Before I began looking for what I needed in a handwriting curriculum, I had to understand why a solid foundation in handwriting is so crucial. Knowing the importance of handwriting gave me the understanding to meet the specific needs of my children. I found out that meeting those needs would ultimately benefit my kids in every other subject area. In Part 2 of this series we talked about those benefits as well as how the wrong foundation in penmanship can be harmful to young students. Once I understood the importance of fluid handwriting, I knew exactly what I needed in a handwriting curriculum.
What Popular Handwriting Curriculums Lacked
After scouring the internet for the ultimate handwriting program, I found three that were my favorite. Rhythm of Handwriting by Denise Eide, Spelling You See Level A: Listen and Write, and Handwriting Without Tears. Although I admired each of these products in one area, they all fell short in another area that I was searching for.
Spelling You See did a great job at multi-purposing each lesson. Each lesson provided an opportunity to learn to spell and read while working on handwriting. But handwriting didn’t get enough attention for my children to truly master it.
I enjoyed the way that Rhythm of Handwriting broke down each letter into individual strokes and provided a script to describe each movement, but with over 35 different strokes to learn it became overwhelming.
Handwriting Without Tears’ lessons were concise and engaging for children, however the pictures brought back terrible memories of distraction during the crucial steps of letter formation and my son craved auditory learning early on. I wanted to do everything I could to make those neurological connections deeper.
How Comprehensive Can a Handwriting Curriculum Get?
I continued to search for more ways to make my handwriting instruction time more productive and interesting all at the same time. Before finding the ultimate handwriting curriculum, I first decided what I expected and desired in one.
✔️ Letter Formation : I believe that letter formation should take precedence of the overall curriculum. It’s just as important that kindergarteners are able to easily identify the direction and path of each letter.
✔️ Less is More : When each character is broken down into different strokes, children can easily see how characters are formed. However, the less strokes that children have to remember the better.
✔️ Multi-Purpose : With so many benchmarks that need to be met, I needed my handwriting lessons to do more! I needed opportunities to teach other aspects of literature.
✔️ Multi-Sensory: My son is an audible learner, so I really needed a curriculum that incorporated an auditory experience. The more ways students can make connections, the better.
✔️ Concise : Less tracing is less stressful. It also allows students to focus on how letters are correctly formed. It’s far more effective to perfect the direction and stroke of each letter one at a time, than it is to write a letter incorrectly again and again .
✔️ Carefully Placed Images : Images are a great way for visual learners to be taught. Yet, when those images become a distraction they provide no value. Images that serve as a reminder of something relative to the task of handwriting is much more proactive. Since letter formation requires a lot of concentration, images should still appear sparingly.
✔️ Carefully Ordered: There are many letters and numbers that look the same or sound similar. Lessons that are intentional with the order of letters would provides the least confusion.
Alas! All That I Was Searching For!
“How did you meet all of those expectations in one curriculum? ”
Great question! It wasn’t easy. I did a ton of research and continued my hunt. In the end, I decided to create my own handwriting curriculum and now it is available for you!
I cannot walk through the entire curriculum within this post. However, you can check out the infographic below to get a sneak peek of what’s included and I will take you on a personal curriculum tour in the next blog post.
Ready? Get Set. Go! Print™ is the handwriting packet I use today and it contains all of my expectations listed above and so much more!
In the next blog post of this series, I’m going to dive deep into each lesson of this curriculum and share what sets it apart from the rest.
Is there something you could use in your handwriting lesson?
Did I missed anything? Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to see in a handwriting program? Let me know in the comments below.