Teaching Cursive Part 7 (of 25): How to Teach Correct Forward Slant


Turn the paper while writing in order to get properly slanted cursive.

Turn the paper while writing in order to get properly slanted cursive.


Correct positioning for left-handed writers to obtain the forward slant.

Correct positioning for left-handed writers to obtain the forward slant.


This post is both for parents and for teachers who may be called upon to teach cursive, but need help with how to teach the correct slant.  For examples of correct slant, see this post.

The way to get a slant is to TURN THE PAPER (or notebook). Instead of having the paper directly upright in front of you, rotate it about 45° COUNTER-CLOCKWISE, so that the upper right corner is in the 12:00 position (and lower left corner is in 6:00 position). Then write normally on the page, and the writing will have the proper slant.

The paper should be turned on an angle to write for one’s entire life–it is the correct way–it is not something one does while learning as a child, and later on reverts back to using a straight paper.  No one can write with a proper forward slant if the page is not turned on the desk

A helpful hint for teachers and parents is to cut a thin strip of paper (I used to use a 1/8th-wide strip cut from red construction paper, but any paper will do) and tape it to the desk or table where your student is working. The bottom edge of his paper should rest on that line. As a third-grade teacher, I taped these red lines on each desk before the first day of school. (I also did it when I taught Kindergarten for three years.) How did I get the idea? My own teachers did it when I was a child.

Line taped on edge of desk for slanted cursive writing.

Line taped on edge of desk for slanted cursive writing.

If you would like to try the taped line method (highly recommended), here is how to put it in the right position:

Steps for Correctly Positioning the Taped Line on the Desk

It’s important to WATCH your own children or students work, for several weeks or months, until they develop the habit automatically. It feels very awkward at first since they have most likely learned incorrectly. They might need constant reminding every two or three minutes at first.  As a teacher, it was easy for me to keep constant watch in the classroom and remind students all day long, “Turn your papers,” or “Papers on the red line.”

How to Move the Paper Up and Down While Writing

Once students start writing, there will naturally be some students whose writing is not slanted enough, and others whose writing is too slanted.  At that point, tell those individual students to habitually turn their papers more, or less–whatever is required–in order to arrive at the correct amount of slant.

 How to Adjust Student Papers Later On

My hope is that these instructions will help parents and teachers understand how to teach cursive slant with excellent results.

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3 Responses to “Teaching Cursive Part 7 (of 25): How to Teach Correct Forward Slant”

  1. Bev Says:


    I found your series on cursive via Pinterest and I wanted to thank you for it. As a homeschooling mother, I noticed my (currently seven year old second grade) daughter has had trouble with print handwriting and letter reversals continually since learning to write. Recently, cursive was recommended due to a near impossibility for letter reversals. However, I’ve barely used cursive myself since the third grade in the mid-eighties, and you should see the sheer plethora or materials marketed to homeschoolers for this purpose! Anyway, your series has really given me a lot of direction and will help me evaluate my choices.

    I do hope you continue the series, and I’d love to see you evaluate other products as you did in the post you wrote about Handwriting Without Tears. I’m particularly interested in learning more about Italic handwriting such as Getty-Dubay Italic cursive, more for myself than for my daughter for whom I am now planning a more old-fashioned cursive program. However, at last count popular online homeschooling stores such as Rainbow Resource carry more than forty different programs with at least ten different types of cursive, so you should be able to find many choices for review. I’d also be extremely interested in learning about the pros and cons of cursive systems developed in non-English speaking countries. For example, despite the lack of slant (which may be amended easily enough thanks to this very post of yours), I find the French cursive letters to be exceptionally lovely, and I’d be intrigued to understand others and how they could be used to help our children develop confident and well-educated penmanship.

    Best wishes, Beverly

  2. Crystal Says:

    Oh please oh please oh please finish the series. I am doing my best to teach cursive to my children since they are no longer taught in school. I have found your series to be the best I can find (and most in line with my school of thought on the subject). Also, I have one who is left handed and am really struggling to teach her since I am not. I appreciate the left handed instructions for page turning too!

    • Lynne Diligent Says:

      Crystal, thank you for your wonderful comment. I’ve been occupied with some other things this year, but do plan to get back to finishing this series. Thank you so much for letting me know you found it helpful. I had become discouraged myself about it no longer being taught.

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