The Seven Ss of Cursive

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When learning cursive writing students should focus on seven Ss. Each S adds to the legibility of the writing.

Seat – It matters how you sit when you are writing in cursive (or printing or sitting at a computer to do keyboarding). Your body should be straight and supported in your seat. Your hands and arms need to be able to move freely and without tiring. I always have said, “Straight and tall with your feet on the floor.” Really I think all of this is just a matter of focus on your best work.

Squeeze/Grip – The hold on the writing implement is important. The best grip uses the first three fingers of your writing hand. The middle finger moves the pencil, while the thumb and forefinger hold it securely in position. Many children come to cursive with an already established poor grip. It is difficult to reteach pencil grip, but sometimes using a triangular plastic pencil grip helps. Writers need to be careful not to squeeze the pen or pencil too tightly. This actually works against good cursive. The line will be too dark and deep. It becomes almost impossible to erase errors. Most importantly, the writer’s hand will tire too quickly.

Strokes – Most cursive letters are made using one or more of the 4 strokes and the loop. The undercurve begins on the bottom line and slants to the right and upward. The downcurve begins at the top of the letter and goes left and downwards. The overcurve begins on the bottom line without a slant and then goes over at the top. The slant usually goes downward from an undercurve or an overcurve and towards the left. Many cursive letter also contain a loop.

Size – Cursive letters have a relative size. Lowercase a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, and w are one space or the size of the base unit of a letter. Lowercase b, d, h, k, l, and t take up two spaces. These letters begin where the one space letters begin on the base line, but continue up an extra space. Lowercase g, j,p, q, y, and z are also two space letters. However, these letters are only as tall as one space letters but then descend below the line one space. Lowercase f is the only 3 space letter. It is important to keep letters their relative size no matter the size of our writing.

Shape – The shape of cursive letters is found in various styles. Each style, however, has consistent formation of each letter. To add in legibility, a letter should not change style or shape within a given document. Students can be encourage to form letters to fit their own style, but with the understanding that the primary point of writing is so that it can be easily read by others.

Space – Each letter takes up a specific amount of space due to its size. Letters cannot be crowded at the ends of lines. Words also need a specific space between them. When given a smaller amount of space is it smart to determine to use a smaller size of writing, keeping the relative size of each letter consistent. It is also important that a writer has space to do neat work. A cluttered desk top is not a good area for producing fine cursive.

Slant – Cursive letters should have a consistent slant to the right. This is achieved by slanting the paper. A right-handed writer should point the top right corner of the paper to the top of the desk. (Left-handed writers point the top left corner to the top of the desk.) Letters are then written towards the top of the desk instead of towards the top of the paper to get the correct slant.

Cursive writing should not be a lost art. Students still look forward to this tradition as their turn to “write like a grown up.” Using the seven Ss of cursive writing, students can learn this valuable skill.

My product, Learning Cursive, now has over 110 pages and 51 videos. All of the lowercase videos are completed. These videos spend 3-5 minutes teaching the correct size and shape of each letter. For almost all letters, additional video of 2 -3 minutes teaches making connections with that letter to other letters. I am beginning the capital letter videos this week. There will be at least 32 more videos.

You can find it here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store



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