Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cursive Logic (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Many people have suggested that we try cursive writing with Jude.  Studies have shown that it often makes more sense for students than manuscript printing does, but Jude has been struggling enough with just reading manuscript letters.  The bigger boys have reverted to manuscript printing because for them it is easier and faster than cursive, so given our experience, I am more inclined to say, "Studies are nice, but reality is, we don't seem to follow rules around here." Teaching Jude cursive got put onto my "someday" list because I think cursive is important, but it wasn't a priority.  We were given the opportunity to test-drive the CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic, so "teach Jude cursive" suddenly went higher up on the list.

CursiveLogic is a unique way of teaching and learning cursive lettering.  I learned Palmer Method writing, and I have vivid memories of making pages and pages of "push-pulls" and circle strokes, and then finally getting to write letters after what seemed like forever.  (Frankly, this tedium is what pushed cursive writing down the to-do list.)  However, CursiveLogic is purposely not like traditional methods.  The creator of the program, Linda Shrewsbury, was a literacy program tutor, helping a particular adult special-needs student.  This young man desperately wanted to learn but didn't have the ability or patience to spend six months learning to sign his name. She devised a way to speed the process along:  grouping letters by shape and diving in.

There is no boring preparation, just learn and practice, making it ideal for both adults and children as young as seven.  Like that first CursiveLogic student, within a few minutes, Jude was writing simple words. It only took him about four lessons for Jude to write the nickname of his favorite baseball player.   (Note: The workbook is a consumable workbook, and we did work in that for "learning." Our practice writing was in a notebook.)

What really helped him was the program includes simple, rhythmical chants that describe the path of his pencil. He had not just the visual of "what my letter should look like" but also an auditory how-to.  The more senses you use to learn something, the better you usually remember it, so using sight, sound, and touch only helps.

I was shocked how quickly he moved through the book.  He was very excited to see that it took learning only a few letters, and then chaining them together they made words.  The more he learned, the more words he could write.

By the end of the second week, he was writing all lower case letters.  We're going to hold with these for a little bit - while he's gotten the mechanics of writing down, we need to spend some time working on "m has only three bumps, not four" and tidying up letters so that "b" looks like "b" and not "l + r." I'm ok with this, because frankly, I thought it was going to take much longer to learn the initial letters.  It took him a full 6 months to learn to print the alphabet, so I certainly wasn't expecting him to learn cursive in less than 10 days!

I've noticed that while his skills have grown quickly, his confidence has grown even faster.  When we began, he was very afraid of even trying to write in cursive, for fear it would be too hard.  He also could not read cursive letters, either.   By now, he is reading cursive script.  He surprised himself when he was able to read this box on our field trip!

CursiveLogic is my new favorite cursive program.  It's straightforward and logical, making it perfect for a student who wants to know how to do something "now." 

For other reviews of CursiveLogic, click the banner below.

CursiveLogic Review

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