Handwriting. For some families, it is just a normal part of their day. Five minutes of instruction and practice, a pat on the back for a job well done, and moving on to the next subject. For other families, like ours, it is 5 minutes to 2 hours of strife, tears, arguing, and just plain ugliness. So when I was chosen to review Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC, there was not much cheering going on in the Quinn home. But we are always willing to give something new a chance and see if we can benefit.
None of my children have ever excelled in handwriting. My 13 year old daughter has finally begun to care and started taking more time in forming her letters. My boys...eh, not so much. There are seriously days that I take their work back to them and make them read it aloud to me - and some of those days, they aren't even able to decipher their own writing! It is beyond frustrating, but I've never been able to find anything that encouraged them to excel in this discipline.
Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is a phonics based program that works on reading and handwriting. You can purchase the hard copy or an ebook version, which is what we were able to review. The book has a great breakdown of how you can use it for both, or just for one of the subjects above. The chapter outline is here:
- Chapter 1 is a breakdown about reading and handwriting, as well as teaching tips on how to utilize this program.
- Chapter 2 is filled with reproducible alphabet worksheets.
- Chapters 3, 4 and 5 are the reading portion of the curriculum. There is a lot of teaching on short and long vowel sounds, blending, digraphs, and also copywork pages of sample words and sentences to go along with the lessons. We did not use this section of the book since we were focused on handwriting and jumped from Chapter 2 to Chapter 6.
- Chapter 6 begins the handwriting portion of the teaching. The type of handwriting taught in this book is called italic (which before now, I believed to be a font, not a writing style). It teaches the basics of forming slanted lines and ovals rather than perfect circles - which I found to be much less intimidating to a child who feels perfection is unreachable. It is a lovely writing style that teaches how letters can be joined into a cursive-like style as well. It is actually the foundation of calligraphy, which it also teaches in the end of this chapter. I think this is something Chloe will enjoy working through at some point.
One thing I found very encouraging in the handwriting practice was the reproducible sheets. All of the copywork is the author's handwriting, not a typical mass produced lettering that is perfect. I've always thought copywork was better than reproducibles for this reason - so the child doesn't feel inferior to a computer generated - formed letter. This way, the child is seeing an actual person's work and can emulate it, but still make it his own. I think my 8 year old really worked well with that as his example.
Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting takes a subject that my kids have struggled with for years and brings them an approach that made them feel successful. I am glad we had the opportunity to try it out, and I think we will continue to use it in the future.
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