How to Write in Cursive (Ultimate Guide + Video)

As someone who had the challenge of learning cursive early (and then again) later in life, I know the hurdles firsthand.

But through practice and patience, I’ve grown to love its flow and artistry. Let’s demystify cursive writing together so you can write confidently and effortlessly.

Summary of Writing in Cursive

Writing in cursive is about connecting letters smoothly to form words with a single, flowing motion. Unlike print writing, cursive eliminates the need to lift the pen after each letter. It requires learning distinct letter forms and practicing consistency and rhythm.

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An old paper with cursive writing, pen and ink jar -- How to Write in Cursive
I made this image with AI — How to Write in Cursive

This guide covers everything, from beginner steps to advanced techniques, so you can master cursive writing and make it an enjoyable practice.

How to Start Writing in Cursive

To start writing in cursive, you’ll need the right style, tools, basic strokes, and letter forms.

Choose a Style and Tools

To begin, pick a cursive style that’s simple and easy to read.

I recommend learning D’Nealian or Zaner-Bloser, which are two popular styles in North America. Grab a pen that feels comfortable, preferably with quick-drying ink to avoid smudging. Have lined paper handy to help with uniform letter height and alignment.

For some of my favorite pens for writers, check out the links at the end of this article.

Practice Basic Strokes

Start by practicing basic strokes – loops, upstrokes, and downstrokes.

These are the building blocks of cursive. Focus on getting smooth, even strokes and maintaining a consistent rhythm. Slow down if necessary; aim for neatness, not speed.

Practice Exercise

Before diving into cursive letters, it’s essential to get comfortable with foundational strokes.

This exercise will help you build confidence with the pen and prepare you for writing the alphabet:

  1. Vertical Lines – Draw parallel lines from top to bottom, making sure each line is straight and evenly spaced.
  2. Curved Lines – Draw lines that curve smoothly up and down, resembling waves. Keep the curves consistent in size.
  3. Loops – Practice loops by starting with a small upward stroke, then looping down and around in a clockwise direction.
  4. Ovals – Draw consistent ovals, maintaining uniform width and height. Keep a steady rhythm to achieve smooth curves.
  5. Connecting Strokes – Practice connecting horizontal lines from one loop or oval to the next, as these transitions are critical when writing words.

Repeat these strokes daily to develop a steady hand and smooth pen movement.

Learn Letter Forms

Work on individual letters after you’ve mastered the strokes.

Start with lowercase letters because they’re easier to connect. Make sure each letter begins and ends at the right spot to ease the transition to the next.

Once comfortable, practice uppercase letters, then try forming words by connecting letters.

How to Write Each Letter of the Alphabet in Cursive

Here’s a simple table chart describing how to write each letter in cursive:

LetterInstructions
AStart at the bottom line. Loop up and around counterclockwise to form a ‘C’ shape. Then, add a short upward stroke to connect to the next letter.
BBegin at the bottom line with an upward stroke. Loop back down, then curve around into two rounded bumps to finish.
CStart with an upward stroke that curves around into a backward ‘C’ shape, reaching the top line.
DStart from the bottom line with an upward stroke. Form a clockwise loop reaching back down, then curve outward to the right in a loop.
EBegin with a small loop at the bottom line. Curve up and around to the left, looping back at the top line.
FStart with an upward stroke curving into a backward loop. Then form two additional loops below the bottom line.
GStart with a clockwise loop at the bottom line. Then form a counterclockwise loop curving back and down.
HDraw a downward loop. Make another small upward loop from the left side before looping back down and across.
IStart with a downward stroke, then add a small upward loop. Cross it with a short horizontal line.
JDraw a descending stroke into a long loop curving left. Dot at the top.
KDraw a downward stroke into a small loop, then add a looping arm extending outwards to the right.
LBegin with an upward stroke curving around into a small loop. Finish with a downward stroke ending in a loop.
MBegin with an upward loop, then draw three rounded humps curving smoothly between them.
NStart with an upward loop. Then draw two humps, maintaining a uniform width.
OBegin with a counterclockwise circle, adding a small connecting stroke at the top.
PDraw an upward stroke into a loop. Curve down and to the right into a rounded half-circle.
QDraw a counterclockwise circle. Add a diagonal stroke down and left.
RStart with an upward stroke into a loop. Finish with a downward stroke curving to the right.
SDraw a loop at the bottom line curving back in a small wave. Finish by curling around into a larger wave.
TDraw a downward stroke curving around into a loop. Add a horizontal line across the top.
UBegin with an upward loop. Draw a curved stroke down and back up into another loop.
VStart with an upward loop. Draw a downward diagonal stroke before looping back up to the right.
WDraw an upward loop into a curved stroke down and back up. Add another downward curve looping up.
XDraw a loop down to the left, then add another diagonal stroke crossing at the bottom.
YBegin with an upward loop into a curved stroke. Draw down and across with a long loop to the left.
ZStart with an upward loop curving back into a zig-zag shape. Finish with a short diagonal stroke.
Alphabet Chart: How to Write Cursive

What Is the Easiest Cursive to Learn?

The easiest cursive to learn is based on simplicity. Two great options include Zaner-Bloser and italic handwriting.

Here is my opinions based on my own experience.

Focus on Simplicity

D’Nealian is often the easiest style to learn because it resembles print writing but with added slant and loops. It’s less ornate and more intuitive for beginners. The slant angle helps transition to cursive while retaining clarity.

Zaner-Bloser: Structured and Clean

Zaner-Bloser is another excellent choice. It emphasizes straight lines, loops, and simplicity.

The structure and clean lines make it ideal for students and anyone new to cursive writing.

Italic Handwriting

Italic handwriting strikes a balance between print and cursive.

It’s recognized for slanted letters and fewer connections between them. This style is easier for those used to writing in print while maintaining the flow characteristic of cursive.

Here is a good video about how to write in cursive:

YouTube Video by JetPens — How to Write in Cursive

How to Write Cursive on a Keyboard

If you want to learn how to write cursive on a keyboard, you’ll likely want to use cursive fonts, keyboard shortcuts, and personalization.

Use Cursive Fonts

If typing is your preference, select a cursive font on your word processor.

Examples include Brush Script, Pacifico, and Great Vibes. Using these fonts allows you to simulate cursive writing digitally.

Keyboard Shortcuts and Software

Keyboard shortcuts and handwriting software streamline cursive typing.

Some applications recognize cursive input through a digital stylus or touchscreen, converting it into a font.

Others convert standard keyboard typing into cursive fonts.

Personalization

Personalize your cursive fonts by adjusting the slant or spacing.

Experiment with different font styles to match your intended aesthetic. Just ensure the text remains legible and clear.

How to Get Used to Writing in Cursive

With time, consistency, practice, and self-assessment, you’ll get used to writing in cursive.

It may take longer for some and shorter for others, but you’ll get there!

Consistent Practice

Practice daily by writing common words, sentences, or phrases in cursive.

Repetition builds muscle memory, making writing feel more natural over time. Set small daily goals to improve letter shapes, spacing, and flow.

Write in Real-World Situations

Incorporate cursive writing into daily tasks – journaling, writing notes, or addressing letters.

Writing in practical scenarios helps you adapt to writing cursive fluidly without overthinking it.

Evaluate and Improve

Periodically compare your current writing to earlier samples.

Assess where improvements can be made and refine individual letters or connections. Watching videos of skilled cursive writers or following writing guides can also inspire improvement.

Is Cursive Writing Faster?

Yes, cursive writing can be faster than printing.

The connected strokes in cursive mean that the pen remains on the paper, reducing the time it takes to lift the pen and start the next letter.

This seamless motion allows for quicker writing speeds once a person becomes familiar with the flow of cursive letters.

However, speed ultimately depends on the individual’s practice and comfort with the style.

Is Cursive Better for the Brain?

Research suggests that cursive writing has cognitive benefits.

It engages multiple regions of the brain involved in thinking, memory, and motor skills. Learning cursive can improve fine motor coordination, visual recognition, and reading comprehension.

Additionally, studies show that writing by hand stimulates the brain differently than typing and helps reinforce information retention.

What Is the Best Age to Learn Cursive Writing?

The ideal age to start learning cursive writing is around 7-8 years old.

At this age, children typically have developed fine motor skills needed to control the writing instrument.

They are also more likely to have already learned the basics of print writing, making the transition to cursive smoother.

However, it’s never too late to learn cursive—adults can also develop proficiency with patience and consistent practice.

Is Cursive Still Taught in Schools?

The teaching of cursive writing varies widely.

Some schools include it as a core skill in their curriculum, while others have phased it out in favor of keyboarding or print writing.

Its declining presence in many educational systems often results from the emphasis on digital literacy. However, some regions and private institutions recognize its value and continue to offer cursive instruction in early education.

Final Thoughts: How to Write in Cursive

The most important thing to remember is to give yourself time and grace to scale up your cursive skills.

Unless you are a penmanship prodigy, you won’t learn perfect cursive overnight.

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