If you’re like many people, you might have questioned if kids will need to be able to print or write in cursive once they become adults. In an age where children are playing with cell phones before picking up pencils, it’s reasonable to wonder if handwriting for kids is still important.
In fact, educational systems have deemed hand writing so unimportant, that cursive is no longer required to be taught in more than half of the states. The United States isn’t alone either, in many schools around the world, cursive is no longer being taught. While this number varies from year to year, the fact that the value of handwriting has ever been questioned is concerning.
With this in mind, we’re going to share why it’s important to teach handwriting to your children. There are probably far more reasons to learn how to write in cursive and in print than most people are aware of. We’ll also guide you toward neat handwriting curriculum, books, activities, information, and video tutorials.
Table of Contents: Handwriting for Kids, Teens, and Adults
In this article about handwriting you’ll discover…
- Homeschool Curriculum Reviews & Suggestions
- Fun Handwriting Activities for Kids and Teens
- Videos & Information About the Importance of Handwriting
- Resources & Videos About the History of Handwriting
- Explanations of Different Styles of Handwriting
- Handwriting Resources for Adults
- More Information Including Podcast Episodes
See the Index for this article here…
The Importance of Handwriting
At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we believe that teaching children how to write in cursive and print is important for a variety of reasons.
3 Reasons Handwriting is Important
- Develops fine motor skills.
- Improves memory.
- Develops the ability to read documents that are printed or written in cursive.
The next few videos will help you understand the importance of handwriting and many more reasons why handwriting is important.
Why Write? Penmanship for the 21st Century with Master Penman, Jake Weidmann
This TEDx talk with Jake Weidmann, Master Penman, is an informational & fascinating video about why handwriting matters.
Jake Weidmann shares that writing in cursive allows for greater self expression.
In this YouTube video, you’ll see some of the most impressive examples of how handwriting can be used to express oneself.
Jake Weidmann, Master Penman
Jake Weidmann is one of 12 Master Penman in the world. In this video, he shares the importance of handwriting.
3 Forms of Literacy
According to Jake, handwriting leads to 3 forms of literacy.
- Historic Literacy.
- Intellectual Literacy.
- Creative Literacy.
Handwriting Helps Children Learn How to Read
Jake explains that handwriting was found to be incredibly helpful in small children who were learning to read. By forming individual letters, children gain a deeper understanding of the anatomy of each one. When a child can write an individual letter, he or she then has the ability to read the letter.
Progress from Printing to Cursive Handwriting Skills
It is important to progress from printing to cursive handwriting skills. Scientists have found that different parts of the brain are engaged when typing, printing, and writing in cursive. Writing in cursive coincides with higher levels of reasoning.
Recommended Handwriting & Reading Curriculum & Resources
Video: Importance of Cursive Writing with Freedom Project Academy
Why Learning to Write in Cursive is Important
Learning to print and learning to write in cursive are both important. However, there are tremendous benefits associated with writing in cursive.
Some of the benefits of learning to write in cursive include improved reading, thinking, memory, and creative expression.
Also, when one can write a language, he or she then has the ability to read and comprehend historical documents without a mediator.
List of Benefits of Writing in Cursive
- Learning to write in cursive enables a person to read words written in cursive.
- Cursive writing takes less time than manuscript printing.
- Writing in cursive has a huge impact in the development of a young brain.
- Learning to write in cursive helps in areas of thinking cognition (understanding).
- Writing in cursive helps with memory.
- Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
- Writing in cursive allows for greater self expression.
- There is a profound effect on the development and activity of the brain when one learns to write in cursive.
- The ability to read cursive allows your child to read historical documents without a translation or mediator.
- A person needs to be able to sign their name to important documents – hence, the word signature.
The HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast
Each week HomeSchool ThinkTank shares two podcast episodes with you.
While one episode is all about homeschooling, parenting, and education, the other episode is all about your mindset.
You can learn more about the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast here.
Follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or nearly anywhere that podcasts are played.
Two Podcast Episodes About Handwriting
Podcast Episode: Why Is Handwriting Important for Kids?
This podcast episode is about the importance of handwriting for kids. We also discuss various styles of handwriting and the history of handwriting.
Typing vs Handwriting: Which is Better for Your Memory?
Hand Written vs Typed Notes: Handwriting and Your Memory
The video above explains that when students copy a lecture verbatim, they actually perform worse on tests than when they write their notes.
When notes are written, the student has to think and summarize the material to keep up with a lecture.
On the other hand, when typing, a student simply has to regurgitate the material into their keyboard.
In essence, handwritten study notes leads to better comprehension than notes typed on a laptop.
Electronic Writing Tablets for Kids, Teens, and Adults too!
Writing tablets are excellent for older kids and teens. Some of them even sync to your computer or phone. Discover more writing tablets for kids here.
Books About Handwriting
If you’ve been questioning whether handwriting is important, hopefully we’ve shared enough information to help you understand that writing is still an essential skill.
When a person can write they can read, communicate, think, and express themselves better.
If you still want more information about handwriting, then you might want to read the following books.
- The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting by Anne Trubek
- Reading Early American Handwriting by Kip Sperry
- Your Handwriting Can Change Your Life by Vilmala Rodgers
Video: The Pursuit of Perfect Penmanship with Megan Regan
A Brief History of Handwriting – Including Styles of Handwriting
In the TEDx talk above, economist Megan Regan, shares how handwriting ties us to history.
Ms. Regan explains how handwriting is a common thread that also connects a society.
Below, you’ll find a brief overview of the history of handwriting.
Spencerian Script: Handwriting Before the Great Depression
If a person was born in America before the Great Depression of 1929, then he or she likely learned to write using the Spencer Method.
The Spencerian Script is a detailed and difficult ornate form of script developed by Platt Rogers Spencer.
The Spencerian Script was most popular between 1850 and 1925. During this time frame, perfecting the Spencerian script was an important skill to develop in order to be considered a model citizen.
Spencerian Workbooks Review
Palmer Method: Handwriting During the Second Industrial Revolution
During the Second Industrial Revolution, penmanship styles changed. We went from the Spencer method to the Palmer Method.
The Palmer Method, which was developed around 1888, is a more efficient method of writing.
The Palmer Method was meant to keep pace with the newly invented typewriter.
Handwriting: Muscular Movement of the Palmer Method
Zaner-Bloser Method: Industrial Revolution and Currently Used In Schools and Homeschooling
In 1895, the Zanerian College of Penmanship (founded 1888) became known as the Zaner-Bloser Company.
After Charles Paxton Zaner sold shares to Elmer Ward Bloser, they merged their names to form the company Zaner-Bloser. Around this time, Zaner-Bloser began distributing handwriting instructional materials.
This style of handwriting is called the Zaner-Bloser Method. It is a utilitarian method that is still commonly used in schools today.
Master Penman, Michael Sull, Shares the History of Zaner-Bloser Handwriting
Master Penman, Michael Sull, narrates a short history of the early Zanerian College and the founder, Charles Paxton Zaner.
Throughout the video below, Michael Sull demonstrates the beauty of his handwriting.
Michael Sull, a Master Penman, is widely regarded as the individual credited with “bringing back” 19th century American penmanship from obscurity.
Through his teaching, demonstrations, and publications, he has ushered in the renaissance of interest and popularity this field now enjoys.
Mr. Sull is thought to be the last working penman and only certified Master Penman with direct ties to the golden age of the Zanerian College.
His teacher, Master Penman Paul H. O’Hare, graduated from the Zanerian College in 1909.
Paul H. O’Hare was taught by Charles Paxton Zaner and Elmer Ward Bloser.Zaner-Bloser Company.
This quote was slightly edited for ease of reading.
Zanerian College of Penmanship becomes the Zaner-Bloser Company
The D’Nealian Method of Handwriting: Primarily in the 1970’s and 1980’s but Still Used Today
The D’Nealian Method was developed by a school teacher, Donald Neal Thurber.
Mr. Thurber found the transition between printing and cursive to be cumbersome to students.
In essence, Donald Neal Thurber added tails to the beginning and ends of print letters and taught students to slant their letters.
The purpose of the D’Nealian Method was to make the transition from printing to cursive easier for students.
While the D’Nealian Method was also popular in the 1970’s and 80’s, it is still used in some schools today.
Hand Writing, Hand-Writing, or Handwriting: Is the Spelling Hyphenated
Is Hand Written one word, two words, or is it hyphenated?
Is it spelled Hand Written, Hand-Written, or Handwritten?
How do you spell Hand Write? Hand-Write or Handwrite?
Hand-writing used to be a compound word.
Over time though, handwriting has become one word.
As a result the two words are now combined without a dash between them.
So whether you want to write handwrite, handwritten, or handwriting, it’s just one word.
The Definition of Handwriting
The meaning of handwriting as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
- Writing done by hand especially: the form of writing peculiar to a particular person.
- Something written by hand.
The Definition of Cursive
The meaning of cursive as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
- Of writing : flowing often with the strokes of successive characters joined and the angles rounded
- Having a flowing, easy, impromptu character
- A manuscript written in cursive writing. also: cursive writing
- A style of printed letter resembling handwriting
The Definition of Print
The meaning of print as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
For our purposes, we have only included one of many meanings the word print has.
- To write in letters shaped like those of ordinary roman text type.
The Definition of Penmanship
The meaning of penmanship as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
- The art or practice of writing with the pen.
- Quality or style of handwriting.
How Much Time to Teach Writing in Print and Cursive?
Handwriting used to be taught in schools for 45 minutes a day. Today, cursive might not be taught at all.
Whether handwriting is mandatory or taught in schools, as parents we have the right and duty to teach our children how to write in cursive and print.
Depending on the age of the child and their interest level, we suggest dedicated handwriting practice most days of the week for 10-30 minutes.
Clearly, the more a person practices their handwriting, the better their penmanship will be.
Fun Handwriting Activities for Kids: How Do I Teach My Child to Write?
If you believe that handwriting is important, then you’ll probably want to teach your children how to print and write in cursive.
You might be wondering how to teach a child to write. Let’s go on a journey from scribbling to print to writing in cursive.
We’ll begin by sharing some curriculum that’s great for homeschooled students.
In addition, this handwriting curriculum is also great if you’re a parent who wants to supplement your child’s public or private school curriculum.
After the curriculum, you’ll discover some fun writing toys, tools, and activities.
By the way, if you’re looking for handwriting books for adults, we’re going to share that too.
Handwriting Curriculum Consistency: A Professor’s View on Print vs Cursive Writing
Watch this interview with Harding University (Searcy, Arkansas) Associate Dean and Professor of Education, Dr. Clara Carroll.
Dr. Carroll, says that there is room for children to learn print, cursive, and keyboarding. They are all important skills.
Dr. Carroll also suggests that students stay consistent with one type of handwriting curriculum.
One of the key takeaways from this interview is to be consistent with the handwriting curriculum that you use.
It can be confusing for students to change curriculum because the way a student learns to write varies from curriculum to curriculum.
Learning how to print and write in cursive is more important than the methodology that is used.
Children’s Handwriting Curriculum: Perfect to Supplement Your Child’s School Curriculum or for Homeschooled Students
While there is a multitude of handwriting curriculum for homeschooled kids, we recommend the Zaner-Bloser or Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. Information, reviews, and videos are below.
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Curriculum
The Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Curriculum is a simple and easy to use curriculum. We don’t believe that you’ll need the teacher’s manuals.
The curriculum is easy to use and inexpensive.
The levels on the books generally correspond with the grade level of a child.
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Homeschool Curriculum Video Review
This review below shows a mix of older and new books. This curriculum is widely used and quite effective.
Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum (previously called Learning Without Tears)
The Handwriting Without Tears (Learning Without Tears) curriculum has workbooks and manipulatives available. Some people think it’s a bit pricey, but it is a very well regarded curriculum.
If you have a child who is a kinesthetic learner, this definitely a curriculum you’ll want to consider using.
What is a Kinesthetic Learner?
Handwriting Without Tears is Perfect for Kinesthetic Learners
A kinesthetic learner is someone who learns best by doing, feeling, and moving.
In other words, kinesthetic learners need to move, touch, and use manipulatives (tools, toys, objects) to help them learn.
Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum Overview
The video below was developed by the creators of the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum.
If you are considering this curriculum, then it will be worth your time to watch the video.
Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum Review
Kindergarten & Preschool Overview
Handwriting for Adults
Let’s talk about handwriting for adults.
If you didn’t learn cursive in school, you aren’t alone.
Many of today’s parents weren’t taught how to write in cursive. However, it’s never too late to learn how to write in cursive or print.
One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you can always learn right along with your children.
You can improve your own handwriting and help your children develop their handwriting too
Handwriting Resources for Adults
Handwriting Improvement for Adults
If you’re an adult who wants to learn how to print or write in cursive, we recommend buying one of the first two recommended workbooks below. If you simply want to improve your handwriting as an adult, then we recommend the third book.
Remember, if you want to learn how to write in cursive or print, adults can also use the books we recommend for children or teens.
How to Improve Handwriting for Adults: Workbooks on Amazon
- Print Handwriting Workbook for Adults: Improve your printing handwriting & practice print penmanship workbook for adults
- Cursive handwriting workbook for Adults: Learn to write in Cursive, Improve your writing skills & practice penmanship for adults
- Print and Cursive Handwriting Workbook: 35 Lessons to Improve Your Penmanship
Fun Activities, Toys, and Handwriting Manipulatives for Toddlers, Kids, & Teens
While curriculum is useful and nearly necessary, there are many other ways to help your kids learn how to print or write in cursive.
Below, you’ll find fun activities, games, and videos that will help your kids improve their penmanship.
Toddlers and Preschoolers Will Start with Scribbling
Writing generally begins with scribbling. Clearly, you can let your children use pens, pencils, markers and crayons to get started.
Standard printer paper is a solid go to. However, we’re fans of large rolls of paper. You can spread a couple of sheets across the kitchen table, tape them down, and let your children scribble and draw until the paper is full.
In addition to traditional crayons and paper, we love some of the great toys that children can write on over and over again. Let’s take a look at a few.
Podcast Episode: Fun Handwriting Practice for Kids & Homeschooled Students
Handwriting Toys for Kids – No Worry Drawing
When your children are very young, you might be concerned about kids coloring on the walls and furniture. There are a few ways to address this concern.
Many parents love toys that allow their children to draw worry-free.
Here are a few of our favorite types of writing and drawing toys.
These suggestions aren’t necessarily brand specific, but we’ve included links to get you started.
Magnadoodle’s allow your child to scribble, draw, write and erase. These are excellent toys not only at home, but in the car and on the go! From toddlers to tweens, this toy is fun for all.
Aqua Doodle Mats
Aqua Doodle Mats are awesome.
Fill the pen with water and let your child draw.
The drawings disappear as the water dries.
The big benefit here is that if your child takes the Aqua Doodle Pen to furniture and walls, no damage is done!
Etch-a-Sketch: Learn the Basics
Clearly, your children aren’t working on handwriting with an Etch A Sketch, but they can work on drawing letters, numbers, and pictures with this classic toy.
Homemade Busy Books: Interactive Activities for Your Kids
Busy Books or Quiet Books on Amazon
We like this video because it shows you how to make a busy book for your kids.
If you have older children, they might like to help you make a busy book.
However, if you prefer to buy a busy book, you can get one on Amazon.
Dry Erase Boards
This is 9 x 12 inch dry erase board is perfect for drawing and learning to write letters on.
It has lines on one side and is blank on the other side.
You might also like some of these dry erase boards.
How to Clean Whiteboards and Dry Erase Boards
Here’s a quick video that will teach you how to clean and take care of your white board.
Tracing Flash Cards and More
When kids are learning to write their letters and numbers, dry erase options are fantastic.
We really like these dry erase flash cards.
You might also like some of these other dry erase options.
While adults might not love messy chalk boards, kids certainly do. There are a few ways you can include a chalkboard in your home.
Here are chalk boards for kids.
Here are general chalk boards.
You might prefer chalk board markers over traditional chalk.
While we’re talking about chalk, remember to let your kids play with sidewalk chalk.
Video: Huge DIY Magnetic Chalkboard Wall for Kids!
Chalk Board Paint
Do you want to paint a wall with chalk paint?
If chalkboard paint isn’t for you, then maybe you would prefer chalkboard contact paper.
Toys with Letters and Numbers
Playing with toys that have letters and numbers is an excellent way to help your children recognize numbers and letters.
Understanding what letters and numbers are is essential for a child to learn how to write.
Learn Shapes for Kids: How to Draw Shapes for Children
Here’s a fun video for kids about drawing shapes.
Workbooks, Toys, and Books About Shapes
Check out these items on Amazon.
Writing & Drawing for Fun
At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we believe that handwriting and drawing should feel fun.
One of the best ways your children can write for fun is to keep a journal.
Really, a child can begin keeping a journal before they can truly write.
In the beginning, your child can draw in the journal or notebook.
As your child begins to write, he or she will naturally begin adding letters to their drawings.
Over time, your child’s journal will have drawings, diary entries, and stories they’ve made up.
You can discover drawing notebooks and diaries in the links below.
Handwriting Video Tutorials
Below you’ll find several video tutorials that will help your child learn how to hold a pencil and write their letters and numbers.
How To Hold A Pencil: Get a Grip!
This video will help you teach your child how to hold their pencil.
Video for Kids: How to Hold a Pencil with Ally the Alligator
Handwriting for Kids: Upper Case Letter Formation Video
Handwriting for Children: Lowercase Letter Formations Using Handwriting Without Tears Verbal Cues
American Cursive Handwriting for Beginners Video
Keep Up With HomeSchool ThinkTank Happenings!
More Articles, Podcast Episodes, and Videos for You
- Handwriting Curriculum
- The Young Reader
- Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books
- Dyslexia 101
- More Resources on our Blog
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Index: Handwriting for Kids, Teens, and Adults
Why Handwriting is Important
- HSTT Parenting Podcast Episode About Handwriting
- Why Handwriting is Important: Video from Master Penman Jake Weidmann
- Why Learning to Write in Cursive is Important: Video from Freedom Project Academy
- Handwriting vs Typing
- Books About Handwriting
A Brief History of Handwriting and Handwriting Styles
- The Pursuit of Perfect Penmanship: Video with Megan Regan
- History of Handwriting: An Overview
- Spencerian Handwriting
- Palmer Method of Handwriting
- Zaner-Bloser Method of Handwriting
- Video with Master Penman, Michael Sull
- D’Nealian Method of Handwriting
How is Handwriting Spelled and the Definitions
- Hand Writing, Hand-Writing, or Handwriting: Is the Spelling Hyphenated
- The Definitions of Handwriting, Cursive, Print, and Penmanship
- Handwriting Curriculum Consistency: A Professor’s View on Print vs Cursive Writing
- Handwriting Curriculum for Kids and Teens Video Reviews
- Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Curriculum
- Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum
- Handwriting for Adults
Handwriting Resources: Books, Toys, Activities, and Videos About Handwriting
- Books About Handwriting
- Handwriting Activities and Toys
- Handwriting Video Tutorials: Holding a Pencil, How to Write Letters