How to Write C in Cursive

How to Teach Cursive Letter C

we’ve covered many cursive letter resources here on the site, and this blog on how to write c in cursive is one of the top! There’s a reason why: Cursive c is a building block for forming other cursive letters. After learning how to make cursive c, students can then easily transition to several other cursive letters! Let’s get started with how to teach cursive, starting with the lowercase letter c.

How to Write C in Cursive

Cursive handwriting can be a difficult thing to teach kids.  Today, I’m starting a new series on how to teach cursive letters in fun and creative ways.  

In this series, we’re starting with how to write cursive c first.

Letter “c” is one of the first letters that kids are taught when learning cursive. The letter is directly related to it’s printed counterpart.  The curve of the letter is one of the most basic pre-cursive strokes that are made and helps to build several other cursive letters (a, d, g, q, and o).    

In the Loops and Other Groups cursive writing program, these letters are called Clock Climbers. They are the letters a, d, g, q, o which start with the cursive c formation. The lines “climb a clock” around a curve.

The fact is that fluent cursive writing predicts high level spelling and
composing skills, more so than manuscript or typing. And, in fact, studies show that test completed in cursive receive higher scores than those completed in manuscript.


First up is how to make letter c in cursive.  This series will most definitely not be in alphabetical order for many reasons, mainly because the cursive writing alphabet is typically not taught in alphabetical order.  Rather, the letters are taught in groups of related pencil lines. This supports the motor plan of forming each individual letter and helps with carryover skills. Read more about this concept in our post on cursive letter families.

Let’s start with addressing cursive letter c!

In this blog post, images show use of raised line paper. While this type of adapted paper isn’t a must, the raised lines support development of line awareness when teaching this lowercase cursive letter formation.

Teach kids how to make letter c in cursive with the tips in this cursive letter writing series, perfect for kids who are working on their handwriting.

How to Teach c in Cursive:

This post contains affiliate links. 

Beginning Upstroke

The beginning upstroke of the beginning lines in cursive “c” can be practiced in creative ways in order to help with re-trace when forming the curve of the letter.

Curve up to make cursive c on raised line paper.

There is research that shows teaching the cursive letter c like a cursive “i” with a hooked top, the carryover of legibility is better.    

Re-trace-

After forming the up-stroke of the letter, the curved top, and the re-trace back to the bottom of the letter, it is helpful to work on sliding the pencil along the baseline of the paper to develop letter connectors and to improve legibility.

Practice-

The final step of writing cursive c is to practice, practice, practice! When it comes to writing c in cursive, there are many tips that you can use. Try the activities listed below as well as these practice tips:

Write Cursive C with Gross motor practice- Use whole body movements to practice formation. This can occur on the ground with chalk, on a dry erase board at the vertical, in the air with air writing, or using the ideas listed below.

  • Air writing
  • Ribbon wand writing
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Laser pointer or flashlight writing
  • Writing tray
  • Vertically mounted chalk or white board
  • Rainbow writing- The child writes the letter in one color and then trace over it with another color. Continue to trace over the letter with each color of the rainbow. This can be done on a large scale with chalk, markers, etc.

 

Teach cursive c by showing how the pencil traces back over the first line, or re-trace.

Tips for helping kids stop at the baseline when writing the letter “c”: 

Use a verbal prompt to bump the bottom line. Trace the baseline with a highlighter for a visual prompt.  Try some of these tricks for writing on the lines. 

Establish a motor plan to make cursive c consistently

After cursive letter c has been taught, the next step is multisensory exposure to the motor plan to complete the letter consistently. This establishes the kinesthetic input and practice trials. We cover this in more detail in a blog post on motor planning and handwriting.

With different tactile and sensory-based movements of handwriting, repetitions allow information to be embedded in the brain.

Here are some activities to work on cursive c:

 

 

The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

Upper Case Cursive Letter Formation

Teach kids how to write upper case cursive letters.

Teaching kids to write uppercase cursive can be quite tricky. Upper case cursive letters are part of handwriting and everyday written expression, but 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.

Upper Case Cursive

In this blog post, we refer to the terms “upper case cursive letters” and “uppercase cursive”. The semantics of describing capital letters in cursive is simply for understanding the material, and meeting the needs of all individuals seeking resources on teaching upper case letters in cursive formation.

Let’s get started with the uppercase cursive writing resources and tips.

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 LetterS

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.

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

Teaching kids to write cursive upper case letters is broken down by formation and pencil strokes. We’ve listed the letters out in groups below to support letter formation and motor planning skills.

Read this resource on motor planning and handwriting to better understand this concept.

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. 

Uppercase Cursive D, F, T

Cursive D, F, and T are Uppercase Cursive letters with a downward start.

These letters include D, F, and T. These letters all start with a downward stroke of the pencil. Let’s break these letters down by formation and pencil strokes.

Uppercase cursive 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.

Uppercase cursive 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.

Uppercase cursive 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.

Uppercase Cursive A, C, E, O, and Q

Upper case cursive A, C, E, O, and Q are considered “Right curve start uppercase letters” because the pencil stroke starts in the right upper corner. This group includes uppercase letters that start on the right side and curve left. Consider the formation of these letters much like the formation of a printed c.

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

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

Uppercase cursive 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.

Uppercase Cursive B, P, R, L

These letters are considered “Rocker start uppercase letters“. Uppercase B, P, R, and L begin with a small curving motion to begin the letter at the top line.

Uppercase cursive 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.

Upper case cursive 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.

Upper case cursive 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.

Upper case cursive 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. 

Upper Case Cursive I and J

Next up in teaching cursive capital letters are the “Left curve start letters“. These letters switch pencil stroke directions and have a starting point on the opposite side of the other letters previously covered. There are just 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 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.

Upper Case Cursive H, K, M, N, X, W

Next up are the “Top loop start letters“. Several letter start with a top-starting loop that continues down. These letters include capital H, K, M, N, X, and W.

Uppercase cursive 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. 

Upper case cursive 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 cursive K 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 K, the 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.

Upper case cursive 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

Upper case cursive 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 cursive 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.

Upper case cursive 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.

Upper case cursive U, V, W, Y, Z

The last 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 U, V, W, Y, Z

Uppercase cursive U is an exact replica of its printed counterpart.

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

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

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

Uppercase cursive Z is an exact replica of the lowercase Z form.

Uppercase Cursive letter practice

Now that you have the specific letter formation directions down and the order to teach uppercase cursive letters, the next step is practice!

Creating a motor plan for automatically creating letters supports handwriting speed, autonomy, and legibility. Practice makes perfect, after all!

But how do you help kids (or adults) create that motor plan for uppercase letters?

Adding sensory motor handwriting strategies! Use the ideas below as a practice component for practicing uppercase cursive writing.

Use bold lines to help kids write with better legibility
Use transfer paper to work on letter formation, size awareness, line awareness, and pencil pressure in handwriting with this easy writing trick that will help kids write with neater and legible handwriting.

Bold Lines Handwriting Trick– Work on forming uppercase cursive letters on the lines using this bold lines trick.

Teach Handwriting with Transfer Paper– Work on that motor plan for uppercase cursive by using transfer paper.

DIY Desk Letter Strip– Make an uppercase cursive letter strip to using forming letters correctly and grouping uppercase cursive letters into families based on the way the pencil strokes go.

Work on Visual Perception with Markers– Use this marker trick to work on forming uppercase cursive.

Sky-Ground Paper and Size Awareness– Help writers learn where the pencil starts with making uppercase cursive letters.

Box and Dot Size Awareness Handwriting– The box dot handwriting trick supports uppercase cursive too.

Need more uppercase cursive tips? Try the Handwriting Book:

The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

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

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Connecting Cursive Lines

Connecting cursive lines between letters

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

Connecting Cursive Lines

Connecting cursive lines letters is especially important with some of the letters that have a tow rope connector between the letters. Cursive b is one of these letters.

Cursive v and cursive o are other tow rope letters, meaning that the connecting lines between these letters and the letter next to them is at the middle line and changes the motor plan to the letter following the tow rope letter.   

This resource on teaching cursive b has more information on this difference in motor planning in the letter formation.   

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.

 

 

 

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.


Cursive Lines


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 cursive 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.



Connecting cursive lines 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.


Cursive Line COnnecting Exercises


Cursive lines can be practiced with specific activities to support the development of this skill. 

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 “cursive 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 cursive u and cursive n, working on the flow between two different letters. 


 

Tips for Fluid Cursive Lines between 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 cursive e, cursive a, cursive 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: 

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.

 

The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Cursive Handwriting Loop Letters

teach cursive loop letters

Here we are covering how to teach cursive b, cursive e, cursive f, cursive h, cursive k, and cursive l. These loop letters are all connected because of their similar pencil movements that make the letter. You can add these tips and strategies to teach cursive letter 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. 

Writing cursive letters in order with a specific strategy is very helpful in teaching proper letter formation in a way that is logical.


What are loop letters?

Loop letters are a set of cursive letters that all have a loop in the initial formation of the letter. These loop letters include:

  • cursive b
  • cursive e
  • cursive f
  • cursive h
  • cursive k

After the initial loop, or upswing of the pencil, the pencil moves back down toward the baseline and moves into another pattern to form the rest of the letter.

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”.

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

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.

Motor Plan for Formation of “Loop” Letters

When instructing students in forming these loopy cursive 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 Cursive b

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

  1. Start at the baseline.
  2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline.
  3. Swing up to the middle line.
  4. 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 Cursive e

Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive e:

  1. Start at the baseline.
  2. Loop up to the middle line and back to the baseline.
  3. Loop away to connect.
  4. Instruct students to stop at the middle line.  

How to Teach Cursive f

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

  1. Start at the baseline.
  2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline.
  3. Continue straight down past the baseline.
  4. Curve right and up to the baseline, connecting at the strait part of the tail.
  5. 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 Cursive h      

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

  1. Start at the baseline.
  2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. 
  3. Pause.
  4. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line.
  5. Continue over the bump to the baseline.
  6. Swing away to connect.    

How to Teach Lowercase Cursive k

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

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

Use these sensory activities to practice cursive letter k:

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 Cursive l

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

  1. Start at the baseline.
  2. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline.
  3. 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.    

  • 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 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 Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

How to Write Cursive a

If you are teaching kids to write in cursive handwriting, these tips on how to write cursive a will help with a starter letter that supports the development of cursive writing skills. Writing letter a in cursive might seem like a good place to start when teaching cursive writing (after all, it’s the beginning of the alphabet!), but actually, you’ll want to start developmentally by teaching cursive letters in a sequential order.

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.  

 

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.

a in Cursive…where to start?

Start by reviewing how to form cursive 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 that 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

 

 

Next, turn cursive c into a 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.

Poor Formation of cursive a?

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.

Practice cursive a with 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 
How to teach cursive letter a.
The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Cursive Writing Alphabet and Easy Order to Teach Cursive Letters

cursive letter order

Did you know there is a specific order to teach cursive letters to promote cursive writing legibility and carryover of cursive handwriting? In this post, you’ll learn about cursive writing order to teach letters of the alphabet, including the Handwriting Without Tears letter order for teaching cursive. The order that kids should learn the cursive alphabet, including print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive alphabet letters.

order to teach cursive letters


Learning to write the alphabet in cursive, writing one’s name in cursive, and writing words in cursive is something that many kids want to do around the second grade.

It’s around second grade, or 7-8 years of age that fine motor skills develop in such a way that pencil control and graded precision are developed to enable greater in-hand manipulation, and movement through the range of mobility in the thumb and intrinsic muscles within the hand. This enables pencil movements to become more mobile and fluid, which are pre-requisites for cursive writing skills.

Prior to this skill achievement, handwriting is taught based on pencil strokes, including uppercase letters before lowercase letters because of the developmental aspect of learning letter formations.  

Cursive seems like a “grown up” style of communication that kids see adults or older students using and they try to make swoopy writing on their own.  Some children can be very motivated to learn to write the alphabet in cursive and use it in their written work.

Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.



However, one tip for teaching children to write in cursive is to go through the letters in an order that makes sense according to the pencil movements needed to create the letters.

Writing cursive letters in a group of similar pencil strokes is helpful for carryover of pencil control practice and letter formation. Here is more information on teaching groups of similar cursive letters together in a chunk, or cursive letter families.


Once kids have a start on cursive letter formation, they can practice in creative ways like on the window.


Other children who may not be exposed to cursive written work might have their first exposure to cursive in the classroom.  Still other students might be in a public or private classroom where cursive handwriting has been dropped from the curriculum.  These kids may need extra practice at home or might need to learn cursive handwriting from the very beginning.


But where to start when teaching kids (or adults!) the cursive writing alphabet and how to form words in cursive?  Read on for tips and strategies to get started on learning cursive letters.




Cursive Writing Alphabet and Letter Order



We’ve touched on cursive handwriting in previous posts, include a small piece about starting to teach cursive letters.  This strategy will outline the alphabet and the letter order to make learning cursive more easy, based on learning letters in a developmental and progressive order.

RELATED READ: Practice letters in a Cursive Writing Journal.


There are print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive letters.


These are cursive letters that are formed similarly to their printed letter counterparts. The muscle movements of the hands that are used to form some printed letters are directly related to the same letters.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with these letters when learning the cursive writing alphabet.


The printed letter patterns that make up some letters will transfer directly to cursive, and when formed with a few subskills, cursive letter formation will easily follow (in most cases):

  • Left-to-right strokes
  • Good starting points
  • Direction of movement
  • Consistent stopping points
  • Control of downstrokes
  • Smooth rhythm

Given the subskills noted above, cursive letter formation will lend to more legible letter formation.  Often times, learning correct letter formation and motor practice will help with legibility and ease of cursive writing into a viable form of written communication.

When teaching the cursive alphabet, where to begin?

These letters have print patterns that are directly transferable to their cursive letters:

The following letters transfer directly to their cursive letter forms: c, a, d, g, o, q, i, t, u, j, e, l, f, h, p, n, and m.

Knowing that there are letters that use similar motor plans as a starting point, it is recommended to follow an order when teaching lowercase cursive letters:

  • c, a, d, g, q
  • i, t, p, u, w, j
    e, l, f, h
  • k, r, s
  • b, o, v
  • m, n, y, x, z

Upper case cursive letters should be presented in a specific order as well:

A, C, O, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, P, R, B, H, K, N, M, I, J, E, L, I, J, Q


This letter order uses a combination of research-based strategies and focuses on movement based patterns as well as common letter formations, i.e. the way the letters connect to form words.

This upper case cursive letter order (or cursive capital letters) order teaches upper case letters that are similar to lower case letters first.  Always teach lower case cursive letters before upper case letters.

Print out the Free printable version for the classroom or home.

Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.

Affiliate links are included below.

WOrk on Cursive Letter Order with these Ideas:

Here, you’ll find More creative ways to work on learning cursive writing:

Cursive Writing Order

Looking for more information on how to teach cursive writing? You’ll love our 31 day series on How to Teach Cursive Writing.  

The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

  • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
  • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
  • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
  • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
  • Tips to improve pencil grip
  • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Valentines Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase Activity

Valentine uppercase and lowercase cursive activity

This post includes a FREE download of the Valentine Cursive Alphabet Uppercase and Lowercase printable. Start here with understanding how to teach cursive…then check out this post on which cursive letters to teach first. Then use the free cursive letters printable at the bottom of this page to work on cursive letter writing with a Valentine’s Day theme! This is a great activity to incorporate into your Valentines Day occupational therapy activities.

This cursive alphabet uppercase and lowercase activity has a Valentine's Day theme, but the cursive letter cards can be used any time to year to work on cursive handwriting.

Cursive Alphabet Upper Case and Lower Case Activity

Because of the importance of cursive writing, the OT Toolbox has included cursive alphabet worksheets in it’s “Toolbox”.  This uppercase and lowercase Valentines printable alphabet PDF is a great learning tool for beginning to recognize the letters.

In recent years there has been a lot of back and forth opinions about the validity and necessity of writing cursive.  Some of the people creating school curricula feel this is an old language since it is not used in books any more, and most written expression is done on keyboards.  While there is the argument that people only need cursive for signing their signature, and it should be abolished, cursive is so much more important than just a signature on a page. This article from the New York Times debates reasons to reinstate cursive writing in schools:

Students with learning differences such as dyslexia greatly benefit from learning cursive. Cursive letters such as “b and d” are different from manuscript, therefore easier to decipher. 

Flowing letters connected together in cursive are often easier for young learners to write. There are fewer diagonals, a definite direction of the letters eliminating bottom to top formation, and not having to keep stopping and starting can be a very efficient form of written expression. This post on cursive letter families is helpful in breaking down letters into formation patterns.

The first stage to learning something new is being able to identify before being able to reproduce it. These upper and lowercase cursive alphabet worksheets for kids or other learners, are a great addition to your cursive curriculum. The OT Toolbox archives has an informative post on teaching cursive writing.

What better way to teach a new skill than to tie it to an adorable Valentine theme? Learners are more compliant when there is a motivating fun theme. While these uppercase and lowercase alphabet worksheets can be introduced around Valentine’s day, they are versatile enough to be used year round. YouTube has a great video highlighting the History (and importance) of Cursive Writing

How can I use these cursive alphabet upper and lowercase letter printable cards?

Incorporate this cursive letters printable into occupational therapy sessions to work on individualized goals no matter what level or skills the learner is working to address:

  • Ask learners to write the letters as they match them
  • Higher level learners can write down, or describe the directions to the game
  • Print these on colored paper for more visual appeal or contrast, color the pictures, or laminate the pages to make these more sturdy and reusable
  • Learners can explore other games they could make using these Valentine match cards (perhaps hiding the letters around the room and having learners run around collecting them, or creating a “memory” game out of these upper and lowercase writing cards)
  • Practice scissor skills by cutting these cards apart
  • Change the weight of the paper – heavier paper is easier to handle
  • Make these into tracing cards with or without laminating them.
  • Research and talk about the importance of cursive writing, and have a debate
  • Project onto a smartboard for a group task using a pointer to push the pieces together
  • Enlarge or shrink this task to change the degree of difficulty
  • Turn it into a gross motor task, sensory activity, following directions game, or combination of all of these
  • Use this task durng more than one session by adding cursive practice, letter recognition, copying from a model, or putting letters together to make words.

Skilled OT Observations with this Cursive Activity

When working on this Valentine upper and lowercase cursive matching activity, there are several observations that can be  made: 

  • Can your learner scan the pages to identify the correct letters?  Are they recognizing what they are matching or merely matching shapes? Can they match items that are related but not the same (form constancy)?
  • How many items can your learner correctly match?
  • Can your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors? How much assistance do they need to grip the scissors and cut on the lines?
  • Can your student continue to hold the scissors while trying to manipulate the paper?
  • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
  • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?
  • Can they stay on task during this upper and lowercase cursive matching task?

As with this Cursive Alphabet Uppercase Lowercase Valentine Worksheet, or any of the worksheets and activities on the OT Toolbox, you can teach one or ten different skills while teaching them. Working on letter recognition? Skip the cutting and coloring section.  Focusing on visual perception? Don’t have students write the letters after matching the cards. Beginning cursive learners? Have a letter page example with all of the letters as a reference. 

You may decide you are focusing your treatment on task completion or compliance with a non preferred task. Therefore your observations would lean more toward behaviors and reactions, than written expression.

Make several observations while your learners are working on these cursive letter matching pages.  See how you might need to grade or modify the task for your next group of learners.  Decide what works, and what does not work using this set of cards. 

Use the other Valentine’s printables available on the OT Toolbox to create an impressive lesson plan.  Here is an entire Valentine Fine Motor Kit! 

Whether you are searching for Valentines Slide Decks, posts highlighting Valentines Day ideas, or anything you want to build into your lesson plan, type your ideas into the search bar and tons of activities, posts, free printables, and kits will be available to you. 

Whenever you get the urge to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate cursive, just take a look at the handwritten notes from your grandmother, or other elderly people.  It is simply beautiful penmanship and should not be lost in favor of typing.

Cursive – it’s more than just a signature!

Free Upper Case and Lowercase Cursive Letters Printable

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FREE Valentine’s Day Cursive Letters Printable

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    Victoria Wood, OTR/L

    Victoria Wood

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    Cursive Handwriting Letter Families

    cursive letter families

    This post is a comprehensive resource on cursive handwriting letter families. Did you know that teaching cursive letters in a series of similar letters can be helpful for kids who are just learning letter formation? Using groups of letters that are formed similarly makes them a letter family. So, when we use the motor plan required to form a cursive letter, we can help learners retain and use that cursive formation appropriately for legible cursive writing. Let’s break down cursive letter families!

    What are Letter Families

    Letter families are related letters. Just like a family, letter families contain similar traits. These similarities might include the same starting point when forming a letter, similar lines that make up the letter, or other traits that make the letters easy to group. Letter families might include these traits:

    • Same starting point
    • Same initial pencil movement
    • Same connecting lines or ending pencil strokes
    • Similar movements within the letter, like bumps, slants, re-trace, etc.

    When it comes to cursive letter families, this is a powerful teaching technique because we can break down the task of learning all uppercase and lower case cursive letters as we break down the task into chunks.

    Teaching cursive letters in chunks can be helpful because many cursive letters are similar in formation either in starting lines or with components. Consider a lower case cursive letter “i”. The way the beginning line curves up and stops is similar to the start of a lower case cursive letter “t”.  

    Letters like m, n, v, x, y, and z all start with a bump curve that starts from the baseline and curves up in an arch toward the middle line. 

    Letters like e, l, h, b, f, and k all start with a loop.   

    There are similarities in upper and lowercase cursive letters that indicate a need to teach letters in an order that takes cursive letter families into account.

    Why use letter families to teach cursive

    Cursive families and grouping letters by lines is an occupational therapy strategy that uses motor planning, muscle memory, and fine motor development to impact legible cursive writing.

    Tricks to help with teaching cursive handwriting can make all the difference when it comes to carryover and legibility. Below, you will find information about teaching cursive handwriting and letters that are similar and should be taught together in groups for ease of learning.

    You’ll discover 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.

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

    Cursive letters fit into families because there are similarities in how letters are formed that can help kids learn to write in cursive.

     
     

    Lowercase Cursive Letter Families

    Lowercase cursive handwriting letter families are broken down by the writing strokes that start the letter. We’ve broken these letter groups into these types of starting strokes:
    1. Wave Letters
    2. Spike Letters
    3. Loop Letters
    4. Bump Letters
    5. Slant Letters
    6. Tow Truck Letters (based on the ending strokes or connecting strokes)

    You can see that when we break cursive letters down into groups, it makes it easier for learners to learn and carryover the motor plan to form the letter because the letters that start similarly use the same small muscle movements.

    Wave Letter Family

    Wave letters are lowercase cursive letters that curve up from the baseline with a curve that follows the outside and left side of a circle. The curve traces back on itself to create a curve shape. Read here about specific strategies to teach Wave Letters.

    Wave letters include lowercase cursive: c, a, d, g, q, and o.

     

    Spike Letter Family 

    Spike Letters are are lowercase cursive letters that curve up from the baseline with an inverted curve that follows the underside and right side of a circle. The curve traces back on itself for the strait portion of the letter, but then pulls away to either continue with additional components of the letter or to connect to subsequent letters. 
     
    Spike letters include lowercase cursive: i, t, u, w, p, and j.
     

    Loop Letter Family

    Loop letters are lowercase cursive letters that begin with a loop from the baseline. These can be easy to learn at first : cursive e and cursive f are simple motor plans. But, the remaining loop letters contain re-traced lines, inverted lines that move back toward the middle line and then in the opposite direction (cursive k), and multi-loops (cursive f). 
     
    Loop letters include: e, l, h b, k, and f.
     

    Bump Letter Family

     
    Bump letters are lowercase cursive letters that start from the baseline with a low curve on a 45 degree angle that peaks with a curved “bump” at the middle line.
     
    Bump letters include: n, m, v, x, y, and z.
     

    Slant Letter Family

    Slant letters are lowercase cursive letters that start from the baseline and slant at a 45 degree angle without a curved portion at the direction change. 
     
    Slant letters include: s and r.
     

    Tow Truck Letter Family

    Tow truck letters use terminology from the Handwriting Without Tears program and refers to the way the letter connects to another letter.
     
    Another way to distinguish cursive letters even further is to identify tow truck letters. This term uses a verbal prompt from the Learning Without Tears handwriting program which identifies letters with a high connection point. The “tow truck letters” connect to subsequent letters in a word with a connector at the middle line rather than the baseline.
     
    Tow Truck Letters include: o, v, w, and b.
     

    Uppercase Cursive Letter Families

    Upper case cursive letters can be hard to learn. Why? Because uppercase letters are not often used, especially as often as their lowercase relatives. An uppercase K may not be used often and it is easy to forget which way to make the starting lines or the mid-loops. 
     
    We’ll break down uppercase cursive letters into groups, just like we did with the lowercase letters. 
     
    Uppercase cursive letter families are broken down by starting point.
     

    Right Curve Start Upper Case Cursive Letters

    Right-Start Letters are uppercase cursive letters that start at the top line with a counter clockwise (or right curve) motion from the top line down to the baseline. 
     
    Right Curve Start Letters include: A, C, O, Q, and E (Uppercase cursive letter E starts with a right curve to the middle line.)
     

    Rocker Start Upper Case Cursive Letters

    Rocker-Start uppercase cursive letters are those upper case letters that start with a small rocker motion to the top line.
     
    Rocker start letters include: B, R, P, and L. 
     

    Down Stroke Start Letters

    Down-Stroke upper case cursive letters are uppercase cursive letters that start at the top line and move down.
     
    Down stroke start letters include: D, T, F, U, Y, V, and W.
     

    Left Loop Start Letters

    Left-Loop start letters are uppercase cursive letters that begin with a small loop start at the top left side of the letter. 
     
    Left loop start letters include: H, K, M, N, X, and W.
     

    Slant Start Upper Case Cursive Letters

    Slant start cursive are uppercase cursive letters that start at the baseline and slant up to the top line at a 45 degree angle. 
     
    Slant start letters include: G and S.
     

    Left Curve Up Start Cursive Upper Case

    Left Curve Up start letters are uppercase cursive letters start at the baseline and curve up to the left side. They start of the opposite side than the rest of the upper case cursives. This can be a difficult start for some learners, especially if these letters are not used often.
     
    Left curve up start letters include: I and J.
     

    Other Upper Case Cursive

    Uppercase cursive letter Z doesn’t seem to fit into any of these categories! That is to say: all of these cursive letter starts depend on the font. Occupational therapy practitioners tend to teach simple writing strokes to reduce the motor plan and to improve carryover. So, it is possible to group Z into another group, including the Slant Start Letters or Left Loop Start Letters.

     
     

    What order to teach cursive Letter families?

    When it comes down to it, having a specific order of uppercase and lowercase cursive letters doesn’t matter hugely. It is much more important to teach letters in their family chunks for ease. That being said, you do need to start somewhere when it comes to starting to teach cursive letters. So where to begin?

    It’s also a great idea to teach letters that are similar in look or formation to their printed counterpart.  

    There are so many different cursive letter curriculum out there without a clear letter sequence so it’s truly up to the instructor. Consider the benefits of teaching cursive letters in their letter family clusters. Here is one list of recommended cursive letter order for ease of instruction.    

    For explicit instruction, use the suggested order to teach cursive letters listed on this handout.

    How to Teach Cursive Families

    Teach Cursive Letter Families with Picture Frames!

    This post contains affiliate links.


    Use the cursive letter order descriptions to create family photos like we did. Use these in the classroom to teach kids about how the letters are related in formation. We used just a few items to create family photos for cursive letters:

    To make teaching cursive with a cursive letter family fun and “stick” try this memorable activity.

    Cut the cardstock to fit the frames. Add a small piece of tape to keep the cardstock in place. Write the groups of cursive letters on the cardstock. Fit the paper into the frames.

    Use these frames to teach common cursive letter families. Place them on desks or tables in the classroom or home and refer to cursive families during instruction.

    Cursive letters fit into families because there are similarities in how letters are formed that can help kids learn to write in cursive.

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

    The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

    The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.

    The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.

    • Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
    • Ideas for combining handwriting and play
    • Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
    • Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
    • Tips to improve pencil grip
    • Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility

    Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.