Mona Voelkel

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Benefits of Teaching Chancery Handwriting

European girl with arms outstretched, showing palms, stop. girl playing, being a kid
Source: Envato Elements

Whenever I see something written in Chancery Script, I sigh with pleasure. It looks so beautiful with its its flow and flourishes. I liked it even more when I found out that the Chancery “hand” as it is called, originated in the Rennaissance as part as the “humanist” movement:

Humanists sought to create a citizenry able to speak and write with eloquence and clarity and thus capable of engaging in the civic life of their communities and persuading others to virtuous and prudent actions.

It also might be something to consider in our quest for better handwriting instruction. More and more educators in the Structured Word Inquiry community, notably Mary Beth Steven and Rebecca Loveless, have been successful teaching youngsters Chancery hand. The flow of the letters, with teaching instructions adapted for right- and left- handed instruction, are considered “pathways” and modeled first on the palm of the hand. It may be an especially preferable approach for students diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia because the pathways for the commonly confused letter “b” and “d” letters begin in different places and there is an emphasis on the ergonomics of a relaxed pen hold which eliminates writing discomfort. Students learn the pathways of unconnected letters and then have a choice, which feels seamless, to connect or “ligature”; unlike the usual jarring transition from print to cursive.


Studying the Real Spelling Toolbox ‘Real Script” modules and taking Rebecca Loveless’ stellar “Teaching Real Script” course has demonstrated that individuality is innate and encouraged in the Chancery hand while traditional handwriting instruction prizes uniformity above all. To ligature or ligature? Personal decision! To make the “e” the way they did in the 1500’s or as our modern “e”? Personal decision! Add a flourish? Decide on your monogram or your signature? How exciting it would be for students to make these thoughtful decisions for themselves! Writing becomes a beautiful “handmade” expression of our selves in this modern age.

It’s also easy to learn! It is amazing what the right pen, the right pen hold, the correct writing position and the right instruction can accomplish.  I have taken to practicing my Chancery using quotations, with Rennaissance music playing softly in the background. I can’t wait to introduce students to the aestheics of writing: choosing the just-right pen (yes, pens! Fountain or gel, right from the beginning), soft music to practice by, a message you want to express, and the careful contemplation of what we are writing.

So, if you have a student who struggles to write or read (handwriting practice quickly segues into writing real words or word parts which strengthens writing/reading connections) or have a personal interest in beautiful writing, consider Chancery hand! Contact me if you have questions or would like more information at


Loveless, Rebecca. “‘Teaching Real Script.’” 3 90-minute sessions. (1/24/22-2/7/22, (1/24/22-2/7/22)

The Real Spelling Online Toolbox – RealScript. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from

Steven, Mary Beth. “Learning from 16th Century Scribes.” Mrs. Steven’s Classroom Blog, 14 Nov. 2016,


2 Responses

    1. Fixed it. Thank you. I highly recommend Mary Beth Steven’s workshops and am a huge fan of her work so I am happy, thanks to your kind noticing, that the link is working.

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