How to Teach Cursive Writing to Beginners

Cursive lettering can be beautiful when letters are formed correctly,

Cursive handwriting is a skill often taught to students in the second or third grade. Students learn this new skill most efficiently when they are given the opportunity to engage with as many senses as possible. When learning cursive, it is important that a teacher stops incorrect habits as they begin to form. These incorrect habits are difficult to break once set. By using creativity, routine and frequent evaluation students can correctly learn to write cursive letters.

By grouping letters by common characteristics, you will help chunk the learning for students.

Organize letters by common formations and writing techniques, as follows: Group c, a, d, g and q together. Group i, u, w, t, j, p, r, s and o together. Group e, l, h, k, b and f together. Group n, m, v, y, x and z together. Group P, R, B, H and K together. Group C, E and A together. Group O and Q together. Group N and M together. Group U, V and Y together. Group T and F together. Group W and X together. Group I and J together. Group G, S, L and D together. Teach Z independently.

Beware of incorrect habits forming.

Demonstrate the correct technique the students will use to write the cursive letter by writing a sample letter on the board. Talk through the motions needed to form the letter correctly. Stand in front of the students. Turn your back to the class and instruct them to write the letter in the air with you. Talk through the steps as you write the letter in the air together. Write the letter in the air several more times with various students leading the class and talking through the steps. Instruct the students to practice writing the new letter on paper. Inspect the process each student is using to ensure incorrect habits are not forming.

Have the students engage with multiple senses when practicing letter formation.

Involve as many senses as possible when teaching letter formation. As a class, quietly listen to the sound the pencil makes on the paper when writing the letter. Draw the letter on a rimmed cookie sheet full of rice and compare the sound. Ask the students if the letter reminds them of a shape or other object. Review the letter formations by asking the class to close their eyes, write the letters in the air and discuss the way the letter feels when being written.

Give students feedback on their letter formations frequently.

Assess students' progress in their natural writing pieces. Inform the students that you will be using an assigned piece of written text to assess cursive letter formations. Offer feedback and encouragement regularly.

Miska Rynsburger began her career as a writer in 2009 by authoring a book titled "It's Time to Play Outside." She is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Miska holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanities from Hope College and a master's degree in educational leadership from Grand Valley State University.