While we’re spending more time using our personal computers and cell phones to communicate, we should still attempt to improve our penmanship and not give up on good old-fashioned cursive handwriting!
With schools spending less time teaching their students cursive handwriting and sometimes discarding penmanship lessons altogether due to an increased reliance on computer keyboards, it’s understandable why many people don’t have much practice writing by hand.
If you would love to write a handwritten note in cursive writing, here are a few tips to help you improve your cursive handwriting skills.
Buy a Handwriting Course Book or Visit a Handwriting Practice Site.
The best way to get good results is to buy a book or visit a site with daily exercises.
The best free resource that I’ve come across is a website called Loops and Tails. It’s an awesome site with lots of information, including videos, that take you through all aspects of cursive writing.
If you prefer to buy a book to practice in, I’d suggest American Cursive Handwriting by Michael R.Sull:
While it’s more expensive than other cursive handwriting books, it’s really comprehensive and is useful for both right and left-handers as it’s loose leaf (you’ll need your own 3-ring binder). It includes a history of handwriting, information on how to sit and lots of practice sheets. It is designed for the adult or older child and includes quotations and longer sentences as practice.
Study the Cursive Alphabet
Odds are the last time you wrote in cursive handwriting style was in grade school and you don’t remember what some of the cursive letters look like. Look for as many cursive practice books that are properly ruled to help you practice writing cursive letters.
There are many cursive writing styles, and you can go ahead and give your cursive letters an individual flare. However, ensure that your writing is legible.
Some cursive writing styles require the use of a fancy fountain pen, calligraphy pen, or a quill. To begin with, choose a writing style that is not restricted to these items and works well with ballpoint pens, gel pens and pencils.
Practice using your whole arm to write.
Most people write by “drawing” the letters, which is b manipulating only their fingers. To facilitate better flow of letters from the pen and eliminate angular, choppy handwriting, learn to utilize your arm and shoulder when writing.
To retrain your muscles to get involved in the writing process, try ‘air writing.” It may sound silly and childish, but it will help you with the flow of letters.
Practice writing big letters on a chalkboard (or pretend you are writing big letters on a chalkboard!). This practice will naturally use forearm movement and shoulder rotation to draw the letters.
Once you become proficient at air writing, assume the position you would take when putting pen to paper and reduce the size of your invisible letters to one you usually write in. Continue focusing on your arm and shoulder, not your finger movements.
Practice Basic Cursive Pen Strokes
There are two important moves in cursive handwriting – the curve and the upsweep. You will need to practice these moves before you can write full letters.
Your practice strokes and eventually your letters need to be evenly spaced, so lined paper will be very useful here. If you want to use blank paper, use a ruler and pencil to add thin evenly-spaced lines that can easily be erased once you have written your letters.
Practice the upsweep by starting the pen just above the baseline then brushing it against the baseline as you pull down and slightly forward, and turning the curve upward into a straight line (also angled slightly forward) through both the midline and the topline.
The basic curve stroke looks like a lowercase “c.” Start drawing just beneath the midline, pull up the stroke and back up to make an almost complete counterclockwise forward-leaning oval (one that is tall rather than wide), brush against the baseline and the midline and stop about three-fourths of the point you started.
Don’t forget about the connection of letters as you move on to practising whole letters and words. These connections are the spaces between pen strokes when you lift your pen in script writing. Proper connections between letters not only make your cursive writing appear more beautiful but also helps you write faster.
The key to improving your cursive handwriting is consistent practice. Practice forming each letter precisely and deliberately, and you will pick up the pace as you move on. To master the form of cursive writing style, think of it as an art, because that’s exactly what it is!