How to Teach Cursive Writing

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We often take the things we learned while young for granted. Reading and writing are two things that all of us do on a daily basis. When you've been doing something for a very long time without having to think about it, teaching a beginner how to perform this function can be somewhat challenging. Writing in cursive is something that most of us learned many, many years ago. Showing a young child or an adult how to do so can be frustrating for the student if they are not being taught step-by-step. Here is how to teach cursive writing.

1 Begin

Begin by purchasing or printing “three-lined” paper with examples of cursive writing. These are easy to find at any school supplies store. There is also an excellent Web site that you can use to print out numerous pages and workbooks for your students (see Resources below).

2 Teach the letters

Teach the letters that are similar in print and cursive before moving on to those that are different. “A” and “C” are two letters practically identical in both print and cursive. Demonstrate the slight differences in these letters before moving on to those that are completely different, such as lower case “R” or upper case “G.”

3 Use the three-lined paper

Use the three-lined paper to demonstrate when letters should begin and end. For example, when writing a lower case “n,” the letter should begin on the bottom line and the “tail” of the letter should end before the middle line. Many instructors use dots as a way to teach cursive writing. This way, students can simply connect those dots as a way to learn the letters. You may actually find that some of the three-line paper you purchased or printed has those exact dots.

4 Emphasize to your students

Emphasize to your students that the pen or pencil should never be lifted from the paper until the word has been completed. This is probably the most difficult thing for a person learning how to write in cursive for the first time. Some teachers will use popular letter combinations to demonstrate this, such as “br,” “ng” and “qu.” You could also use smaller words, such as “to,” “ma” and “pa” as examples.

5 Remind your student

Remind your student(s) that there are some letters that do not connect to the rest of the word. Capital “T” is an example of this. You will want to inform your students of this fact before moving on to whole words as this may confuse them when they attempt to write a sentence or paragraph in cursive.

6 Have the person

Have the person you're teaching write his or her name in cursive repeatedly as practice. Our signatures are the thing we will write in cursive the most throughout our lifetime. It's important that we know how to do so properly. This is also a great way to have your students learn different letter combinations, especially if the person has a particularly long name.

  • Be patient with your student. Teaching somebody to do something that you've been doing for decades can cause a person to unintentionally rush through a lesson or even be condescending. The reason this takes place is because the task is naturally very “easy” to us. Try to remember that there was a time when you didn't know how to write in cursive. A teacher or parent took the time to teach you. You need to be the same way.

Andrew Smith has been a freelance writer since 2006, specializing in sports and technology. His work has appeared on various online sites. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Pennsylvania State University.