I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July! To celebrate, I’m going to give you a personal tour through the print handwriting curriculum that will spark your students’ interest!
First, let’s recap. We giggled over the mistakes I’ve made teaching handwriting. We’ve discussed the skills necessary to begin penmanship and why proper handwriting is so important to start with. Then, I shared what I thought the ultimate handwriting curriculum would contain.
In the last post, I compared a few popular curriculums and discussed what I enjoyed about them and a few things that I felt that they could’ve benefited from one another. Today, I’m going to share with you the details of the Ready? Get Set. Go! Print™ curriculum.
I created this handwriting curriculum with young learners in mind. It will engage your students and encourage them to imagine without the distractions of cutesy clipart and without the overwhelm. My struggles with teaching handwriting has inspired this curriculum. It is my hope that it may help other struggling teachers.
The following details are quickly referenced in the Lesson Plan and Teacher Guide included in the curriculum.
What is Different About This Handwriting Curriculum?
The more ways that students can learn, the more information students retain. That is why multi sensory and the theory of multiple intelligences work so well. I’ve done my best to reach as many learning profiles as possible in Ready? Get Set. Go! Print™.
In this curriculum, students learn 9 strokes that are divided into 6 larger categories. Categories are named after catchy onomatopoeias that aid students by engaging their senses throughout each lesson: Ding, Zip, Clack, Boing, Swoosh, and Splash.
To encourage memorization, students call the names of each letter stroke while tracing each. For further memory-assistance, each handwriting stroke in this print curriculum is color-coded and coordinated with an icon. The icons model a similar motion of the stroke’s path. Students use their imagination to illustrate these movements, all the while guiding them through their penmanship practice.
Once students master the strokes, they then focus on one letter a week. As students write each letter they continue to call out each stroke name, helping them to memorize stroke combinations that form each letter.
Why Simply Tracing Isn’t Working
During the first week, students become familiar with handwriting strokes that form characters and shapes. We introduce handwriting strokes through posters, stroke exercises (acting out the motion of each letter stroke), and impromptu drawing. Introducing strokes first, teach students that each letter has a specific path that is easiest to follow.
Peaking Interest in Penmanship Through Drawing Activities
Over the next three weeks, students ease into tracing strokes along with continuing stroke exercises. The picture below shows the very first tracing lesson of the handwriting stroke, “Ding“. The student calls out “Ding” each time they trace the stroke on that page.
Once two new strokes are learned, students review with a drawing activity. This is where students trace a picture of shapes and objects to recap using the letter strokes previously introduced.
There are a total of 3 drawing activities (reviews) for lessons A, B, and C. The picture below shows the review of letter strokes from Lesson B.1.
When all the strokes have been mastered and memorized, students then move on to learn the stroke combinations that form each letter. This is where calling out stroke names become increasingly beneficial.
As they call out the stroke names, they will begin to see a pattern of stroke combinations specific to each letter. This will guide them through each letter formation, helping the students memorize the order and path of each letter, ensuring mastery.
Letter Practice Centered Around Proper Letter Formation
Students spend a week focusing and mastering stroke combinations and letter sounds for one letter. Each day includes repeated activities for each letter. Additionally, they will also review retired letters throughout the curriculum and have opportunities to learn and discuss other literary elements.
Mondays – Introducing Letter Stroke Combinations
Firstly, students begin the week learning the letter stroke combination for the letter of the week. The picture below shows the first two pages dedicated to letter M. This page breaks down the handwriting strokes for uppercase and lowercase M.
While progressing to other lessons, the first two pages for each letter should be used as often as needed. These pages aid students in committing to memory the motion of each letter.
* Teachers can modify these handwriting lessons easily to teach uppercase and lowercase separately (more about that below under Modifying Handwriting Lessons).
The last three pages are half-page sizes. Students can then focus on proper letter formation, instead of struggling to finish the lesson. This results in fewer mistakes and correct letter formation. Which is far more advantageous than completing numerous letters incorrectly.
The last three handwriting pages include letter phonemes for phonics discussion.
Tuesdays – Practicing Writing Letters
Then, students begin with a fun warm up (as shown in the picture below). Students write the letter of the week and draw a picture that begins with the sound of that letter. This is a great opportunity to talk exclusively about the letter sounds.
Students continue review letter sounds with phonogram flash cards. The phonogram cards include color-coded letter strokes on the front. Colored frames indicate the initial letter stroke. (In the picture below notice that there is a red frame for the Ding stroke : The first stroke for lowercase and uppercase M.)
On the back of each phonogram card there are 3 helpful aids :
- word examples for each phoneme (/m/ is for “mat”)
- handwriting stroke icons to clarify the letter stroke combinations.
The back of the flash card (shown below) include the letter strokes : Ding, Clack, Clack, Ding. This is the letter stroke combination for uppercase M.
After that, practice continues with a half-page of 3 lines. The fourth line reviews retired letters. This review line contains a variety of sentences, sentence fragments, and punctuation for practical application and opportunity to introduce/discuss other literature components.
Take a look at the picture below to see an example for letter M. According to the review line for letter M, this would be a great week to discuss declarative sentences.
Have you noticed from the pictures that letter M is the seventh lesson? That is because the seventh letter introduced in the curriculum is letter M. The letters are carefully ordered to prevent letter reversals and confusion with letter sounds.
In addition, Lesson 7-D introduces a third line size. This is to give students a variety of line sizes to see which they are more comfortable with and whether they need to work on fine motor skills.
Wednesdays – Perfecting Letter Formation
Subsequently, students continue with the same tracing page. They exercise automatic letter formation, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills with letter tracing mats (pictured below).
Thursdays – Continued Handwriting Practice
After that, students continue with lesson 7-D, offering repeated exposure to the spelling patterns and grammar shown on the review line. Students complete the letter M page of their tactile alphabet book and use exercise their letter sounds to complete the sentence at the bottom of the page (pictured below).
Fridays – Showing of Our Best Handwriting
Last, students build the letter with cut out and color-coded letter strokes (see image below).
The last page for each letter looks similar to the previous page, except the review line is blank. There are several ways to use this line :
- FLUENCY : Students can use this line to draw their best letter without any tracing help.
- MEMORY : Students think about the spelling, grammar, and punctuation discussed that week. Students copy the sentence or sentence fragments as best they can remember.
- CHALLENGE : Students sound out words with previously taught letters.
Modifying Handwriting Lessons
Additionally, I’ve included bonus pages for those who would like to have extra practice or to modify the lessons. :
- Tracing pages with uppercase letters
- Tracing pages with lowercase letters
- A blank page. (Students can use the blank page to show off their best handwriting and enter phonemes without assistance.)
Furthermore, this packet includes two phoneme options : primary and advanced options (for upper grades who need a short penmanship review – great for morning work.)
I hope you enjoyed this detailed tour of the new print handwriting curriculum! I didn’t even mention the Teacher Guide (21 pages), the matching alphabet banners and desk/name plates, or the Reference Guide that are all included. There is so much packed into this curriculum!
Are you looking for a multi sensory print handwriting curriculum? Then, look no further! This curriculum will have your kids enjoying penmanship. They won’t realize they were mastering literacy, phonics, and penmanship skills.
Could Your Handwriting Lessons Be Better?
Lastly, please let me know if this series has been helpful to you? Maybe you didn’t need a new print handwriting curriculum. Maybe it sparked some ideas of how you can make your current one better? Share with me in the comments below how this post might have inspired you. I love hearing your stories!