Tips on Teaching Your Children Cursive Writing + New! - Seyes Ruled Paper for Kids

We just got in these two new products from Clairefontaine that we special ordered weeks ago, specifically for handwriting and great for kids, and along with so much great interest from the recent Globe & Mail article on cursive handwriting, I thought I would share some tips on teaching your child handwriting. Children's Handwriting Class Toronto Wonder Pens Blog Seyes, or French-ruled paper has been pretty popular ever since we started carrying it  - with people looking to improve their handwriting, people looking to learn, calligraphers. If you're not sure on how to get started with Seyes-ruled paper, I wrote a blog post on using it here. The tricky thing about the Seyes ruled paper is not only are there so many lines, they are also pretty close together. If you read my post on improving your handwriting (as an adult), you'll know I think it's easier to learn and master handwriting by practising larger first, especially if you're not quite at the stage where fiddling with smaller o's is working for you. We just received in a larger sized Seyes ruled paper in two formats: loose leaf and in an A4 notebook. This is the same Seyes ruling proportionally, except about 25% bigger. This is also, of course, perfect for kids. If they're ready to move on to more precise cursive, or a bit more of a challenge, help them learn how to write "French-styled" cursive. How to teach your kid cursive handwriting tips on teaching your children cursive wonder pens blog Toronto Canada If you're looking for reasons to teach your child handwriting, you can check them out here, but I suspect you're already convinced, or you would be here. Here are a few tips on helping your kid learn cursive handwriting:
  1. Go to your local bookstore, or a place that sells materials to teachers, like Scholar's Choice, and pick up a workbook on cursive writing. I don't know that I would necessarily recommend one over another, as cursive handwriting isn't too complicated - just look for one that gives lots of room for practise. You can get a special notebook for your kids to practise writing stories or copy out sentences on separately.
  2. Get your child a special pen, maybe one that they pick out on their own. Even if you're a traditionalist for blue inks in thank you notes, maybe your kids can still practise in green or purple or pink. If they can only write with this pen to practise their cursive handwriting, it may be an incentive to practise.
  3. Have everything set up in one place, or in a box, so when you're all finally sitting down to practise, you don't have to go hunting for that pencil sharpener or more worksheets.
  4. Consistency is key - better 15 minutes a day, or every other day, than 2 hours a week. This also has the advantage of not making it turning it into a crazy two hour writing session where you all come out like zombies.
  5. Watch them form the letters, rather than just looking at the final product. The letters may look good, but it can be hard to tell sometimes if they're forming their letters in one stroke (properly), as opposed to breaking them up, and joining them up separately.How to teach your kid cursive handwriting
  6. An occasional treat, like practising cursive handwriting at a cafe with a hot chocolate, may be something to keep the learning fun.
  7. I give out stickers, both for completing a section, but also smaller stickers to acknowledge a group of letters or words that are particularly well done. Kids need some incentive for doing the work, but also for doing it well, which has the added bonus of incentivizing them to learn what is good.
  8. As much as learning should be fun, there are some things, like multiplication tables and also cursive writing, that just need to be practised. While you shouldn't become a drill tyrant, sometimes your child just needs to put in the hours to develop that muscle memory.
  9. Lead by example with your own handwriting, or at the very least, show them what they're aiming for and why it's important. Remember, you're teaching them a skill that can be helpful for the rest of their life, and they should know that too.
A few frequently asked questions: Should I ask my child's teacher about cursive writing? You should ask your child's teacher about anything that's important to you. That being said, cursive writing is only on the Grade 3 curriculum, and only as an "optional" way for your child to express him or herself in writing, so your teacher may not be intending to teach it. Your child's teacher may already have curriculum or long range learning plans in place, and I'm not kidding when I say there is really is more in the curriculum than there is time for kids to learn it all (well). My child doesn't hold his pencil properly, should I fix this? We've come a long way from forcing left-handers to write with their right hands, but this is a bit different. I'm of the opinion that if you can, you should definitely encourage your child to hold their pencil correctly. I know this may be an ironic comparison, but if you type relatively fast with your two index fingers, but then decide to learn to type properly, with all of your fingers, your typing speed will slow down dramatically. Once you master it, though, you will always be able to type faster with all of your fingers than just your index. However, each child and situation can be different, so approach everything with flexibility. The proper way is to the "tri-finger" grip, rather than wrapping the thumb all the way around the index finger, or using four fingers to hold the pencil in the "grip of death." How to teach your kid cursive handwriting Tips on teaching your children handwriting Wonder Pens Toronto Canada I've heard that you can try cutting down a pencil really short, so the hand holding it doesn't have a choice except to hold it correctly. You can also try triangularly shaped pencils, or even something like the Lamy Safari fountain pen. My child is left-handed, should his writing slant to the left instead of right? Caleb (our baby) is only 13 months, but I think he may be left-handed! This is just a guess based on how he reaches for things and feeds himself, but he also does use his right hand if something is coming at him from the right. Is he doomed??? I don't think left handers necessarily have to have writing that slopes to the left. You can show your child how to angle his paper and his body so it's easiest to slant to the right, but I've seen lots of lefties with right slanting handwriting. These are just a few tips and thoughts on teaching your child handwriting - at the end of the day, it just comes down to consistent practice so it becomes muscle memory. The more they practise, the better developed and more agile their fine motor skills will become. You can bet that we'll be teaching Caleb how to write in cursive, just like we'll be teaching him how to type properly, so he can do so quickly and without having to look at the keyboard, and how to clean out his fountain pens, and how to sweep the floors in the shop....
October 14, 2015 — wonderpens

Tips on Improving Your Handwriting or Learning Cursive Writing

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. How to Improve your Handwriting Tips & Tricks Learn Cursive Writing Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada 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.
  1. Find a pen you like. You could even have a dedicated pen for this purpose, so it becomes a treat to practise your handwriting.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. How to Improve your Handwriting Learn Cursive Wonder Pens Blog Toronto Canada
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 ;) How to Improve Tips to Practice your Handwriting Learn Cursive Writing wonder pens blog Toronto Canada
  7. 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 :)
September 20, 2015 — wonderpens