Thursday, July 9, 2015

Learning Cursive the Intelligent Way with CursiveLogic {A TOS Review}

In this day and age, though computers are taking over and schools are ceasing the teaching of cursive, I feel it is so important to continue to teach my children this important skill. I have read that there are multiple developmental benefits for a child in learning cursive, plus, to me it just looks so much nicer and professional, plus is easier to write long passages in cursive. When the opportunity came up with the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review a great new program called CursiveLogic, I felt it was perfect timing.  I received the CursiveLogic Workbook to use with Amelia, who turned 7 toward the beginning of our review period. This put her at the low end of the age range this program is meant for, but I believe that earlier is better and we could make it work. 

As stated on the workbook, this is "an intelligent new way to teach cursive handwriting."  The entire program is contained in this 96 page workbook. The first section is filled with informative instructions for the parent/teacher.  You will learn how to prepare your child to write in cursive, from proper grip and posture, to beginning exercises in using a light hand to aid in the writing of the flowing letters. 

Additionally, you will learn how the program works and how to teach it.  Details are given for the four lessons, each of which are broken up into five steps. There are several important features about CursiveLogic that I would like to share with you.
  • Each lesson focuses on a set of letters that are grouped by shape. In other words, they are not taught in alphabetical order, but in a logical order based on similar shape. The reason for this is stated as being, "By teaching all of the similar letters together, CursiveLogic captures the natural synergy of the alphabet itself, allowing each letter in the series to reinforce the proper formation of all the others."
  • The letters in each shape category are introduced and learned in a specific theme color. This "reinforces the formation of the basic common shape."
  • Additionally, a child learns the string of letters as opposed to working on them individually. According to the website, this allows the child "to internalize the flow of cursive handwriting even before they have learned all 26 letters."
  • The last feature that makes CursiveLogic unique is the catch phrase that is taught with each lesson. This phrase is described as "a simple, rhythmical chant that describes the path of the writing instrument as the letter shapes are formed." As the child verbally states the process it helps to "aid in the acquisition of new motor skills.
After the parent/teacher familiarizes themselves with the process, and makes sure the child is ready for cursive, they will move into the specific lessons. In addition to the child's exercises, these lessons contain a review of the instructions for the parent/teacher, which I found to be a wonderful reminder. It was great not to have to flip back and forth between the lesson and the instructions while I was teaching Amelia.

As I mentioned, there are only 4 lessons in this workbook. Older children could work through the lessons at a faster pace, working through 1 lesson in approximately an hour and learning cursive in several days to a few weeks, depending upon how long of a break is given between lessons. No more than 1 week between lessons is recommended.  The program is easily adapted for younger students. It is expected that younger students will learn a lesson over several days or more. 

How did we use CursiveLogic?

As recommended in the book, I started by making sure Amelia  was using a proper grip and posture. I had noticed she would shake while writing as she was holding the pencil improperly. I finally was able to show her the correct way to hold the pencil and she has been doing so ever since. We also worked on writing with a light touch. I love the way the program explains how to do this. I had never thought of the flow of the letters requiring a freedom of motion. 

We then moved into the lessons. The first lesson focuses on the Orange Oval letters, so I had her use an orange pencil to complete her exercises.  

This first lesson took us a couple of weeks to complete as we were taking it slowly; however, by the end of it she was able to write a few lines of words. First she traced them, and then she wrote them by herself. We ended up taking a week and a half off for a break as I had an unexpected surgery and needed time to recuperate. When I sat her back down to work, I wanted to see what she had retained, so we reviewed the letter string again. Then I had her write some words in her handwriting notebook without being able to see the workbook page. She was still struggling with some of the formation (such as slanting the letters and bringing her stroke far enough over for the oval), but with some practice, she was able to produce the following:

Even after a child has completed the lesson pages, she can flip to the back of the book and find dry erase pages for continued practice. After all of the lowercase letters are learned, the child will then learn the uppercase letters, which are also separated into groups. For even more practice, there are several patriotic/inspirational passages and Bible verses in the back of the workbook. Additionally, the creators of CursiveLogic have made available downloadable practice pages.  Children can practice writing the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and a selection of Psalms in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

I have to say, I am impressed by Amelia's results and have every intention of continuing with this program. We will use the same pace, taking 2-3 weeks to master each letter string before moving on to the next lesson. CursiveLogic definitely is a logical way to learn cursive. I love that the similar letters are taught together in a string so Amelia really gets a feel for the shape. There is plenty of opportunity to practice and review. Overall, a great product, and one I am glad to recommend.

You can purchase the CursiveLogic workbook for $29.00. This workbook is meant for use with one child.

You can find CursiveLogic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don't forget to stop by and see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about CursiveLogic. Just click on the banner below:

CursiveLogic Review
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