Monday, August 20, 2007

Fonts and other resources for handwriting (mostly italic)

August 2009: See my updates a review of BFH and plans to create my own curriculum.

I've been thinking about buying either StartWrite or Educational Fontware, but I'm on the fence. I really only need one set of fonts, so I balk a bit at spending $25 - 35 for it. I have some educational fonts that I've found for free, so I thought I'd share what they are. I haven't seen these listed in one place. I prefer a slanted font, and currently I plan to teach cursive italics rather than traditional cursive. This is not intended to be a complete list, just a list of what interested me.

I would like to be able to make lines in the same proportion as the fonts, and so far that's been an issue with the free fonts I've found, although I could use the lines from the Learning Curve font even though I'm not planning to teach cursive.

When you evaluate a font, look at all the letters, upper- and lowercase. Is the lowercase a the form you like? How about the uppercase G? I'm partial to a nice upward slant on the bottom of a lowercase a, so I look for that. Check each letter, perhaps comparing them to the handwriting workbook of your choice.

These are the fonts that I've found that look useful:
  • Possibly the most useful font is free on all Windows computers -- Lucida Sans, when italicized, looks an awful lot like a nice italic hand. With this or any other font that doesn't come in a dotted or dashed version, you can use the Font dialog box to choose Outline format (or another format you like, such as engraved or raised). You could also make the font color gray, so that you can see what your child has written over the top. Windows Vista has some additional Lucida fonts such as Lucida Handwriting and Lucida Calligraphy that you may like.
  • Neal Font: a dotted slanted font. Possibly useful italic-like font, but difficult to read.
  • Jarman and Jardotty (select your computer type from the menu at the left): Nice dotted italic font. Make a worksheet based on Jardotty here. The creator of these fonts writes about handwriting here, including some animated suggestions for better handwriting.
  • Precursive New: a slanted font available with arrows, dashed, or as a regular unadorned font from BJU.
  • Foundation Handwriting: I don't like the C or c and the uppercase G, and I'd rather have a lowercase k without the loop. However, in italics, it's an italic cursive font (lowercase only), which may be it's most useful feature. I got the basic font for free, but I haven't found it again except as a set for sale. (Possibly here. Use a virus checker please!)
  • Print Clearly: An upright printed font available in a dashed version. From Blue Vinyl Fonts.
  • Skyland: an upright printed font with arrows.
  • Learning Curve: a cursive learning font, also available in a dashed font. Quite pretty. The font also includes dingbats for learning characters to create lined paper. From Blue Vinyl Fonts.
  • Kid Letter Font: D'Nealian style, includes lines, arrows, dots, and other options. $15

Some other resources:

  • has a page on free teaching fonts here:
  • had a category of school fonts (I think I've included the best above, but the one with only a bottom and a middle guideline may be useful to some)
  • has some cool handwriting fonts that could be useful helping an older student to develop a personal style.
  • This site has some great ideas about teaching italics -- could easily replace a book (click the Quick results, easy work link).
  • Another great site on learning and teaching italics, this one by Ted Power.
  • Donna Young has some handwriting pages, although she doesn't favor italics.
  • An overview of handwriting styles from Zaner Bloser. (Not actually from Zaner Bloser, according to Kate Gladstone. See comment section.)(Looks like Zaner Bloser actually bought this link since I made the post and Kate commented on it.)
  • Kate herself has a list of handwriting resources here (click the Resource People link at the bottom of the page).

For money:

That's it! Let me know if you find anything here useful!

1 comment:

KateGladstone said...

The site with an overview of different handwriting styles (that you list as "from Zaner Bloser") actually does not come from Zaner-Bloser. The Zaner-Bloser company has its real site at - the site you listed (which doesn't have the hyphen) comes from a grad student who saw nothing wrong with registering a closely similar site-name. The actual Zaner-Bloser site has Zaner-Bloser *only*.
Although I do not like Zaner-Bloser, as a handwriting improvement specialist I do like people to have accurate information.

Kate Gladstone -