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5 Tips for Teaching Cursive from an OT

5 Tips for Teaching Cursive

Cursive handwriting is taught once students have mastered printing. But did you know that some students who struggle with printing can find cursive easier? This is because students don’t have to pick up their pencils after each letter, and it can naturally eliminate letter reversals. As an OT, cursive can give my students a fresh start.


These are my 5 tips for teaching cursive:


  1. Use a vertical style. It’s easier to learn and easier to read. The only reason cursive was traditionally taught with a slant is because a quill pen was the standard for writing. Today, we use pencils and ball-point pens. A vertical style is an easier option for teaching cursive. Check out this quick video to see how vertical cursive will benefit your students.
  2. Begin with cursive warm-ups. These pre-cursive activities provide students with the opportunity to practice frequently used cursive strokes. It also helps me determine if my students are ready for cursive.
  3. Use Wet-Dry-Try on the Blackboard with Double Lines. This multisensory strategy is perfect for my students. It’s a hands-on strategy that provides fun opportunities for repetition of letters prior to paper and pencil. 
  4. Don’t skip Review & Mastery. This is where students stop and review letters they have learned. First, they review by copying cursive to cursive, next print to cursive. Lastly, you will spell a word for them using cursive letters they have learned. I LOVE using this strategy. It ensures cursive mastery. See page 3 of this sample for a review and mastery exercise. 
  5. Use it, Don’t Lose it. Once I have taught the cursive lowercase letters, my students must write at least one cursive assignment each day. Don’t worry about the capitals yet. They are nice to have, but cursive fluency comes from mastering the lowercase letter connections.


Want to learn more about teaching cursive? Click here to learn how cursive is building confident communicators in twenty-first century classrooms.



Tania Ferrandino's picture
By Tania Ferrandino Tania Ferrandino, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist from Dover, DE. She developed a passion for working with children and ultimately teaching others after attending her first Handwriting Without Tears workshop with Jan Olsen in 2002. She has written a series of grants, taught HWT workshops and made it her mission to help all children achieve handwriting success. She is currently a program specialist and national presenter for Learning Without Tears.