Explaining The Best Handwriting Fonts
Handwriting styles vary only slightly from one to another. All maintain some basic similarities that everyone can recognize. To find out the best handwriting fonts for your child you will need to know a bit about the main fonts used today.
Our ability to read someone else’s writing even though they were taught a different writing system is dependent upon very similar letter formations between the different styles. If styles were too varied we would be unable to communicate using the written word.
Even though there are many handwriting styles, in practice, they fall into two main categories—manuscript and italics.
Printing is using unjoined letters.
Cursive (running writing or joint writing) merely means to join letters together.
Manuscript Handwriting Font Styles
This style is characterised by its easy to learn vertical letter forms. The child has only four simple strokes to learn and mastery is quickly accomplished. The printed letters are easily read and are often used in books.
Manuscript cursive is fancier; in fact it is quite different to the printing style.
Zaner-Bloser and Ball and Stick are basically the same manuscript font with a different name.
Modern manuscript (D’Nealian) is a slanted form of manuscript. It still has two different styles for print and cursive but the slant, in theory, makes the transition to cursive easier.
Italics Handwriting Font Styles
It is a slightly slanted font that looks similar to cursive. The same alphabet is used from printing to cursive. There are more strokes for a child to learn initially than with manuscript print. Letter formation taught to beginners evolves seamlessly into joined-up (cursive) writing. The letter formation never changes.
Charlotte Mason was an advocate of Italics. She believed Italics was “pleasant to acquire because it is beautiful to behold.”
Since italics cursive is just an extension of italics printing the difficulty some children experience when transitioning from printing to cursive using manuscript almost disappears.
Italics advocates argue that when the child is ready to progress to cursive they are usually still mastering reading and teaching a new writing style at this time could hamper the child’s progress in both reading and writing. Confusion is avoided and teaching time is saved!
Italics font include:
- Foundation Font (Australia and New Zealand)
- Getty Dubay (USA)
- Handwriting Without Tears (USA)
- Barchowsky (UK)
- Jarman (UK)
Which is the Best Handwriting Font For Your Child?
Handwriting styles and fashions change and there are so many theories on what is the best style to teach. In the end it all boils down to personal preference.
Both of my girls have enjoyed the fancy font used in manuscript cursive and my sons have preferred the easier to master italics cursive. You can read about my handwriting blunders here.
Why not trial your children with a few styles?
Try our Blinky Bill Alphabet Copybook Printing It is available in four font styles.
The Biggest Help for Teaching Good Handwriting
No matter what style you teach, sloppy work can be achieved using any style.
Charlotte Mason had a few ideas that help teach students to care about their writing.
- Keep handwriting lessons short.
- Use a good model for handwriting.
- Use copywork for handwriting practice not composition.
- Concentrate on correctly formed letters, rather a page full of messy work.
Read more about Teaching Handwriting the Charlotte Mason Way.
Tips for Introducing Cursive Handwriting
- Start with a good handwriting model.
- Teach one letter at a time.
- Require perfect execution.
- Take your time with the introduction of cursive
- Keep them practicing with daily copywork.
Cursive writing means joining the letters together. In the days of inkwells and hard nibs children were taught to write a cursive script as their initial writing experience. Children from the age of six were expected to manage this handwriting script. When pencils became readily available many schools switched over to ball and stick printing because for it was thought that this style is much easier for a child to learn.
Advocates of teaching cursive first believe that introducing printing as the initial handwriting script can cause a range of other problems. Including;
- less supervision when teaching cursive with some students never learning it properly.
- ‘B’ and ‘D’ confusion when printing.
- other reading and writing problems because special sequences are lost with printing.
- fatigue in writing due to the disconnected strokes of letters.
Australian & New Zealand School Fonts
In New Zealand and each state of Australia different font style are used for teaching in schools. All of the fonts with the exception of Ball and Stick are slanted fonts that have a printing alphabet that is similar to the cursive alphabet. The printing is then developed into cursive by teaching joining strokes around grade three or four.
Buy Your Own Fonts
Our handwriting fonts were created and purchased from John at www.schoolfonts.com.au
- Italics printing and cursive is NSW Foundations Font
- Manuscript Print is Stick and Ball
- Manuscript Cursive is Granny Script