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.
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, providing an opportunity to learn to spell and read while working on handwriting, but I felt that it wasn’t focused on handwriting enough 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 I wanted more emphasis on multi-sensory to make those neurological connections deeper.
A Checklist to a Comprehensive Handwriting Curriculum
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 is just as important that kindergarteners are able to easily identify the direction and strokes that make up each letter.
✔️ Less is More: Breaking down each letter, number, and/or shapes into different strokes help children understand how they are formed, however the less strokes that children have to remember the better.
✔️ Multi-Purpose: With so many benchmarks that need to be met by the end of kindergarten, I needed my handwriting lessons to provide opportunities to teach other aspects of literauture.
✔️ Multi-Sensory: My son is an audible learner, so I really needed a curriculum that would incorporate an auditory experience as well as a kinesthetic and visual one.
✔️ Concise: Giving students less to trace is not only less stressful for them, but it also allows them to focus on how those 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, but it is much more proactive for those images to be used as a reminder of something related to the task of handwriting. Since letter formation requires so much concentration, they should still be used sparingly.
✔️ Carefully Ordered: With so many letters and numbers that look the same and sound the same, I though it would be important to intentionally teach letters in an an order that would provide the least confusion.
Ready? Get Set Go! Print™ is the curriculum I use today and it contains all of my expectations listed above and so much more! I know what you’re thinking, “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. Needless to say, I decided to create my own handwriting curriculum in the end. But don’t worry! I’ve made it available for you, too.
UPDATE : THE PRINT AND CURSIVE PACKET IS NOW AVAILABLE! The first 48 hour sale is now over. If you follow my TpT store you can be notified of any future sales on the packet for up to 20% off. (Hint, hint!)
Mark your calendars! On February 20th the handwriting curriculum that I know you and your students will LOVE will be available at half price for the first 48 hours. This is just the first of upcoming handwriting curriculums to come. This one will focus strictly on writing in manuscript. (Keep a look out for a matching cursive set.) Are you excited?
Ready? Get Set. Go! Print™ will be available February 20th!
Is there something that you could use in your handwriting lesson? Did I missed anything? Is there anything that you’ve always wished to see in a handwriting program? Let me know in the comments below.