Cursive handwriting methods

Updated April 17, 2017

With the advent of personal computers, Blackberrys, iPhones and other hand-held communications media, cursive writing may well go the way of the dodo. Until it does, however, cursive writing is still learnt by every child in primary school. The word cursive comes from the Latin words curro, currere, cucurri and cursum, which mean to run or hasten. And cursive handwriting means running-hand or joined-up writing. It is a skill that allows a person to write quickly. It is quite distinct from printing and there are several ways cursive writing can be learnt.

D'Nealian Cursive

The D'Nealian method of learning cursive handwriting is favoured by many teachers because of the simplicity involved. Arrows and strokes with numbers teach children how to first form the letters. When these are mastered, each letter is simply joined together by attaching the end stroke of one letter to the beginning stroke of the next. According to the D'Nealian manuscript website, 87% of D'Nealian lower case letters are the same as their cursive counterparts, which allows children to easily transition into cursive writing when they are ready.

Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting

The Getty-Dubay italic handwriting method was developed in the mid-1970s by Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay to teach children how to convert printing into cursive writing. This method is simple for children to learn, since very few letters change when converted to cursive style. According to Portland State University's Continuing Education program, this method "is recommended for children with (attention-deficit disorder) and other learning challenges because it is very simple to learn. It also eliminates the difficulties dyslexic children experience with mirroring or reversible letters."

Palmer Method of Handwriting

The Palmer Method was once the most popular way of learning to write. In this method, certain muscles of the arm were used in the writing motion, as opposed to just the fingers holding the pen or pencil. Palmer methodologists believed that the motion would allow a person to write as fast as a typist could type. This method lost favour in the 1920s, when children started to learn to print before learning to write in cursive.

Jardotty Dotted Alphabet

Jardotty is a dotted alphabet cursive font that can be downloaded from the Internet to allow students to practice cursive writing. It is similar to the workbooks that are used in grade school to teach children to learn to join letters. Downloading this font means that parents can create their own worksheets for children to learn how to practice their cursive writing.

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About the Author

Beverley Burgess Bell has been a professional freelance writer since 1986. She has worked for Medigram, a medical poster and Rodar Publications. She also was editor of "Epilepsy," Canada's national newsletter and wrote for various publications including "Future Health." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Concordia University in Montreal.