Suggestions for brand new learners?

Can you suggest ways of practicing, or arranging exercises that would be helpful at the very beginning of learning?

Also, if there are any left-handed underwriters here, how far clockwise do you turn your steno pad to get the elliptical shapes to go to the right?  I usually turn mine about 45 degrees, and haven’t found a comfortable combination yet.  Could be that it’s because I’m learning a new alphabet.
I’m using the Anniversary edition and the angelfishy site, and a pre-Anni book is on its way to me.
Thanks much.

(by Shorthand-learner for everyone)


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  1. My way, which I will claim was successful as I've reached a good level in the end, was a chapter by chapter reading of the textbook. I went through the chapter material, wrote everything once or twice, and then went through the Fundamental Drills for the chapter. By went through it means I either wrote it out or read it carefully, depending on how I felt like that day.

    You will have luck with the angelfishy materials, but if you want to learn pure pre-Anni, you better get some more of those resources. The pre-Anni manual by itself is VERY short on practice material and it will be hard for you to consolidate your shorthand skills.

  2. Michael, did you push for any sort of speed on your first pass? When I copied at a comfortable pace, I didn't learn as well, but now that I'm pushing for speed, each chapter is taking longer. Did you find a middle ground?

  3. More thoughts: The exact angle isn't as important as its consistency, and that you can distinguish between it and the other angles. Reading from several different texts is good, so you can see the typical variation. At one point, I was very vertical. Didn't look like the text, but was readable.

    Also, once you start pushing speed, it will change. I found my notes got much more fluid, more like the text.

    I used to write the passage from the text down the left column, then (sometimes a few days later), from the left to the right. This way, I was reading my own notes, which is educational. I made good progress in reading, but not in speed.

    For word lists, write the longhand down the left. Put another sheet of paper beside the list, and write out the column in shorthand. Read what you just wrote. Fold the shorthand column under, and repeat. I hate this exercise, but it's sometimes useful.

  4. Thanks for your posts. Your ideas help with a little more progress here. My Pre-Anni book came today, and that'll be easier than using the edition on the web.

    Any words from left-handers?

  5. I was a hoping a left-handed underwriter could post if he or she had to do anything in particular to adapt to Gregg, when new to shorthand.

    Any further ideas, tips, etc., for starting out in Gregg, would be appreciated. Thanks very much!

  6. I'm a leftie and I'm just beginning to learn gregg short hand. In my normal writing I turn my notebooks about 10 degrees clockwise. However to get the correct slant for shorthand I turn my steno notebook 30 – 45 degrees clockwise. It seems the further I turn the more readable and correct the forms look. Hope that helps.

  7. Ttownbigbear, I've just tried that. It certainly is a prompt not to push down on one's palm. I'll experiment a bit. Thanks!

  8. I think if I were a lefty I'd write right to left and make a mirror image. Why not? Seriously. 🙂

    Although after thinking about that for awhile it might be difficult to write to the left but read to the right.

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