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Handwriting Styles Chart

Ranking

This list of handwriting styles is presented below in both a table and a detailed list.

The list groups the styles within the two broad camps of Italic and Ball-and-Stick methods. The cleanest, most legible styles are listed first.

Within the two categories, both the style names and letter samples are color coded to indicate (according to our criteria):

  1. green - positive choices
  2. blue - more neutral choices
  3. red - negative choices

Table

Italic Styles

show Getty-Dubay Italic™ style
show Bob Jones University© style
show McDougal Littell© style
show D'Nealian® style
show Steck Vaughn© style
show Queensland style

Ball-and-Stick Styles

A Reason For Handwriting© style (sample not available)
show Cursive Writing Skills© Workbooks style
show Handwriting Without Tears® style
show Peterson Method™ style
show Zaner-Bloser© style
show Harcourt Brace® style
show Frank Schaffer© style
show Loops and Other Groups© style
show Zaner-Bloser© Traditional style
show PenTime style
show A-Beka® style
show Seattle School District style
show Palmer style

Detailed List

Italic Styles

Getty-Dubay Italic™
© by Barbara M. Getty and Inga S. Dubay. (Source 1, source 2) Cursive capitals conform to printed shapes. Lower case letters are larger (in proportion to the capitals), which reflects the proportions found in typeset fonts.
Positive: Sloped Print; print 't', 'q'; cursive 'Q'.
Negative: Undersized numerals.
show alphabet sample
Bob Jones University©
© by Bob Jones University. (Source) Some print capitals are changed to conform to cursive shapes.
Positive: Sloped Print; print 't', 'q'; cursive 'Q'.
Negative: Hook on 't' is too small for comfort and should be elongated in practice.
show alphabet sample
McDougal Littell©
© by Houghton Mifflin Co. Almost indistinguishable from D'Nealian (below), except for a few letters.
Positive: Sloped print; print 't', 'q'; cursive 'Q'.
Negative: Cursive 'G'.
show alphabet sample
D'Nealian®
® by Scott, Foresman & Co. (Website) Less continuity between print and cursive for the capitals. However, lower case 'k' in print conforms to the cursive style.
Positive: Sloped print; print 't', 'q'.
Negative: Cursive 'Q', 'G'.
show alphabet sample
Steck Vaughn©
© by Steck Vaughn Co.
Positive: Sloped print; print 'q'.
Negative: Stick-'t'; cursive 'Q', 'G'.
show alphabet sample
Queensland (Australia)©
© by Horowitz Martin Education. Two varieties of cursive are given: Modern Cursive, and cursive with a Flourish. There is also a Calligraphic version available. Note the distinctive not-quite-oval shapes of round letters.
Positive: Sloped print; clean, elegant italic; cursive 'Q', 'G'.
Negative: Stick-'t'; undersized numerals.
show alphabet sample

Ball-and-Stick Styles

(Consistent negative: Print is vertical.)

A Reason For Handwriting©
© by Carol Ann Retzer and Eva Hoshino. (Source 1, source 2)
Positive: Round printed capitals are ovals; clean cursive.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'.
alphabet sample not available
Cursive Writing Skills© Workbooks
© by Diana Hanbury King. Cursive only; one of the italic print styles could be used. (Source)
Positive: Provides distinct left- and right-handed sloped styles and workbooks.
Negative: Cursive 'Q' and 'G'; cursive 'Z' has an extra loop.
show alphabet sample
Handwriting Without Tears®
® by Janice Z. Olsen. (Source 1, source 2)
Positive: Round printed capitals are ovals; clean cursive.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; cursive 'Q' and 'G'; vertical letters also for cursive (this is a positive for left-handers compared to a right-leaning slope).
show alphabet sample
Peterson Method™
™ by Peterson Directed Handwriting Co.
Positive: Round printed capitals are ovals; a sloped print alternative is available.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; most cursive capitals add loops; some numerals have loops and serifs; slope of print and cursive is too acute.
show alphabet sample
Zaner-Bloser©
© by Zaner-Bloser, Inc. Note: this is the new style (see Traditional style below). (Website)
Positive: Cursive 'Q', clean cursive.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'G', 'p'; some numerals have serifs.
show alphabet sample
Harcourt Brace®
® by Harcourt Brace & Company. (Almost identical to Zaner-Bloser above, except for cursive 'Q'.)
Positive: Clean cursive.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; some numerals add serifs.
show alphabet sample
Frank Schaffer©
© by Frank Schaffer Publishing. Note: two cursive versions are available, and rating relates only to the newer style. (Almost identical to Zaner-Bloser above, except for cursive 'Q'.)
Positive: Clean cursive.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G'; some numerals add serifs.
show alphabet sample
Loops and Other Groups©
© by Therapy Skill Builders. Cursive only.
Positive: Cursive 'Q'.
Negative: Cursive 'G'; many cursive capitals and some numerals add serifs.
show alphabet sample
Zaner-Bloser© Traditional
© by Zaner-Bloser, Inc. See also the new style above. (Website)
Positive: Printed 'q'.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; most cursive capitals add loops; some numerals add serifs.
show alphabet sample
PenTime
Amish style, publisher is JKL Design. (Mostly identical to Zaner-Bloser Traditional above; some contrast in cursive 'F', 'T', printed numerals.)
Positive: Printed 'q'.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; most cursive capitals add loops; some numerals add serifs; undersized printed numerals.
show alphabet sample
A-Beka®
® by Pensacola Christian College.
Positive:
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; printed 'q'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; most cursive capitals add large loops; a couple of numerals add serifs.
show alphabet sample
Seattle School District
Positive: Printed 'q'.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; undersized printed numerals; most cursive capitals add serifs; some numerals add serifs.
show alphabet sample
Palmer Method®
® by MacMillan Company. Two cursive styles: new style as of 1987 and vintage style from 1923.
Positive: Printed 'q'.
Negative: Print is vertical; stick-'t'; round printed capitals and '0' (zero) are circles; cursive 'Q', 'G', 'p'; most cursive capitals add large loops; undersized cursive numerals.
show alphabet sample

Sources

The primary source for comparing these styles is a group of about 20 educational fonts marketed by Educational Fontware. Another comparison of several commercial styles is found from the Getty-Dubay (italic) method perspective on their site.

© Copyright 1998-2007 Joe A. Friberg. All Rights Reserved.