10 Amazing, Free Tools to Revive the Lost Art of Handwriting

With so much testing pressure in schools these days, there’s always discussion about what can stay in the curriculum and what can go. One thing that always seems to be caught in the crosshairs is handwriting.

Cursive handwriting is not included in the Common Core, which has been adopted by the vast majority of states since its introduction in 2010. In its place, more time is devoted to keyboarding. What impact does this have on our students?

An article from the New York Times last year pointed out the fact that there is evidence that links handwriting to other educational development. It also highlighted some recent studies which suggested learning to write by hand actually makes other learning easier. Finally, the article talked about how interesting it is that different writing modes may activate different parts of the brain.

If your school district has let handwriting fall by the wayside, you might be able to help. You can easily incorporate a lesson or two that will allow your students get those handwriting benefits. The perfect place to start? Calligraphy!

Some art teachers steer away from calligraphy because they think it’s too complicated to prep. In fact, with the right resources, a calligraphy lesson is absolutely a cinch to pull together.

Luckily, the beloved art supply company Sakura has you covered.

Did you know that Sakura has an entire section of their website devoted to lettering? It’s true! There, you will find some truly amazing resources. Sakura was gracious enough to share these resources with us, plus a few resources that haven’t yet been published on the site.

10 Amazing, Free Tools to Revive the Lost Art of Handwriting


In addition to what you see here, Sakura also has a wonderful YouTube channel to which you can subscribe. Your students will love watching these videos at their own pace. They are perfect for a flipped learning environment.

1. Calligraphy Tips Using Pigma Calligrapher Pens

This video highlights one of our favorite tools, the Pigma Calligrapher pens. These are fantastic for students because you don’t have to mess with nibs or ink. If you’ve never used them before, we have exciting news for you. Sakura is giving the first 1500 registrants for the 2016 Online Winter Conference a FULL PACK of free pens in the swag boxes. Now that’s amazing.

2. Simple Upper Case Italic Alphabet

In this video, calligraphy guru Joanne Fink takes viewers through a simple italic alphabet. This would be a great place to start with students.

3. How to Write a Lower Case Italic Alphabet

This is the corresponding video where Joanne takes viewers through the lowercase alphabet.

4. Swash Capital Italic Alphabet

In this video, Joanne shows viewers a different uppercase alphabet. This alphabet is a bit more complicated and would be a great way to differentiate for students that need a bigger challenge.

5. Creative Flourishing Techniques for Calligraphy 

This video is a fun way to learn how to add embellishments to your writing.


1. Complete Cursive Lesson Plan

cursive unit
Click for free download!

This resource is a doozie. Handwriting instructor Phyllis Macaluso has partnered with Sakura to put together everything you need to teach cursive. Use this when constructing your handwriting unit. Or, share it with the classroom teachers at your school.

2. Pigma Calligrapher Tracing Practice Guides

tracing guides

These tracing guides are an absolute dream for beginners and a great way for students to build skills and confidence.

3. Pigma Calligrapher Italic Lettering Guides

lettering guide
Visit Sakura’s website for free downloads!

Print these sheets and make copies for your students to help guide their practice. These are a must have and are available to correspond with 1mm pens, 2mm pens, and 3mm pens. All are available on the Sakura website.

4. Flourishes

Click for free download!

This resource provides some concrete examples of different, basic flourishes.

5. Italic Lettering with Sakura Calligrapher

italic lettering guides
Click for free download!

This is another great resource for learning to write with the Pigma Calligrapher.

As you can see, Sakura has done a brilliant job of providing all of the tools you need to get started. Whether you teach one lesson or a whole unit, your students will benefit from practicing handwriting. You never know—it may even spark some of them to take up calligraphy as a hobby! Plan your lesson to correspond with National Handwriting Day, which is January 23rd, to get your students even more excited.  Watch Sakura’s inspiring Instagram for a fun giveaway starting in mid-January.

Also, don’t forget about Sakura’s amazing contribution to the Winter Conference swag box. Sign up now to grab your free pack of Pigma Calligrapher pens, plus tons of other amazing supplies! Be sure to sign up soon! Once the swag boxes are gone, they’re gone!


Thanks so much to Sakura for providing us with all of these amazing resources. Be sure to check out everything else they have to offer.

Do you feel handwriting is an essential skill?

Do you teach calligraphy in your classroom?


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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