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Joined Up Writing

The Quick and Easy Replacement for Cursive Writing

PLEASE NOTE: I'm offering this quick handwriting help free of charge

because this handwriting style also benefits spelling, reading and writing skills. 

If you're interested in building those skills as well, follow the link at the bottom of this page!

Janet Denison

You can listen as you read ...

Join up writing is just what it sounds like ... 

You join printed letters within words
to increase your writing speed
and make words easy to read.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Learn the simplest style of joined up writing right now!

Hybrid-style handwriting improves readability and writing speed!

This makes it the most practical style of cursive handwriting

Print-style letters are joined up simply so you can write more easily, and your pen leaves the paper less often so you can write more quickly. 

By joining letters this way you avoid 3 problems with traditional cursive:

There is no need to change letter forms just so you can join them
You don't have write on a slant and struggle to keep that slant uniform
Joins are simple and easy to make as there are only 3 different kinds

Joins are just links between lettersYou use a familiar form of print writing you've used for years and only join letters that link naturally and easily.

Forget what you learned in school!
It's time to get practical! Joined up handwriting, that is neither cursive nor manuscript, is actually a hybrid form that's a cross between print writing and typical cursive handwriting. 

This hybrid form is the most useful and efficient form of handwriting. What's more, you can completely personalize it, and make it your own.

Remember why you're joining letters ...

You're linking letters within words so you can write more quickly while still writing easily, neatly, clearly and consistently. So don't go crazy. You'll want to stick with familiar print letter forms and make as few changes to your letters and words as possible.

You're are 3 steps away from improving your writing, but first ...

The following suggestions will ensure better results:

Don't put joins where they're not needed (don't use them before the first, or after the last, letter in words)
Don't change letter shapes unless you absolutely have to (so only e, f, r, s and z, if necessary, to make them easier to join)
Save your loops for letters that already have curves in their printed form. For example:
The letter f with a top curve should probably have a loop on top (but neither l, t, b or d should get one)
Letters that have bottom curves like j, g, q and y should get loops, and g needs a front loop to distinguish it from q which needs a back loop (but p shouldn't get a loop, and probably not even f or z)
Adding a loop to the letter k makes it more likely to be confused with the letters 'le'
Consider the whole word you're going to write, not just the individual letters. For example, the word 'the' is the most common word of all. It may be quicker to write if you pause to cross your t, before joining to h.

Now you have a general idea of what's involved, let's begin applying what you've learned ...


Janet Denison

You can listen as you read ...

STEP #1 - Choose the letter styles you prefer

Think about the advice from above, as you compare ...

Cursive Writing Comparison

How many differences can you find?   
Which letter forms do you prefer?

Here is a helpful way to decide which letters forms you prefer ...

Write out the letters of the alphabet, linking the letters as you write. You might even want to do this a couple of times ...  Did you get some clarity?

Now write out the sentence above as you try out the letter forms you've chosen. Make your final decision on which letter forms you prefer based on two things. Choose the style you enjoy writing and enjoy looking at!

Janet Denison

You can listen as you read ...

STEP #2 - Learn the 3 simple joins and how and when to use them

Join as many letters as possible, but don't worry about joining every letter

Joins begin where the previous letter ends, and end where the next letter begins. You can sometimes get a more readable word by breaking it in a place where it's hard to create a good join.

For example, the letter x is difficult to join from, since your end point is on the inside of the word. 

In addition, the letter z is difficult to join to, because it begins in an awkward place. 

There are only 3 basic types of joins: underhand, overhand and across:

Underhand: a to t, c to h, b to u

Underhand join

Overhand: a to d, e to a, i to g

Overhand join

Across: v to e, o to r, w to h

Across join

Letter spacing is important when thinking of joins ...

In #4 of the Wordskillz™ post 'How to Change your Handwriting in Seven Steps or Less' (if you haven't read the post yet, you'll find it here), we looked at letter and word spacing. Keep the same guidelines you learned there in mind when joining letters. So leave half a letter 'o' between letters within words, and a full letter 'o' between words.

Janet Denison

You can listen as you read ...

STEP #3 - Practice your joined up writing in the very best way

There is less opportunity for any kind of handwriting these days. So a little practice with this fast, efficient handwriting style can sharpen your skills and prepare you for all occasions when nice, neat, quick handwriting is required.

Linking letters makes handwriting a more fluid rhythmic process. Now you've decided what letter styles you prefer, and what joins you'll need to use, it's time to practice your joined up writing!

1. Practice your joins on the examples below using the letter styles you prefer:

a. Underhand: a to t, c to h, b to u

b. Overhand: a to d, e to a, i to g

c. Across: v to e, o to r, w to h

2. Practice joining letters in a string, and in words and sentences, using what you've learned:

a. Write out the alphabet joining all the letters

b. Write ten very common words: the, be, to, of, and, in, that, have, for, with

c. Write the following pangrams (sentences that contain all the letters of the alphabet):

The five boxing wizards jump quickly.
A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Pack my red box with five dozen quality jugs.
Janet Denison

You can listen as you read ...


Why not stick with traditional cursive writing?

Think of the fonts you see most of the time on signs, online, and in books and magazines. These common fonts are similar to the print writing we learned in school. Why? Because they are easy to recognize and read. Compare those fonts to cursive writing forms. It's like you're writing in another language!

Why are we asked to print when filling in forms? For the same reason most fonts we read are a printed style. Those letters are so uniform they can be read easily by machines.

In the same way, a joined up writing style with no slant, having letters that closely match print or manuscript forms, will be consistently neat and easy to read while at the same time being quick and easy to write.

Isn't it time you switched to a hybrid style?

A handwriting style that is familiar to the eye can boost your ability to spell and read. When words look as familiar as the face of a friend, less thought is needed to read and spell them. Your brain can create a familiar and memorable image of a word, so you read, write and spell with less effort.

You can also more easily remember what you've written. In fact, this style of handwriting is one of the best memory aids you can use.

This hybrid style is also the perfect handwriting for everyday. Your signature and works of art may contain more elaborate and creative letters, but you'll want to use this simple style of lettering most of the time.

Going forward ...

You've known how to print letters since you were a small child. So you don't need to change how you form letters. Just keep it simple. Let the printed form dominate and avoid lifting your pen from the paper as much as possible. The result? You'll write more words per minute and those words will be easy to read!

Click the button below to learn six more ways to improve your handwriting or to return to the Seven-Steps page ...

CLICK HERE if you'd also like to improve spelling, reading, writing and speaking skills.

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