With the universal presence of computers and the Internet, handwriting might not seem like an important or even relevant skill to master in our modern world. These days even shopping lists and sticky notes can be recorded on iPhones or Blackberries. Why teach our kids to write with pencils? Short of the apocalypse, we aren't likely to see PSDs or computers go away; rather, they're going to proliferate and we'll have to adapt.
While these predictions may be accurate, the most obvious response is that any skill that allows a person to excel independent of technology is probably a good one. Even more fundamentally, however, teaching kids to write well as a sure way to hone their fine motor skills in a way mashing buttons will never do. To that end, Evan-Moor Handwriting offers workbooks for students to practice their handwriting skills every day.
In the words of the publisher: "The premise behind Daily Handwriting Practice is simple and straightforward—frequent, focused practice of a skill leads to mastery and retention of that skill." Each worktext includes one 36-week schoolyear's worth of daily assignments, with half-page lessons to be completed Monday-Thursday followed by a full-page lesson on Friday.
There are no frills here. Both the Contemporary Cursive and Traditional Cursive books teach a Zaner-Bloser cursive style with a few minor differences. Modern Manuscript follows the modern D'Nealian style, and Traditional Manuscript is similar to both Zaner-Bloser and Palmer manuscript. Skills covered include letter formation and placement, and letter and word spacing. Students can work on their own as all lessons are copywork-based.
These books can be used either as supplements or as a primary handwriting course. Since students will likely be getting handwriting practice in other subjects (writing essays, recording math answers, etc.), these work well as solitary supplements, reinforcing the skills kids are developing in more organic situations.
The Evan-Moor Daily Handwriting Practice books are intuitively presented and organized for both parents and students, making these an excellent choice for families who can't or don't want to spend inordinate amounts of time on a peripheral yet important subject like handwriting. Each lesson can be completed in ten to fifteen minutes, and yet it's not just busywork—kids actually learn and improve. Overall, these are an excellent resource, and one not likely to cause tension or headaches.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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