Let’s take a personal tour through the entire print handwriting curriculum that will spark your child’s interest!
Before we begin, if you’ve made mistakes teaching handwriting, it is still possible to turn things around! Improve your lessons by learning the skills necessary to begin penmanship and how handwriting can be consequential. After learning these foundations, I gained a clear picture of what the ultimate handwriting curriculum might feature.
After comparing curriculums, I was still unsatisfied. I wanted handwriting to be entertaining while focusing on proper letter formation. Cutesy distractions were not an option, nor was daunting, strenuous copy work. After some time, I finally settled on creating a curriculum for my kids. Today, I am sharing the details of that curriculum with you.
I created Ready? Get Set. Print!™ with young learners in mind. This curriculum will engage your young writers and encourage them to imagine without the distractions of cutesy clipart. My struggles with teaching handwriting inspired each lesson of this handwriting packet. I hope that it helps other struggling students to write without being overwhelmed.
What is Different About This Handwriting Curriculum?
The more ways children can learn, the more information they retain. Multi-sensory activities work well because they deliver various ways to grasp a concept. Each child has different ways they comprehend information best. I have done my best to reach as many learning profiles as possible in Ready? Get Set. Print!™.
In this curriculum, students learn nine strokes that are divided into six 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 out the names of each letter stroke while tracing them.
Each handwriting stroke is color-coded and coordinated with a picture icon for further assistance in memory. Each icon models a similar motion of the letter 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 will 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
Tracing without guidance ends up in letter reversals and improper letter formation. You may have seen practice sheets with fonts that number and show the direction of each path cluttering each letter. However, they are often difficult for young learners to see and follow.
In this curriculum, letter strokes are introduced separately within focused lessons. During the first few weeks, students become familiar with each handwriting stroke. Handwriting strokes are introduced with posters (shown below), stroke exercises (acting out the motion of each letter stroke), and drawing.
Introducing strokes first, teach students that each letter has a specific path that is easiest to follow. Each stroke becomes a puzzle piece that will later aid students in concentrating on the path of motion for each letter.
Peaking Interest in Penmanship Through Drawing Activities
Over the next two 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 review the letter strokes previously introduced. Through these activities, children discover that combining handwriting strokes create characters and shapes.
There are a total of three drawing activities. The picture below shows the last two reviews of the letter strokes.
When students have mastered and memorized all letters, they move on to learn the stroke combinations that form each letter. This is where students 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
Each letter receives a week of focus to master stroke combinations and letter sounds. A weekly schedule repeats tracing practice and hands-on activities for each letter. Additionally, other literary components, such as grammar and punctuation, are woven throughout the lessons.
Mondays – Introducing Letter Stroke Combinations
First, students begin the week by learning the handwriting stroke combination for the given letter. The first two lessons, break down the handwriting stroke for each letter. These pages aid students in committing to memory the motion of each letter.
The picture above shows the first two pages dedicated to the letter M. These pages break down the handwriting strokes for uppercase and lowercase M.
* Teachers can modify these handwriting lessons easily to teach uppercase and lowercase separately (more about that below under Modifying Handwriting Lessons).
The next three leasons are half-page sizes. The quick practice allows students to focus on proper letter formation, without struggling to finish the lesson. This will result in fewer mistakes and correct letter formation.
Tuesdays – Practicing Writing Letters
Next, 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. The last three handwriting pages include letter phonemes for phonics discussion.
Students continue to review letter sounds with phonogram flashcards. The phonogram cards include color-coded letter strokes on the front. Colored frames indicate the initial letter stroke. (In the picture below, notice the red frame for Ding; 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/ as in “mat”)
- handwriting stroke icons to clarify the letter stroke combinations.
The back of the flashcard (shown below) includes letter strokes: Ding, Clack, Clack, Ding. This is the letter stroke combination for uppercase M.
Then, the practice continues with a half-page of three lines. The fourth line reviews retired letters. This review line contains a variety of sentence structures, punctuation, and other grammatical elements for practical application and opportunities 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, capital I, and being verbs.
Have you noticed from the pictures that the letter M is the eighth lesson? 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 provides students a variety of line sizes that will help determine 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 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 fragments as best as 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:
- Blank Page
- Lowercase Letters
- Uppercase Letters
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/nameplates, 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?
Finally, 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!