Cursive Writing for Beginners

We have a lot of cursive writing posts here on The OT Toolbox. Check out the search bar and you’ll see tips for how to teach cursive writing, help with cursive writing speed, and even cursive letter order. There is a lot that goes into teaching cursive writing to kids. It doesn’t need to be complicated, though. Here, you will find a plan starting at the beginning when teaching cursive. This is everything you need to know about cursive writing for beginners.

Use these tips to teach cursive when working on cursive writing for beginners.

Cursive Writing- Start at the Beginning

Think about when kids start to learn cursive. They might be in second o third grade, or between 7 and 8 years old. Or, depending on the school and the cursive writing curriculum, there may or may not even be a plan in place to teach cursive writing.

Some teachers have to come up with cursive lesson plans on their own. Others follow a cursive curriculum such as Zabner-Browser, Handwriting without Tears, or D’Nealian. Sometimes, the school district allows a set number of weeks for cursive writing and if a child misses days during that time period, they miss the boat on learning a certain letter in cursive formation . In most cases, cursive is taught once and not covered again. Kids can write their spelling words in cursive or complete journals entries in cursive, but they are not required to do so. Usually, that is the only practice a student gets in fine tuning their cursive handwriting. Letter formation might get checked, but not graded for accuracy and the child doesn’t have the chance to go back and correct letter formation errors. They may not even notice a teacher’s marks on a letter formation mistake.

How to start teaching cursive

We’ve shared a lot of strategies to teach cursive here on The OT Toolbox. When getting started with cursive writing for beginners, try some of these first steps to cursive writing success:

Start with these pre-cursive activities. Start with pre-cursive lines and use the activities in this post to work on curves, lines, bumps, waves, and re-trace lines.

Grab these cursive flashcards to work on multisensory writing strategies when practicing cursive letter formation.

Use this gross motor warm-up before starting a cursive letter lesson. It’s a nice way to get the whole class geared up and ready to write.

Be sure to start with posture and paper positioning when beginning cursive lessons.

Try a cursive lines worksheet. Use the free worksheet below.

free cursive writing worksheet is great for teaching cursive to beginners.

Cursive Writing Worksheet

Use this free cursive lines worksheet to work on pencil control, cursive lines, and motor planning needed for connecting letters, re-tracing over cursive letters, and gaining motor control needed for smooth writing lines.

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Free Cursive Lines Worksheet

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    Print off the cursive writing worksheet and trace the lines in a variety of ways to practice smooth lines, re-trace, bumps, and curves. Try some of these cursive worksheet ideas:

    • Try Rainbow writing with colored pencils.
    • Slide the cursive worksheet into a page protector. Use dry erase markers.
    • Color Mixing Writing– Use markers to mix colors while working on line formation and re-trace in cursive.
    • Tape the worksheet to a wall and get the gross motor action involved.
    • Pin the worksheet to a bulletin board. Trace the lines with a highlighter, pencil, pen, or marker to gain sensory feedback from the bulletin board.
    • Sandpaper Writing Trick– Place the cursive worksheet over a sheet of sandpaper. Trace the lines with a pencil to gain proprioceptive feedback when writing the cursive strokes. The sandpaper can be used with markers or a pen as well.

    How to Write Cursive a

    Teaching cursive handwriting is a challenge for many parents and teachers.  Taking it step-by-step is key. Here, you will find strategies for how to write cursive letter a. Many times, there is not a specific curriculum that schools use and teachers need to scramble for resources and THEN fit handwriting time into an already jam packed day. That’s why here at The OT Toolbox, you will find cursive writing tools that can be easily added into a school day. So, if you are wondering how to teach cursive writing, then you are in luck, because we have specific tips and tricks to teach cursive letters a-z.  

    Here you will find tricks and tips to write cursive a…in fun ways!

    Teach kids how to write cursive a with these cursive writing activities, tips and tricks that will stick.  

    How to Write Cursive a

    Lowercase cursive letter a is one of the wave letters.  The letters c, a, d, g, q, and o make up these letters that contain similar letter strokes. That’s why when children are taught to write in cursive, these letters are typically grouped together. We talked about how cursive letters are related and grouped into cursive letter families. Teaching cursive letters in groups helps with letter formation, including the motor plan to form similar letters. When kids can practice cursive with a sensory approach to writing letters, they engage multiple senses along with the motor movements to form each letter. Grouping them into like letters makes the learning easier.

    Let’s get started with cursive letter a!

    Start with reviewing cursive letter c

    Start by reviewing and practicing cursive letter c. Cursive letter c (and cursive a) is a wave letter. Starting with some pencil strokes and multi-sensory practice of the wave formation is a good place to begin. Try some multi-sensory approaches to build motor planning for forming cursive a. 

    Hold a small crafting pom pom or cotton ball in the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger. This positions the hand into a tripod grasp and “wakes up” the muscles for writing. Holding the cotton ball, students can use whole arm motions to “draw” an imaginary wave in the air. Encourage them to be sure to re-trace the wave so it has a big curved portion at the top or crest of the wave. Here is more information on teaching wave letters. 

    By re-tracing that wave back down to the bottom, they can see the letter “c” or the beginning part of a letter a forming. One tip to get that line really formed with re-trace is to tell kids tha they want the wave to be great for surfing under. If the wave is fat at the bottom, it’s not a surfing wave. We want to see a wave that is ready to fall over and crash so a surfer can surf right along the inside of the wave.

    Making a string of cursive c’s or a wave with several waves together is a good exercise.

    These handwriting tips can help teach kids how to write cursive a

    Multi-sensory approaches to teaching letters

    • Use the pom pom/cotton ball large motor method described above
    • Practice the wave curves (focus on those thin, ready to break waves!) on the palm of the hand, by “writing” with the pointer finger
    • Rainbow write with crayons, markers, or chalk
    • Paint water onto construction paper
    • Try some of the sensory writing strategies described in this free creative cursive writing journal 

     

    Write Cursive Step-by-step

    Next, turn cursive c into cursive a.

    Once that curved c is reviewed, and the students are tracing back over their wave lines so the curve looks like a single line, it’s time to turn lowercase c into lowercase a. 

    Teach cursive a by telling students to form a cursive c that looks like a wave ready to crash over. Their pencil should trace back over the wave line and move along the baseline. The pencil should move straight up to the top of the wave and pause where the wave is just about to tip over. Next, the pencil should trace strait back down to the bottom line of the paper. Then, the pencil can move along the baseline to connect to the next letter. Here are tips to teach cursive letter connections.

    Here are those cursive writing directions listed out:

    1. Write a cursive c with the top of the wave ready to crash.
    2. Move the pencil along the baseline and up to touch the tip of the wave. 
    3. Pull the pencil strait down to the baseline.
    4. Curve away to connect.

    Fix cursive writing problems

    What happens when the cursive a (or other writing in cursive) falls flat? There can be some troubleshooting to do when it comes to writing in cursive. Here are some problems you might see whth letter a.

    • The lines curving up to the top of the lowercase a aren’t touching- Remind the student to trace back over the curve of their magic c. Review how to make the curve of a letter c.
    • The “wave” looks to wide- A gaping wave can make the letter a look sloppy. Teach students to trace back over the curve of the along the same line. Try using rainbow writing for this method.
    • The up line to touch the top of the a is slanted. The a looks

    Read here to find more tips to teach each cursive letter.

    How to teach cursive letter a.

    Bat Halloween Craft

    Fall is here and that means it’s time to pull out the halloween crafts! This bat Halloween craft is a favorite in our house, and it’s actually a fun way to celebrate Halloween with kids without spooky decorations. We made another bat craft based on a Halloween book here on The OT Toolbox, and this Halloween craft for kids is one that they will get batty over! 

    Bat Halloween Craft

    This craft idea is one that doesn’t need a lot of materials. In fact, it’s a simple craft idea that is big on the fine motor buck! When kids make this bat craft, they will be boosting skills such as fine motor strength and dexterity in a big way.
    For more Halloween craft ideas, check out some of the ideas at the bottom of this post…it’s the perfect addition if you’re looking for Halloween crafts for toddlers or Halloween crafts for preschool parties.
    Make this bat craft at a Halloween party for kids for a fun Halloween craft idea that isn't spooky!


    Bat Craft

    We made this bat craft with a fun sensory twist.  And, since we have a certain second grader that is cursive handwriting obsessed, we decided to add a cursive handwriting twist to this activity.  This activity could work to help kids with letter formation of upper case letters, lowercase letters, or numbers too. The possibilities are endless. 
     
    This post contains affiliate links.
    Halloween bat craft and creative letter formation activity in this sensory Halloween craft that is a Scissor Skill power house.  Appropriate and fun for creative kids from preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school aged.

    How to Make a Bat Craft

    To make your bat craft, you’ll need just a few materials:
    Affiliate links are included.
    black cardstock 
    black yarn 
    Glue 
    Scissors (THIS is my favorite brand and the ones that I always recommended as an Occupational Therapist!)

    Halloween craft for preschool

    This is a great halloween craft for preschoolers because it’s a fantastic way to work on scissor skills with a halloween activity.

    First draw and cut a bat-ish shape on the cardstock.  Kids can cut out the shape using their Scissors for great scissor skill work.  The bat shape is a complex cutting shape and can be done by Elementary aged students.  Cutting the angled wings and curves can be difficult, but by using the cardstock, kids will get a bit fore proprioceptive feedback from the thicker resistance of the paper material.  To make the task easier, cut wings without the jagged lines or use thicker cutting lines when you draw the bat shape.  

    Once you have the bat, you’ll need to cut pieces of the black yarn.  Have your child cut long or short pieces, it doesn’t really matter what length they wish to cut for their bat’s texture.  Cutting the yarn is a great material to practice appropriate scissor positioning and bilateral hand coordination.  

    If a child is holding the scissors on an angle, cutting the yarn will be more difficult.  (You may see them trying to “saw” at the yarn!) Encourage them to hold the scissors straight up and down and the blades of the scissors at a 90 degree angle to the yarn.  You can find more of our Scissor Skills activities.

    Kids will love to make this Halloween bat craft while working on fine motor skills and scissor skills...great halloween craft for kids!

    Next, pour some glue into a shallow dish or plate.  Show your child how to drag the yarn through the glue and get it nice and saturated with the glue.  Use both hands to pinch and “scrape” off excess glue from the piece of yarn.  Next, drape the black yarn on the bat shape.  You can let your child get as creative as they wish with this part.  Some might like to outline the bat shape and others, just pile it up on the bat.  Let the glue and yarn harden and you’ll have a textured bat craft to use in Halloween decor this Fall.  You will have to wait for the glue to dry, probably overnight.

    Handwriting Practice with a bat craft!

    Halloween textured bat craft and creative letter formation activity in this sensory Halloween craft that is a Scissor Skill power house.  Appropriate and fun for creative kids from preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school aged.

    Work on letter formation with this fun Halloween bat craft!
     
    We used those saturated yarn pieces to build cursive letters.  This would be an excellent way to practice cursive letter formation in our Creative Cursive handwriting journal activity.
    Use this Bat Craft for kids to work on letter formation of any kind. It’s a creative writing activity that they will be sure to remember. Work on forming individual letters, spelling sight words, or making Halloween words.

    Halloween party idea for kids

    This would work as a very fun…and very sensory…Halloween party idea for classroom parties or Halloween with kids in general.
    1. Split kids up into teams. Give each team a collection of cut black yarn and a bowl of glue.
    2. Write a Halloween word on the board or hold up a sign with a Halloween word.
    3. Each team has to work together to use the cut yarn and glue to spell the Halloween word on a piece of paper or cardboard.
    4. Once a team has completed the word, they have to hold up their paper or cardboard. The first team to spell the word with the letters sticking wins! (Too much glue or not enough glue will make this a fun race for Halloween parties for kids of all ages.)
    Halloween textured bat craft and creative letter formation activity in this sensory Halloween craft that is a Scissor Skill power house.  Appropriate and fun for creative kids from preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school aged.
    Build printed letters with the glue yarn, too.  We had a lot of fun with this Halloween craft and it was a hit with all of my kids…from preschool on up to grade school.
     

    Halloween Craft Ideas

    Check out some of these other Halloween activities and crafts:
    • Make a Spider Craft using potato stamps. Fun for parties or just Halloween fun with the kids!
    • Use cookie cutters and chalk to make Halloween Chalk Art. It’s a messy and sensory Halloween activity that the whole family can get involved in.

    How to Teach Tow Rope Cursive Letter Connection

    When teaching cursive writing, kids can recognize that cursive letters come in groups. These cursive letter families are how we can teach kids to write letters in chunks of similar pencil strokes. Teaching cursive letters in this manner can be a helpful strategy for allowing kids success when learning the pencil strokes needed for forming cursive letters.  Below, you’ll find a subcategory of cursive letter groups: How to write cursive tow rope letters!

    As we previously discussed, a specific order a teaching cursive letters doesn’t matter as much is teaching a group of letter families together in a block. When students learn cursive letters it is beneficial to learn the pencil strokes associated with cursive letter families. We have covered all of the different cursive letter families including wave letters letters loop letters bump letters. There is a subgroup of cursive letter families that have a slightly different connecting pattern to them. These are the cursive tow rope letters.

    Use these tricks and strategies to to teach cursive letters that have a tow rope connection, this includes teaching lowercase cursive letters b, o, v, w.

    How to Teach Tow Rope Cursive Letter Connection

    If you’ve been following The OT Toolbox over the last month,
    then you know that there’s been quite a lot of information related to cursive
    handwriting. We’ve talked about letter formation, cursive slant, cursive writing speed and rhythm, and even how pencil control is needed in cursive
    handwriting.
    Today, we’re finishing up with a last cursive handwriting
    post in the series. Below you’ll find information on forming cursive letters
    that contain a “tow rope” connector to the letter following them.
    Tow Rope letters are those lowercase cursive letters that
    connect to the next letter using a horizontal line at the middle line. Most
    cursive letters connect with a curved line from the baseline. Tow Rope letters
    connect horizontally and can change formation of the letters that they connect
    to.

    Tow Rope Letters include cursive letters b, o, v, and w.

    How to teach cursive Tow Rope Letters

    Teaching the cursive tow rope letters is not much different
    than teaching other letters of the alphabet. 
    Use of a cursive writing plan can
    help, as can kinesthetic methods and multi-sensory strategies. Using tools such
    as sand paper or writing trays can bring a textural aspect to learning these
    cursive tow rope letters.
    You can read more about teaching each individual letter as
    they were broken down into cursive letter families:
    Loop Letters (Cursive letter b)
    Wave Letters (Cursive letter o)
    Bump Letters (Cursive letter v)
    Tree Letters (Cursive letter w)
    Use these tricks and strategies to to teach cursive letters that have a tow rope connection, this includes teaching lowercase cursive letters b, o, v, w.


    Trick for teaching cursive letters with a tow rope connection

    Teaching kids about the visual of a tow rope that connects a tow truck to it’s haul or a boat to a raft  can be helpful in teaching children to write cursive letters with proper connection between these letters and the letter
    they connect.
    If the tow rope sags or dips down, it can affect how the
    letters appear and result in inaccuracies.
    To show kids how to recognize and recall use of tow rope
    connections, draw a small truck at the end of the tow rope connecting lines.

    Practice cursive letter connections for tow rope letters

    Practice the combinations of cursive letters that contain
    tow rope letters:
    -ba, be, bi, bl, bo, and by
    -va, ve, vi, vo, and vy
    -wa, we, wi, wo, and wy

    -Letter o can be practiced with every letter of the alphabet
    as a vowel letter.

    Use the verbal cues associated with each letters cursive family to formation of these letters. 

    However pencil stroke exercises can be influential in behind and horizontal line to connect. Additionally practice with commonly connecting letters can make a big impact.

    In this way students with practice tow rope letters that connect to other letters as a group. These letter blends commonly and within minutes.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive b


    Teach students to practice be connected to letters that may occur within words. This includes ba, be, bo, bl, br, by.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive o

    Students can practice the commonly connected letters used in words as the letter connects to the second letter. As a vowel, the letter o may connect to every letter of the alphabet. Because of this, students who are learning cursive can practice the formation of o to the individual pencil strokes that are part of different cursive families. That is, practice o connected to the bump of bump letters, the o connected to the wave that occurs wit wave family letters, the o connected to the spike of tree letters, the o connected to the bump of bump letters, and o as an ending letter.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive w

    Students can practice the connection of lowercase cursive w to vowel and some consonant letters:
    Wa, we, wi, wh, wr, wl, wm, wn, wy.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive v

    Students can practice the connection of lowercase cursive v to vowels and commonly used consentent letter combinations. This includes: va, ve, vi, vo, vr, and vy.

    Use strategies such as creative cursive to practice these letter combinations in innovative manners to prevent boredom.
    Try these creative ways to practice cursive writing to help kids learn to write cursive letters and write legibly.Creative ways for kids to work on cursive writing including letter formation.

    Cursive Handwriting Loop Letters

    If you’ve been following The OT Toolbox, then you know this month has been FULL of ideas on how to teach cursive writing. Today, you’ll find creative activities and tips for teaching formation of cursive loop letters. Cursive loop letters are those ones that start with a loop line up. Lowercase cursive letters b, e, f, h, k, and l are loop 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.


    Use these tips and strategies to help kids learn to write in cursive and learn the cursive loop letters (Cursive b, d, f, h, k, l)



    Teach cursive letter formation “loop” 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 “Loop” 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 cursive letters that make up the Loop Family. 


    Start by practicing a series of upward curves across a line of paper. This can look like a string of cursive letter loopy l‘s joined together. When practicing the curve of the cursive letter l motions in a strand across a page, set the child’s awareness on height and the start/stop point of each curve.

    Most important is the width of the loop. Instruct students to draw the lines with proper width of the loop. A wide loop will make the letter inefficient and difficult to connect to other letters. 
    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 loop occurs in the Loop Family letters: b, e, f, h, k, and l. 

    Fine Motor Activity for Practicing Cursive Loop Letters 


    Try this activity to practice the loops of the loopy letters.

    Use washable markers to draw loops on a paper towel. (Adding pencil lines for writing spaces before starting can be a big help for addressing loop and letter size!)

    To the loops, add drops of water and watch the colors expand. 


    Be sure to talk to the child about loop height and width as these aspects to cursive writing will carry the most weight when it comes to legibility.


    For a colorful work of art, trace over the marker loops with additional colored markers.
    Read more about this cursive handwriting activity and others here on The OT Toolbox. 



    Activities for Teaching Cursive Loop Letters

    Use short phrases to instruct cursive formation. Phrases like “Loop up to the top line” or “Loop up to the middle line” can help. 



    Try these sensory activities to teach cursive handwriting loop letters:

    Affiliate links are included below.

    Write with glitter or colored glue on lined paper. Allow the glue to dry. Students can feel the raised lines of the loops.

    Draw with wet chalk on a chalkboard or sidewalk. Be sure to add guide lines first to address loop height.

    Create different sized loops using wikki stix. These are a great tool for getting the hands in on the fine motor action with a tactile experience that promotes motor planning and kinesthetic learning. 



    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive b



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





    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Swing up to the middle line. Tow rope away to connect.


    Lowercase cursive letter b is a tow rope letter. These are letters that connect at the middle line. They change the beginning of the letter they connect to.



    It can be helpful to practice letters that are commonly connected to letter b such as ba, be, bi, bl, bo, br, bu, and by.



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

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the middle line and back to the baseline. Loop away to connect.

    Instruct students to stop at the middle line.






    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive f



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

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Continue straight down past the baseline. Curve right and up to the baseline, connecting at the strait part of the tail. Swing away to connect. 


    Note about cursive letter f– This letter requires the pencil lines to close the tail into a “bunny ear” type of loop. Think about drawing a tall bunny ear. The lines create a long, loop type of shape that does not cross like a the loop on the top part of the f. Rather, the curved motion has a potential for an opening. It’s important for students to close the tail of the f. Likewise, it’s important to keep the closure point at the baseline. If the closure point creeps up above the baseline or has an opening, the letter can potentially look like a cursive b. Work on loop formation and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays. 

    b, e, f, h, k, and l. 
    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive h

    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter h:
    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Pause. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line. Continue over the bump to the baseline. Swing away to connect.


    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive k

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

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Pause. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line. Continue over the bump and pull back into the loop. Add a kickstand to the baseline. Swing away to connect.


    Note about cursive letter k– This letter requires the pencil lines to close the bump at the loop. It’s important for students to pull the pencil lines in and to close the bump. If the closure point doesn’t close at the loop, the letter can potentially look like a cursive h. Work on loop formation and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays. 



    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive l

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

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Loop away to connect.


    A few tips for teaching cursive loop 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 loop letters.

    • 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 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 these ideas to teach tree letters (i, j, p, t, u, and w).


    Use these tips and strategies to help kids learn to write in cursive and learn the cursive loop letters (Cursive b, d, f, h, k, l)


    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.

    The Research on Cursive Handwriting

    Over the past 30 days, we’ve shared cursive handwriting tips, strategies, activity ideas, free resources including cursive letter flashcards, tricks, and everything you need to know on how to teach cursive handwriting. Today, as a final post in this cursive handwriting series, we wanted to share the science behind cursive. Below, you’ll find the research on cursive handwriting. These are the studies that explore cursive, the evidence, and the sources you need for teaching and learning to write in cursive.



    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 this research on cursive handwriting to get a better understanding of what is going on in the brain as we learn cursive, cursive handwriting development, and how cursive can help with learning.


    Cursive Handwriting Research



    This link explores the brain and how it relates to cursive handwriting. Some important areas that are referenced include findings of changes occurring in the brains that allow a child to overcome motor challenges when children are exposed to cursive handwriting. Additionally, the article describes a study in which has shown that physical instruction such as cursive handwriting lessons actually changed the participant’s brain structure.


    There is some research indicating cursive handwriting can be a valuable tool for motor control challenges such as those who struggle with dyslexia or dysgraphia. 



    It’s been found that there are distinct neural pathways that develop when we physically write letters. 



    Neuroimaging studies have revealed an cognitive processes involving primarily left-hemisphere brain areas that are involved in writing tasks, finger writing, and imagined writing.



    Practice matters! Quality of handwriting has been shown to enhance writing skills, reading, and learning or memory of language.


    Cursive handwriting, like printed handwriting becomes more individualistic and develops a personal style, especially during grades 3 and 4, and as children develop



    There are studies that have shown improved handwriting abilities through use of multi-sensory activities (Case-Smith et al., 2012; Keller, 2001; Lust & Donica, 2011).


    You’ll find more research on handwriting in The Handwriting Book:

    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.
    Use this research on cursive handwriting to get a better understanding of what is going on in the brain as we learn cursive, cursive handwriting development, and how cursive can help with learning.



    References:


    Case-Smith, J., Holland, T., Lane, A., & White, S. (2012). Effect of a co-teaching
    handwriting program for first graders: One-group pretest-posttest design. The
    American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(4), 396-405.



    Keller, M. (2001). Handwriting club: Using sensory integration strategies to improve
    handwriting. Intervention in School and Clinic, 37(1), 9.



    Lust, C. A., & Donica, D. K. (2011). Effectiveness of a handwriting readiness program in
    Head Start: A two-group controlled trial. The American Journal of Occupational
    Therapy, 65(5), 560-8.

    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.