Did you know there is more than one way to write in cursive? It’s true! There are actually many different ways to write in cursive. And with the incredible popularity of hand-lettering and handwritten fonts, there are essentially an endless supply of accepted cursive styles.
But which one is the best for students to learn and where can you find a meaningful cursive alphabet printable that will allow them to practice each letter of the alphabet individually and also in conjunction with other letters and words?
Well, I’m so glad you asked because we are going to look at…
- the most popular styles of cursive,
- which style is the easiest for your students to learn,
- the best printable worksheets, and
- how to incorporate cursive writing practice into your schedule.
Methods of Teaching Cursive
There are a variety of ways to teach cursive script, but the two most common methods found in the United States are Zaner-Bloser and the D’Nealian method.
This was the first method for teaching cursive writing skills introduced in 1904.
According to Wikipedia, Charles P. Zaner and Elmer W. Bloser “developed their teaching script with the aim of allowing learners an easier transition from print writing to cursive.”
The Zaner-Bloser Method “first teaches block letters and then cursive in order to enable written expression as quickly as possible and thus develop the ability to write.”
By the 1950s, the Zaner-Bloser Method had become the “most popular style of penmanship instruction” in the United States. But it didn’t take long for its popularity to wane after the introduction of the D’Nealian Method in 1978.
Developed by Donald Neal Thurber and publicly introduced in 1978, the D’Nealian method quickly gained fame as the most popular cursive handwriting method. This “led to a significant decline in the use of the previously leading Zaner-Bloser Method.”
Thurber’s method including teaching children how to add “monkey tails” to certain printed letters which prepared them for the cursive writing that would be introduced next.
Following this particular process it makes sense that “in theory, it is easier for children to learn and acquire basic handwriting skills using D’Nealian than traditional cursive methods.”
This was the way I was taught to write in cursive back in the 1980s when learning cursive was a required skill. I can remember wondering back then why they made the capital Q look like the number two.
Our teacher showed us how to form individual letters and then how to put together the letters into a cursive sentence.
But fast forward a few decades and everything has changed dramatically. Between increasing content knowledge expectations, more and more students falling behind, and behavior issues, teachers just don’t have time to teach cursive writing anymore.
…or do they?
The Best Cursive Alphabet Printable
Well, that depends on which cursive resource you plan to use. If it requires a lot of teacher-led instruction, you won’t have time.
But if it is super-targeted with your only involvement being the initial introduction of letter formation, then you definitely have time.
Unfortunately, there are about 10 million options from which you need to choose, so here is a list of the essential criteria. The resource needs to include…
- individual uppercase letters practice,
- individual lowercase letters practice,
- engaging clip art with letter words, and
- cursive words to bring all of the different letters together.
This allows students to go from basic letter formation to putting those letters into word form. They can practice reading the words in cursive, which is another important skill itself, and then writing those words.
That’s why I created the exact resource I was seeking! With over 100 pages of cursive handwriting practice, this product includes all of the criteria for the best cursive alphabet printable with the added bonus of cursive words.
This resource is perfect for students who are just beginning to learn cursive and for older students who need help with cursive penmanship.
This resource is ideal for whole group instruction, small groups, or even individual practice.
But that still leaves us with the lingering question of how to actually add another “thing” into an already completely full schedule. Well, I am so glad you asked because I have three specific ways you can incorporate printable cursive writing worksheets into your schedule EASILY!!
How to Incorporate Cursive Into Your Schedule
When I was teaching, our state removed the requirement of learning cursive in third grade. As a third grade teacher, I was thankful because it meant there was one less thing I had to try to squeeze into my already over-filled day.
But then it dawned on me just how important this skill is for our students. Obviously with the world becoming digital in every form, the need for good penmanship is rapidly declining.
However, students still need to have the ability to write in cursive if for no other reason than to jot down their signature.
So that begs the question, how can third grade teachers incorporate cursive writing into an already overflowing schedule? Well, the key is thinking outside the box!
A great way to incorporate cursive writing into your schedule is making it a standing assignment for students to complete while you are absent. This gives students the opportunity to practice mastering this skill and the best part is you don’t have to grade the writing samples when you return. (Praise the Lord!!)
The one caveat is that either you (or your substitute) NEED to explicitly teach students proper letter formation before sending them into practice mode.
And while I know that feels like a major letdown, just remember that other than the initial introduction and modeling by you or your sub, cursive is a skill that simply requires lots of practice and muscle memory.
And that is where the cursive alphabet printable comes in clutch! Providing students with cursive worksheets designed to allow them to practice capital letters and lowercase letters is an excellent starting point for cursive instruction.
Having the opportunity to practice each letter individually before moving on to the next step is key to success.
Before holidays and breaks
Another perfect time to practice the letters of the alphabet in cursive form is right before an extended break or holiday.
Students struggle to concentrate on new information because they are just so excited. Therefore, the day (or two) before a holiday break is simply lost instructional time.
So why not take advantage of that downtime by letting them complete cursive handwriting practice? Practicing…
- doesn’t require higher-order thinking skills (which they have lost control over before a break),
- gives students an opportunity perfect (and master) a life skill that otherwise wouldn’t be taught, and
- keeps them focused on an activity for more than two seconds without getting off track.
After state testing
State testing usually occurs about a month before school is out and whether we like to admit it or not, once that major hurdle has been crossed, most students (and teachers) mentally check out for the rest of the year.
The days are warmer and the sun beckons everyone outside.
That’s why this is another ideal time to incorporate cursive practice. Printing out a set of cursive alphabet worksheets for each student and then letting them go outside to practice writing in the warm sunshine is guaranteed to result in happy kiddos!
If going outside isn’t an option, allow students to find areas around the room to work. Allowing them to choose where to sit immediately puts them in a positive mindset and ensures they will be more attentive to their work.
The trick to teaching with cursive is adding this skill in when you can. I know it can feel like one more thing you don’t have to time to tackle. But using one of the suggestions I mentioned with the printable cursive alphabet worksheets will guarantee your students have the opportunity to learn this essential life skill!