Swing, Drop, Swoop, Dot: Do The Cursive Dance

By Kathy and Benny

To teach cursive, or not to teach cursive.  That is the question.

I did teach my three boys cursive, and they all defaulted to manuscript writing by middle school.  Now sixteen, I asked my middle son to give cursive a second chance by reviewing with me The Rhythm of Handwriting: Cursive by The Logic of English. As of late he had been working on perfecting his “signature”, and agreed to revisit the mechanics of cursive.


This workbook is geared toward the student of any age who is first learning to write. The Logic of English recommends writing instruction begin with cursive rather than manuscript. WHY?

They suggest this approach is less motor intensive, the letters b and d are less likely to be reversed, and that if cursive is learned first, it will be a muscle memory that is lifelong.

Their technique starts with large motor movements/letter forms, and emphasizes combining all the senses:

  • Show your student how to form the letter,
  • Tell how to form the letter,
  • Do have the student form the letter
  • Student says aloud instructions as they form the letter.

I do agree-cursive is like riding a bike. I mastered it in my primary education, and I prefer cursive over manuscript for my own note taking and letter writing.  Despite my perfectly formed letters and flowing sentences, my boys can’t read my writing. They read manuscript.  They write manuscript.  And revisiting it in highschool didn’t change my son’s preference – manuscript rules. Although using this 170 paged workbook did help him get his signature perfect.

benny's signature 2

Here is his review of the workbook:

Rhythm of Handrwiting is a good program for those students just learning to write cursive.  Even though I had completed cursive handwriting instruction in my early elementary years, I prefer to print (manuscript) when I write.  It is easier for me.  I did enjoy going through this workbook as it refreshed my memory and encouraged me to try writing in cursive once again.  It wasn’t too hard, and I was surprised at how quickly the information came back.  I find myself now writing lists and more sentences in cursive.  The reference chart was helpful to refer to as it contains all the letter formations. I don’t think I will write everything in cursive as I am so used to manuscript, but I’m glad I had this refresher.

Student workbook: $15  Quick reference chart: $10

Cursive appears to be a dying art in 21st century education.  Today’s students need to master keyboard/texting skills, not cursive.  It is a rare event for me to see my boys write anything.  Reports, letters, fill-in-blanks are all done in manuscript or completed in some digital fashion.  I didn’t even teach my youngest the correct hand positioning for “home row” – he just learned it.  And he is way faster than me.

Who knows what the future holds for cursive handwriting.  I’m glad I taught it to my boys.  I didn’t start with cursive like The Logic of English advises. Perhaps if I did, it would have stuck with them.  There are many methods of cursive instruction available, and this one seems reasonably priced and offers many extra helps on reinforcing and practicing what is taught. I’m glad to pass on the good feedback from my son, but he is likely a wee bit older than the majority of those who would be using this product. I agree with him in that I too liked the folding reference chart- it is a great summary of the instruction and something you will want to have at hand for quick reinforcement. Swing, drop, swoop, dot.  Perhaps that’s all kids need to hear to get that motor recall when needed.

Please do visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to read more reviews of not only cursive handwriting, but other available titles from The Logic of English.

disclaimer TOS

Oh, and because we like to include many members of our family for these reviews, Frodo wanted to share his thoughts:

frodo thought bubble

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