Old School Cursive

Until recently, we have been quite pleased with the curriculum of our kids’ elementary school, with one exception: cursive handwriting.

All of my kids have been taught from a program that was created to help make cursive very easy for the kids to write. I won’t name names, but this particular program essentially teaches children to put curls at the end of their printed letters in order to connect one with the next, all without any need for slanting. Well, fine, so they can now write in pseudo cursive, but the critical problem with that came when my son reached junior high. He complained that he could not read his teachers’ handwritten assignments on the board because several wrote in traditional cursive. Qs and Zs and a few other letters didn’t look at all familiar to him.

So, being crafty, I made him a flash card of old school cursive to tuck into his binder to get him by. My girls start junior high next year and I think it’s past time I took matters into my own hands.

I have looked tirelessly online for workbooks that I can use with the kids at home that teach traditional (slanted and with loops) cursive. The best I could find was a 1956 Handwriting Grade Four workbook found on ebay. I’ll just have to make up my own program from parts of that. The kids all seem open to the idea, and that’s the biggest hurdle.

In the meantime, I made up some more flashcards for my kids and wanted to share the image with you. Click on the blackboard for a JPG image that will fit and 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper, or reduce like I did and create smaller ones on cardstock that fit better (and are less conspicuous) in the kids’ binders. Laminate if you can.

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24 Responses to Old School Cursive

  1. #1 - Ambrosia Girl Jenn says:

    Looping together words to make them “cursive”? That is just wrong.

    But I really love your flashcard idea.

  2. #2 - Anji Gallanos says:

    Arghhhhh cursive handwriting…there was just a post on Yahoo this morning asking if cursive was going out the door with the computer coming in. When I was an elementary special ed teacher I hated this 3rd grade subject. I went a few rounds with teachers when I had students throwing notebooks on the floor. I think train of thought and creative writing is something that should have been focused on much more…the other side of the argument was…that cursive teaches, fine motor control…relaxation..great flash cards…wish I would have had them for my students 🙂

  3. #3 - Kelly says:

    there are a lot of free printable cursive handwriting worksheets online. Here are some that have the traditional z and such:


    Just do a google search for “cursive handwriting worksheets” and a bunch come up!

  4. #4 - Cathe Holden says:

    Thank you Kelly!!
    Would you believe I searched everything but the word “worksheets”. That is the magic word. I found some good ones!

  5. #5 - Anonymous says:

    And then..you get to high school and they don’t “write” anymore…they type it all on the computer…no need for cursive there LOL!

    Hope you are feeling better!

  6. #6 - momof3girls says:

    What a wonderful idea! I think the flashcard solution was a great out of the box quick fix.

  7. #7 - Katie says:

    Gee I didn’t realize I was an old timer, the letters on your flashcards are the why I learned handwriting.

  8. #8 - Nancy says:

    As a calligrapher – I would want to steer you in a little different direction, but a direct that would probably still might work for your kids. There is a paperback (8 1/2 x 11) series of books by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty on Italic handwriting. The series goes from first to sixth grade. It has been approved by many school districts, but not picked up because everyone does the ball and stick thing. There is also a book just for adults to learn and improve their handwriting. It has fun history stuff in it too. I am at work and have the books at home. Hopefully, I will remember and send you more detailed info later. I am teaching a class for my calligraphy guild tomorrow and feeling a little stressed…but in a good way.

  9. #9 - Nancy says:

    Just checked the internet by typing in Inga Dubay. Amazon has some photos of the inside of the handwriting book. See if it is interesting to you.

  10. #10 - Cathe Holden says:

    Thanks Nancy.
    I’m not so much working on penmanship or looking to teach the kids italic writing, just good old fashioned cursive.

    I spent many years doing professional hand-lettering (not calligraphy per se)for advertising purposes. I am a nut about script, spencerian work, and many other types of handlettering. But for my kids, I just need them to be able to read a birthday card from their grandmother, a letter written in cursive or the cursive writing on the chalkboard in class. If they can write that way, bonus!

  11. #11 - Trudi says:

    Hi new to u but had to write. The form of cursive u are looking for is called or puplished by ZannerBlosser. Hope this helps. Not sure I spelled it correctly but google it and you’ll find it. Good luck.
    Some states are not teaching cursive anymore…

  12. #12 - Kelly says:

    ok I feel stupid. I see earlier that I put in the wrong web link and I didn’t even notice when I posted my comment. Oh well! I’m glad that you were able to find some good worksheets anyway! (Feel free to edit out the link in my last post! that was a mistake hahaha )

  13. #13 - Kimm at Reinvented says:

    I’m with ya girl, my kids are learning “real” cursive now, but at a former school it was the other stuff. Good luck retraining them!

  14. #14 - Andrea says:

    Try checking into the ABEKA curriculum – I’m sure you’ll be able to find the old-fashioned cursive writing; also Bob Jones University has a wonderful curriculum. Hope that helps 🙂

  15. #15 - Stacey says:

    I used to teach elementary school and in the short time I was there I saw less and less cursive, until finally many of my fifth graders could not read instructions written in cursive.

  16. #16 - The American Homemaker says:

    I’ve heard some states are going away from teaching cursive. I don’t mind… LOL I haven’t used cursive since elementary school 🙂

  17. #17 - Adirondack Metal Designs says:

    I work in a school with 4th and 5th graders..they are learning cursive….but very briefly..it is more important that they have a computer portfolio apparently. My son is 14 and he can sign his name in cursive. That's it! He can not read cursive either. His 5th grade teacher said it will be obsolete so they didn't practice…and he has NEVER been asked to turn in a project from 6-9th grade that wasn't on the computer or acceptable printed. It is sad!

  18. #18 - dragonflydreamer says:

    Have you ever come across anything on the "Palmer Method"? My 10th grade English teacher always complimented me on my handwriting and mentioned that she was saddened that it was not taught to the younger students as she had learned it as a young girl. She had the most beautiful handwriting I've ever seen. She said everyone of her generation had beautiful handwriting due to everyone learning the "Palmer Method" and I was wondering if you knew anything about it? I just love your blog and all of your beautiful design work and beautiful artistic creations.

  19. #19 - Anna says:

    I hated cursive writing when I was in school. Granted it was in Russia and they weren't exactly gentle with their methods, but now I can only write in cursive (block printing takes way too long for me and feels awkward). Despite all the spilled ink and many many re-dos though, my cursive still looks like chicken scratch…but it's chicken scratch that's slanted and flowy 😀

  20. Thanks for noticing the lack of cursive skills in todays schools. I have a website that has some worksheets on it. I’ll add in a set of proper cursive worksheets so you won’t have to go hunting for them again!

  21. #21 - Jenise says:

    I was just looking at handwriting curriculum, and I am so frustrated at the lack of teaching traditional cursive. I am okay with most of a particular style or reducing some loops, but I think our kids need to learn the proper traditional Q, for example, and Ps and Rs need to have a swoop to make it cursive. Zaner Blosser has mostly traditional cursive, but the Q is modern. A Beka has traditional cursive, but their curriculum starts in kindergarten. Bob jones is more modern.

    I learned A Beka in 2nd grade, and then I went to public in 3rd where they were not even on cursive yet. They were learning D’Nealian as a transition. Screwed up my handwriting for life. I was never great at handwriting, and it’s my son’s weakest subject, but it is not obsolete. Most people still can write faster than they type, and we need to be able to read and write notes and other things. It is still necessary. Thank you for giving another example of why it’s needed…to read teacher’s notes!

    If you find anything, let me know. There is a smartwrite program that allows you to create your own worksheets, but the traditional has a modern Q still. My son is going into first grade, and I want to have good resources for him before he starts second. I want him to start on the right path.

  22. #22 - Katie says:

    I have been looking for the drill/exercise sheets for my kids. My mom tells me that when she was young they would have a page of slanted continuous circles, lower case l’s and something that looks like shorthand. They would trace them over and over then write them, this would help make the kids writing more readable. I am not liking this new lack of penmanship in schools today.

  23. #23 - Dr. Thomas Mottershaw says:

    I just built an old schoolhouse and would like to purchase a set of cursive letters to place above my blackboard. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  24. #24 - Greg Blas says:

    I was looking for an old cursive chart that had the second lower case “r”, but have not found one yet. I started elementary school in 1954 at 4 years old, in CA and DC, high school and college in MD. Just curious if you ever saw what I’m looking for. Thanks