We just had our Children’s Handwriting Class earlier this afternoon, which was a lot of fun! We had a few kids come over to the shop and I was a bit more prepared this time with some folders and worksheets and my favourite stickers. I learned about pet hamsters and new teachers for the school year, and the kids practised some cursive writing in purple and green and pink ink.
Inspired by kids learning cursive writing, of course I think about all you adults out there. We do offer calligraphy classes, but I’m more talking about ‘regular’ handwriting for taking notes at the office or writing a letter to your grandmother. We sometimes get customers who come in to get a fountain pen because they have an interest in improving their handwriting, and so having the right tools is important.
For a lot of us, we sometimes think we’d like to improve our handwriting (we’d like to lose weight, we’d like to clean out the garage, we’d like to…), but we just haven’t found that perfect starting point. When people ask how to improve their handwriting, the short answer is: there is no magic – it’s just practice, practice, practice.
Seeing a group of kids in front of me, admittedly some more eagerly than others, picking up their pens to practise their e’s and i’s and t’s over and over is a great reminder that handwriting is a skill that can be learned at any age. In case you needed some encouragement, I thought I would put together some general tips to learning cursive writing or just improving your handwriting in general.
- Find a pen you like. You could even have a dedicated pen for this purpose, so it becomes a treat to practise your handwriting.
- Get a notebook that you can use just for your practice. I find larger A4 sized notebooks are good because you have lots of room for your hand and wrist to get full lines and sentences in. By having a notebook or even a binder of pages, you can also see your own progress.
- Seyes ruled paper is great, but if that’s not your thing, graph paper is also good. This helps you form consistently sized letters. Write large (rather than your current size), so you can get a better view of how you are forming your letters and compare it to how you should be forming your letters. Finding graph paper or even writing on every other line may help you to do this.
- Write slowly. Take your time forming your letters correctly – if you just practise the same way you’re currently writing, then you probably won’t see too much improvement or change.
- Try not to grip the pen so hard, which I know can be difficult when you’re trying to focus at the same time. The harder you squeeze your pen, the more jagged and jerky your letters become, and the more difficult it is to create flowing letters.
- Go to your local library and get a physical book with samples of cursive writing and how to correctly form the letters. I’d like to do a separate post on the resources out there that are the most helpful, but I think I need a bit more time to try them out myself, and also maybe take a few photos so you can see what’s in the pages.
You can find a lot on the internet, especially videos, but it’s nice to have a paper reference to look back and forth at, without having to rewind to see what direction the strokes are in. Also a paper book is nice for a cafe visit 😉
- Copy out your favourite poems, essays or even write out the words you hear while you’re watching Netflix at night. Try not to zone out too much though, since you should take care as you form each letter.
There are a lot of reasons for wanting to improve your handwriting. For kids, I think it’s important to have mastered handwriting in order to think and learn and write about ideas rather than expending your brain energy on the physical writing, and also for self-confidence. And actually, for adults, I guess it’s basically the same thing. But it’s also because with some effort, your handwriting can be a beautiful thing.
And, if you have a kid in Toronto, ages about 8-14, they can always come to our free Children’s Handwriting Classes, held once a month! Start ’em young 🙂