryover the skills that they’ve learned in cursive writing instruction. It makes sense, right? You practice more, you get better at it! But there is actually more to it. The more practice that a child gets when using creative and unique activities, the more they are challenged in a variety of multisensory experiences. These various sensory and tactile experience broaden the fabric of a child’s learning experience. 


This cursive letter activity is one that does just that; It is a creative tool to encourage cursive writing experiences that the child can draw on down the road. It allows eye-hand coordination and the perceptual skills of scanning, figure ground, form constancy and others as well as fine motor motions and dexterity. 

Use this cursive letter activity to help with cursive letter identification and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

You can read more about cursive letter families below as well as more cursive writing strategies and tools here and in the How to Teach Cursive Writing series that we have on The OT Toolbox this month.

You can find all of the tips and strategies for teaching cursive handwriting under the cursive writing tab up above.




Cursive Handwriting Activity


Use this handwriting activity to develop the ability to write, recall, and form cursive letters.

There has been much research demonstrating the use of our hands in manipulation of tools and materials as playing a valuable role in development of cognition and learning. 

This fine motor activity is one that meets those criteria while working on cursive handwriting.

You’ll need just a few materials to create this cursive writing manipulative activity:

Pipe cleaner
Tape
Straw
Permanent marker
Scissors

Use this cursive letter activity to help with cursive letter identification and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.
To start this activity, cut the tape into small sections. Fold them over the straw as shown in the picture. Between each tape piece, cut the straw. You should now have “beads” of sorts. 

Use the permanent marker to write cursive letters on one side of the tape. Flip the “bead” over and write the printed version of that letter on the other side. Ensure the letter is not written upside down.

Next, slide the cursive letter pieces onto the pipe cleaner.

Fold one end of the pipe cleaner into a ball to prevent the letters from sliding off. 

Add the remaining cursive letters to the pipe cleaner.

Fold the other end of the pipe cleaner to stop the letters from sliding off.

Letters can be added to the pipe cleaner by cursive letter family or randomly.

Use this cursive letter activity to help with cursive letter identification and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

How to use this cursive writing tool:


Ask students to turn over the letters. They can copy the cursive letter or form the cursive letter from memory as they view the printed letter.

Use the letters as a model for writing the cursive letters in a sensory writing tray.

Scatter the letters on a table and ask students to sort letters or order them in alphabetical order. Students can then thread the letter “beads” onto the pipe cleaner.

Use this cursive letter activity to help with cursive letter identification and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

Use these letters in a variety of ways like described in this DIY cursive letter bead activity

Use this cursive letter activity to help with cursive letter identification and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

Use this cursive letter activity to help with cursive letter identification and carryover of cursive handwriting skills.

Teach Cursive Letter Formation Bump Letters

Try this creative activity for teaching cursive letter formation. By breaking letters down into cursive families, students can benefit from the parts that make up formation of cursive letters. Below, you will find information on how to teach cursive letter formation of “bump letters”.



Bump letters are those cursive letters that form with a bump to start off the pencil’s motion. Bump letters include m, n, v, x, y, and z. 


Check out how each letter of the alphabet is broken down into chunks of similar letters in this Facebook video.


Use these activities and handwriting tips to help kids learn to write cursive letters. These are fun ways to teach cursive letter formation bump letters.



Teach cursive letter formation bump letters

This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 


For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.


Cursive Letter Formation of Wave Letters



When instructing students in forming these letters, start by outlining a cursive letter lesson plan of activities. You can read more about cursive letter lesson plans here.



When teaching the Bump Letters, start by asking students to practice a series of bumps across a line of paper. This can look like a string of cursive letter m‘s joined together. Children can draw the bump lines across a page. 

Be sure to instruct students to draw the lines with proper re-trace as they trace back over the lines to create another bump. 

When beginning with cursive instruction, students should concentrate on an upward curve from the base line to the middle line of the paper. This is the “bump” of a bump letter and the beginning pencil motion of letters m, n, v, x, y, and z. 

Rainbow Writing Cursive Letter Bump Letters Activity


One activity that can practice the formation needed for bump letters is to practice drawing rainbows. Using a variety of colored pencils or markers, ask students to draw a small rainbow that starts at the baseline and peaks at the middle line. They can then trace back over that rainbow with other colors. 

Then, ask students to create a series of rainbows across the line of paper using one color. They can then draw over that series of rainbow bumps with each colored pencil or marker. 

As students trace over the previous color, ask them to keep their colored pencil or marker on the lines and to continue with re-trace back down to the baseline and back up again. 

Use these activities and handwriting tips to help kids learn to write cursive letters. These are fun ways to teach cursive letter formation bump letters.

Activities for Teaching Cursive Letter Bump Letters


Use short phrases to instruct cursive formation. Phrases like “Pause”, “Stop”, “Trace back”, “Curve up”, “Curve Down”, and “Swing away to connect” can help. 


The verbal prompts should involve starting and stopping points such as “Start at the baseline”, “stop at the middle line”, and “Stop at the top line”. Line names should remain consistent with names used by the student in learning printed handwriting. Bottom Line, Middle Line, and Top Line are simple cues that typically work well.


Here are two activities to teach cursive letter bump letters:


1.) Students learning the Bump Letters will benefit from a visual image of a rainbow. Students can visualize the starting point for the rainbow as the bottom line where a rainbow would begin. They can imagine the curve of the bump swinging up to the middle line like a rainbow. From there, the rainbow continues back to the baseline.


2.) Draw a line of bumps across a paper in a thick marker. Students can trace the bumps with a dob of glitter glue across the lines. Encourage students to trace on the lines and to focus on re-trace of the lines.

How to Teach Lowercase Cursive n


Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter n:

Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Continue over the rainbow back to the baseline. Trace back up with a bump to the middle line. Continue the rainbow back to the baseline. Then swing away to connect. 

Instruct students to trace over the lines between the first and second bump of the n.


How to Teach Lowercase Cursive m

Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter m:


Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Continue over the rainbow back to the baseline. Trace back up with a bump to the middle line. Continue the rainbow back to the baseline. Trace back up with the bump to the middle line. Continue the rainbow back to the baseline. Then swing away to connect. 

Instruct students to trace over the lines between the first, second, and third bump of the m.

How to Teach Lowercase Cursive x

Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter x:

Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Continue over the rainbow back to the baseline. Swing away to connect. After the word is completed, add the cross line to the x.

Instruct students to remember to come back to the x to add the diagonal crossline. 

How to Teach Lowercase Cursive y

Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter y:


Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Continue over the rainbow back to the baseline. Curve along the baseline and bump up to the middle line. Pause at the middle line. Trace back down. Pass the baseline. Loop left. Swing away to connect.

How to Teach Lowercase Cursive z

Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter z:


Start at the baseline. Curve up to the middle line. Continue over the rainbow back to the baseline. Pause and trace back up halfway to the middle line. Bump over back to the baseline. Pass the baseline. Loop left. Swing away to connect. 


A few tips for teaching bump letters


Learning cursive only by verbal instruction would be detrimental to carryover and accuracy. A visual component and slow teaching strategies are very important. Try these tips to help with learning cursive bump letters.

Use large motor movements when starting out with cursive instruction. 

Teach each letter individually and for short periods of time each day.

Practice cursive letters in multiple sensory experiences, including shaving cream on desks, writing trays, in goop, with play dough or slime, etc.

Practice near copy work using a visual cue like these free cursive letter flashcards.

Practice each letter in a group focusing on one letter at a time. When a new letter is introduced, continue with previously learned letters. 


Want to teach other cursive letter families? Here is information on how to teach wave letters (c, a, d, g, q).

More Cursive Handwriting Tools and Resources:








Try these cursive writing tools to help with forming letters:
Affiliate links are included. 


Cursive Writing Wizard is a free app on Amazon that allows students to trace letters and words. The app has stickers and animations as well as games that promote learning of cursive letters and connecting lines. 
Cursive Handwriting Workbook is a workbook for kids in elementary grades and focuses on  formation of cursive letters (upper and lower case) as well as words. 

Teachers can use a laser pointer in the classroom to help students see parts of cursive letters as they instruct each part of the formation. This is helpful when teaching letters in cursive letter families.



Cursive Letter Flashcards

Cursive writing requires a lot of practice. Adding multiple sensory strategies to handwriting is one way to make the motor plan of letters “stick” when it comes to learning cursive. Today, I’ve got a fun free download for you that can be used to help kids learn cursive letters in a variety of ways: Cursive letter flashcards!



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



Cursive Letter Flashcards



Affiliate links are included. 


These cursive flashcards can be used in so many ways to practice cursive writing:


Cut them out and glue the printed side to the back of the printed side to use as flashcards.




Cut them out but DON’T glue the printed and cursive sides together; Use them for matching games like this play dough match up. (Tip: using the play dough to create connecting lines boosts the fine motor skills.


Laminate them to use with tactile sensory play.


Use them to practice and sort cursive letters into cursive letter families.


Add them to sensory bins like we did with this sight word card sensory bin activity.


Use rolled up balls of play dough to create words. Kids can then copy the words in the cursive form. This is a great way to practice spelling words.




Trace-Say-Write: Trace the letter with a finger, say the phrases that forms the letter, and then write the letter. 




Form the letters using Wikki Stix


Practice writing individual letters onto paper or worksheets. The cursive flashcards can be positioned on a desk for near copy work so that students are not visually distracted as they copy the letters. This can help with pencil motions. 


Imagine a child copying a cursive letter from a far point such as a smartboard or strip of cursive letters positioned in the front of the room. As they form parts of a letter, they need to shift their vision and may end up with jerky pencil strokes or a lift of the pencil. Copying a letter form from near point can help as kids learn cursive. 




How would you use these cursive flash cards? 


Grab the Cursive Flash Cards here.

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.

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