French Handwriting Exercise Books


An Introductory Guide To How To Use Each Book And Progress Your Handwriting

This is a guide to how to use the six-stages of French handwriting books from Clairefontaine. It will guide you through various stages, each of which help learn and refine the skills and techniques and the rules that Seyes paper uses.

Although Seyes paper is intended to be an integral part of the French eductional system, helping to teach children to learn cursive writing (joined-up writing), some or all of the system can be readily used by anyone wishing to teach people to write neatly and consistently. This is a guide we have put together to help explain what each stage of notebook is meant to help you achieve.

The aim of the series is to help you arrive at a point where you are comfortable using the full Seyes layout, which is based around an 8mm grid with 2mm rulings.

Stage 1

Aim: Forming lower case letters

These books are based around a 20mm spacing, with a 5mm ‘feint’ line. The idea is to focus on writing lower case letters, keeping the body of them within the 5mm line, learning to control your formation of letters and keep them to a consistent height. It also has slightly thicker lines to make it easier to focus on the basic element of controlling the height.
Write letters on the darker purple line making sure they touch but don’t exceed the blue line. Concentrate just on the body of the letters, ignoring any stem or tail (e.g. letters like ‘b’ or ‘q’).

Book – DL 5mm, code CF/3997

seyes handwriting book stage 1

Stage 2

Aim: Adding stems and tails

The line spacing is now reduced to 17mm, as you gain better control over your letters, and with two ‘feint’ blue lines. These are spaced at 3mm and 10mm, and the idea is now to start to form letters with stems and control the overall height – this means getting better control over letters like ‘b’ and ‘q’. The rulings have also become slightly feinter as you become more comfortable with the layout.
Write the body of the letters within the first feint line (now 3mm, so it requires a bit more accuracy), and allow the stems of the letters to go up to the second feint line (e.g. ‘b’ and ‘d’). With letters like ‘g’ and ‘p’ you drop the tail down to the feint line just below the bold line.

Book – DL 3mm I, code CF/3793

seyes handwriting book stage 2

Stage 3

Aim: Controlling the spacing across the page

This takes the Stage 2 layout and throws in vertical lines, at 10mm intervals. It's intended for you to concentrate on individual letters without worrying about cursive writing. With a horizontal and vertical grid layout the page has become quite busy and by now you will be focusing on really gaining good control of your letters both horizontally and vertically.
Write as with stage 2, but this time form your letters inside each set of vertical lines to create a regular width to the letters.

Book – DL 3mm IV, code CF/3994

seyes handwriting book stage 3

Stage 4

Aim: Gaining better control

This takes the Stage 3 layout and forces you to up your game with the first elements of a standard seyes layout appearing. The overall line spacing is reduced to 14mm, with lines at 2mm and 8mm, with a vertical grid spaced at 8mm as well.
This layout is intended to really get you focusing on reducing the size of your writing down to the finished article, with a 2mm line being a tough requirement considering the starting point of 5mm in stage 1.

Book – DL 2mm IV, code CF/3999

seyes handwriting book stage 4

Stage 5

Aim: Adding cursive writing

The layout at this stage seems to take a step back, with an overall line spacing of 16mm and 4mm lines in between. The vertical lines are also spaced at 16mm creating a much more open grid. However the intention now is to focus on cursive writing, bringing together all the skills you have learnt on stages 1 to 4, but in a continuous written form. The vertical lines are intended to act as breaks and markers, helping you with spacing along the line. Just focus now on writing in a joined-up style across the page.

Book – Seyes 4mm 16/16, code CF/3795

seyes handwriting book stage 5

Stage 6

Aim: Refining

The last stage in this 6-book set is intended to be a final stepping stone to a full-on seyes layout. We now see an overall grid of 12mm with 3mm interval lines. It just follows that you now hone your skills of forming letters and cursive writing before moving on to a standard seyes ruling which will see you writing in 8mm grids with 2mm lines.

Book – Seyes 3mm 12/12, code CF/3796

seyes handwriting book stage 6