How to Teach Handwriting 2022


With ever more popular computers, smartphones, and tablets, teaching handwriting has fallen out of fashion. However, handwriting is an important skill to have for taking notes, taking tests, writing formal letters, and doing work that cannot be done on a computer.Trustworthy SourceReading RocketsOnline resource supported by PBS providing research-based strategies for assisting children to become confident readersGo to source Therefore, it is important to teach students how to form letters correctly, create letters and words that are uniform in size and spacing, and to also make sure that all letters slant uniformly.


Part 1 of 4:Practicing Pre-Writing Patterns

1Show your students how to position their paper. When writing, the paper should be placed at a 45-degree angle towards the dominant writing hand. When you notice that a student is not doing this, remind them to keep their paper positioned correctly.

This creates an open space where the student can easily see the paper.

Don't scold them, though. There is a lot to remember when learning to write, so it won't be unusual for them to forget a few things.

2Ask your students to sit properly. Students should sit up straight in their chair with both feet flat on the floor.

Sitting properly may seem like an old-fashioned idea, but it is actually very important for creating the ideal writing environment. Sitting up straight with feet flat on the floor also helps to keep the body in balance, and strengthens the core muscles, which support the student's trunk. Furthermore, if you teach the students to sit properly, but you notice one student who keeps slipping into an incorrect position, it may be an indication that they are having a problem. For example, that they need glasses to help them see the page well.

3Allow them to trace the letters with a pencil. There are many worksheets available on the internet which will allow them to trace over each letter of the alphabet. Print out some of these worksheets for them to use, or make your own.

As with finger tracing, this will help them to understand where the letter begins and ends, but with a more realistic experience.

4Start with drawing vertical and horizontal straight lines. Ask the student to hold a pencil in their dominant hand. Have them draw several straight lines (as straight as they are able to manage) of varying lengths. The point of these pre-writing exercises is to give the student a chance to practice the strokes of pulling and pushing that are involved in writing.

You can download worksheets from the internet by searching for “pre-writing patterns worksheets.” You will find several websites that offer different printable worksheets. These will make the learning fun for the student.

Alternatively, you can draw your own worksheets, and then make copies for as many students as you are teaching. You can do this by drawing several patterns (e.g. straight lines of various lengths), and then ask the students to copy these drawings.

5Move on to diagonal lines. Once they have had some practice with horizontal and vertical straight lines, have them practice drawing diagonally. Again, use worksheets that will help guide them, and give them various lines to draw.

If you don't have the option of printing out or creating your own worksheets, you can draw the line you want the students to draw on a blackboard. If you are only working with one student, you can sit next to them with your own pencil and paper, and then draw each line as you would like them to draw it.

6Try curve and tunnel patterns. The next pre-writing exercise involves asking the students to practice drawing curves. You can have them draw c-shaped curves, backward c-shaped curves, u-shaped curves, and upside down u-shaped curves.

Try to mix it up and have them draw a few of each type of curve so that they are able to practice each type at least a few times.

7Finish with drawing patterns that join together. Having the students practice joining patterns together will give the students a chance to practice the directional pushes and pulls of handwriting. This is especially important when they begin to learn cursive handwriting, which will require the students to join letters and change directions continuously.

Have the students draw check marks on the page. Start with large checkmarks, and then have them try to draw smaller ones. Include checkmarks that have a rounded bottom as well as those with a sharp point.

Ask them to draw a wave pattern on the page. It may be helpful for the student if you ask them to try and draw cartoon ocean waves, as this is what the pattern looks like.

Ask them to draw large and loose s-shapes. Don't worry about whether they actually look like an s, the point is for them to practice looping and changing directions.

Part 2 of 4:Teaching Letter Formation

1Provide the students with a diagram of each letter of the alphabet. This should be provided with both lower and upper case letters (and the numbers 0-9 might also be included). This will help the students to remember what each letter looks like, and will also allow them to copy the letters.

It isn't a bad idea to have the numbers included in the diagram since they will need to learn how to write those as well.

2Ask the students to trace each letter of the alphabet with their finger. This will help them learn the starting and stopping point of each letter, as well as how the letter is slanted.

Tracing the letter is also a good way to point out that lower case letters should be smaller than upper case letters.

3Begin with a few letters. Don't assign them the whole alphabet. Instead, focus on a few letters at a time. Ask them to draw each letter that they have been assigned.

Start with teaching capital letter formation, which are developmentally easier for students, and are less likely to get reversed. Then move to lower-case letters. When teaching lower-case letters, it is good to start with the letters c, o, s, and v because they are just smaller versions of their upper-case counterparts.

When approaching letters that are often easily confused, it might be a good idea to begin with one of the letters in the pair. For example, b and d tend to get mixed up in the early stages of learning handwriting. However, if you teach the student how to write the letter b, and make sure that they can easily write the letter before introducing the letter d, the student is less likely to confuse them.

Most students are excited to learn how to write their names, so the letters of the student's name are a good place to start.

You can continue to use worksheets, which will show them the letter, and will typically provide space next to the letter to copy it.

Remember that practice makes perfect! The more they practice each letter, the better they will get at drawing the letter correctly.

4Don't focus on size, spacing, or slant. At this point, you just want the students to be able to form the letter properly. If you see a student drawing a letter incorrectly. (e.g. forgetting the middle line in the letter E), then help them to figure out what they missed.

However, don't criticize them if they made a small letter e that is physically larger than a capital letter “S.” These things will come later on.

5Practice more and more letters. As the students master the initial letters you gave them, you can move on to more and more letters of the alphabet until, eventually, the students will master drawing each letter of the alphabet.

At this point, you can move on to focusing on letter size, spacing, and slant.

Part 3 of 4:Teaching Letter Size, Spacing, and Slant

1Use guide paper. Guide paper is paper that has two horizontal, parallel, solid lines running from one side of the paper to the other, with a dotted line that is in the middle of the two lines. This paper will help the student focus on making the letters the correct sizes. Large letters should reach from the top solid line to the bottom solid line, and lower-case letters should reach from the dotted line to the lower solid line.

You can typically purchase this paper at teacher supply stores, or you can download templates online (search for"handwriting guide paper,"and you will find multiple templates). In a pinch, you can also make the paper yourself. However, if you do this, you should make sure that all guidelines are uniform in size and length so that the students can practice with consistency.

2Practice letter and word spacing. It is important that students also learn to pay attention to the spacing between each letter and each word, and to try and be consistent with the spacing.

Students can use their pinky fingers or a popsicle stick to help them learn how much space should be between each word.

The spacing between letters is a bit more tricky to measure, but the letters should be far enough apart so that they do not touch or run into each other.

3Observe the slant of the letters. At first, students will have a hard time focusing on this, but as their motor skills develop, they should practice keeping all letters slanted at a uniform angle.

One way to help the students check whether the slant is uniform is to draw a vertical line through the center of each letter. When you (or the student) finish drawing these lines, you should be able to see that the lines are all parallel to each other. If the student is still learning how to make the slant uniform, some lines will be parallel, while some may slant in opposite directions.

If the student is struggling, don't lose your patience. Simply explain to them how the lines should look, and demonstrate it yourself. Then, let them practice again.

Part 4 of 4:Teaching Cursive Handwriting

1Teach lowercase letters first. Unlike in print handwriting, you will want to begin by teaching the lowercase letters first. Lowercase letters tend to be easier to form than many of the uppercase ones, and many are also quite similar to the way they are printed.

Once the student has mastered the lowercase letters, you can begin with the uppercase letters. These should be taught second because they are complex to form, and are also used less frequently than lowercase cursive letters.

2Group the letters together based on how they are formed. In cursive handwriting, you will find that some letters are formed using a similar stroke to others. It will be easiest for the student to get the hang of drawing the letter correctly if they are able to practice similar letters at the same time.

Group the “round” letters together. The letters, a, d, g, q, and c are all formed in a similar way. So have the student begin by practicing with these letters.

Move on to the “climb and slide” letters. These letters are all formed by drawing an upward stroke followed by a downward stroke and includes the letters i, u, w, and t.

Practice the loopy letters. These letters will all be formed by drawing a shape that involves a loop. It includes the letters e, l, h, k, b, f, and j.

The “lumpy” letters include all the letters of the alphabet that will be formed by drawing a hump and includes the letters n, m, v, and x.

Finish with the “mix n' match” letters. These letters include p, r, s, o, y, and z, and were put into this category because they require movements used in two or more of the previous categories. It is best to teach these last so that the student will have a chance to practice the easier formations first.

3Show the student how each letter is formed. In order to draw the letter correctly, the student will first need to be shown how the letter should be formed.

You can do this by drawing the letter slowly and carefully on the board or you can do it on a sheet of paper.

You can also search the internet for animations of how each letter is formed if you aren't sure how to draw the letter properly or if you want the student to be able to watch the letter being drawn over and over. Search the internet for “animated letter formation” plus the letter you want to show them.

4Have the student practice with worksheets. As with print writing, the student will need lots of practice to get each letter right. You can search the internet for worksheets, or make your own.

Whether you make your own, or print them out, it is good to start with a worksheet that includes a drawing of the letters the student is learning along with a place where they can draw the letter next to it. Make sure they have many chances to practice each letter.

5Remind the student about the importance of practice. As with print handwriting, the key to successfully writing in cursive is to practice. This will help them to develop their muscle memory. Encourage them to try writing in cursive any time they have to write something.

Try to check their work to catch any mistakes they are making. If mistakes aren't corrected early on, they may develop a habit of forming the letter in the wrong way. This will be difficult to change later on.