How to teach cursive writing speed

How to teach cursive writing speed

When students are learning cursive handwriting, it is common for the training to be slow. Below are ways to help students write faster in cursive and tips to help improve functional cursive.

This is part of our 31-day series on how to teach cursive writing.

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Writing in cursive is complex. Students should focus on letter formation, pencil control, and drawing lines when writing in cursive. To all this must be added the line awarenessspatial awareness and size awareness necessary for written work. There is a lot to remember. 

Cursive writing speed comes with practice. For the student who has learned all the cursive letters, speed cursive is the next step in functional writing.

Over time, students should focus on the speed of cursive writing. The overall goal is for writing to be legible and for students to eventually develop the speed and accuracy necessary for legible and functional writing. 

This is especially important when students are required to write faster or copy notes and in the upper grades cursive writing is needed at a faster rate. How To Write Cursive Letters?


Use the following strategies to work on speed in cursive writing. These strategies should only be used by students who have mastered the formation of letters and tracing in a legible and functional way.

  • Ask students to work on timed cursive writing. Start with italics exercises (Use the ideas for italics exercises below.) Timed italics can also be done with a phrase or a list of words, such as spelling words.
  • Cursive Writing Exercises – Use a timer and have students complete a cursive writing worksheet or a single page of cursive writing exercises such as connected waves and T’s, loops or bumps, students can be timed for completing them accurately.
  • Timed Letter Count – Start a timer and have students write words in italics. Written work may consist of strings of letters, words, or phrases that students copy from a model placed on their desk. Students can write as much as they can in the allotted time. When the timer goes off, students can stop and count the number of words or individual letters they have been able to write. Repeat this exercise every day, noting the number of words.
  • Over time, we will work with short words, such as sight words or common usage words. They can copy a branch of these words with timed tests.


If at any point during the time to work on letter formation suffers, rework on correct letter formation with consistent verbal cues.

Speed ​​drills are necessary to help students develop more functions in their pursuit of writing. As children age, they are required to write faster and longer to take notes. Acceleration exercises can help writers find the flow of their personal style.

When students begin to speed up in a writing, many times formation changes are seen in the letters. Over time, these modifications become automatic as the motor plan becomes consistent through practice. 

When students have to form those letter combinations over and over again, forming unique letters between them becomes automatic and convenient. 

It is important to ensure the quality of the writing so that the student can review their notes and read what they have written. Children often scribble homework or notes and then cannot read them. This is not a functional write and the speed should drop. Students who write too slowly in cursive will benefit from more practice and backtracking. Over time, the speed will increase as the motor plan of the letters becomes more automatic.


One test that can be used to assess typing speed is the DASH. The  Detailed Assessment of Handwriting Speed ​​(DASH) and the Detailed Assessment of Handwriting Speed ​​17+ (DASH 17+) are standardized tests. The DASH is a reliable tool to assess writing speed with respect to expected norms for the child’s age.

The speed of cursive writing is important to its rhythm and function of it. You need to work on other areas of cursive, try these ideas:

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