Find the Rhythm of Cursive Handwriting ~ Logic of English #review
I’ve pestered my 6th grade daughter for years over her sloppy handwriting. It’s not that she can’t write somewhat neatly, if she absolutely must – it’s closer to a simple disregard for readability. As long as I *can* figure it out, she figures that is quite good enough. Mentioning how most girls are into well into pretty, perfect handwriting with hearts dotting the i’s by this age – nope, that didn’t work either. She prefers rainbow ink, but there’s no cute and pretty about it.
Needless to say, I still include handwriting in her regular, everyday schoolwork. From instructional workbooks to copywork practice, we’ve done it all – and so she’s not, by any means, new to writing in cursive. Of late, we’ve focused on cursive in the hope that consistent practice with blocks of text would gradually improve things – interspersed with occasional instructional-style materials to bring her back from the brink of sloppy. One such resource we’ve used recently is the Rhythm of Handwriting, from the Logic of English.
Now, Rhythm of Handwriting is crafted to be easy to use, both for parents and for beginning writers. Logic of English actually recommend that students learn cursive prior to manuscript, for several reasons:
- Since cursive requires a lower level of fine motor skill development than manuscript, it will be comparatively easier for beginning writers,
- All lowercase letters start at the baseline, leading to less confusion and fewer mistakes,
- The spacing between letters is controlled by the nature of the letters; the spacing between works is easier to see and replicate,
- The beginnings and endings of each word are emphasized by the need to lift the pencil to start a new work – these breaks are much less natural when writing in manuscript style,
- Lowercase letters “b” and “d” are much more difficult to reverse, solving one of the most common problems with students learning in manuscript,
- Early muscle mastery of cursive handwriting will remain with the student throughout their entire lives.
Since my daughter isn’t a brand-new writer, there are several features designed specifically for preschool through early elementary ages. It is highly recommended in Rhythm of Handwriting that parents use a variety of hands-on movements to learn the structure, shape, and patterns of each letter. Numerous suggestions are given that are easy to implement and aid students in translated the physical movements into automatic usage.
A built-into-the-book method is the inclusion of *very* large letters when each is introduced. Intended for students to trace multiple times with their fingers, these pages include detailed instructions for creating each letter, the “space”, top to bottom, is nearly 5″ in height.
Rather than using the blank lines as intended, Chey decided that she would instead write giant letters. She discovered a couple of things rather quickly; first, those lines are *much* more difficult to write smoothly on then she imagined, and second, that writing actually gets more difficult the larger it is, rather than the smaller.
We suspect that has something to do with the next feature we noticed – that on the practice pages for each letter, lines actually start out tiny, and then progress to larger, in an almost complete reversal of the methods typically used. Much to my surprise, it’s clear that yes, her handwriting *is* much neater on the close to notebook-ruled lines, while the size typically used by first graders is much messier. Seems like this might be one of those things that just happens to work counter-intuitively, and despite the obvious difference, we continue as a whole to teach it a bit backwards from the most effective manner.
Assignments gradually move into whole words of lowercase letters, and here, the lines remain at one consistent size. Practice continues through all the lowercase and then the uppercase, gradually including more whole-word practice. There is no whole-paragraph practice anywhere in the book, but it leaves off at a point where students should be capable of writing on much smaller lines than the typical beginning student, which would make it far easier to move onto relevant copywork.
Overall, the Rhythm of Handwriting covers the same basics that one would expect of a beginning handwriting curriculum, with some variations in approach that might just make the difference for some children. I’ve seen an improvement in Cheyenne’s handwriting, though with her stubborn resistance to the appearance of her schoolwork, it remains to be seen how long it will “stick”.
The Rhythm of Handwriting is available from the Logic of English in either cursive ($15) or manuscript ($18). Several other items from the Logic of English were reviewed by crew members, including Foundations A, Essentials, and the Phonograms app – click the link below to check them out!