I have been selected to review a curriculum on handwriting entitled Peterson Directed Handwriting. Although Peterson offers instruction on print and cursive, my review will be focused strictly on print. The product I used was called Print Step 1. This particular E-book was 68 pages long and included instructions and practice sheets for each of the letters of the alphabet as well as the numbers. The cost for this E-book is $29.95 and it came with everything I needed to teach my young child how to print. The great thing about this program is it’s very easy to integrate into whatever reading/phonic’s program you choose, without it being ‘too much’ for a young child to handle. So if your phonic’s program is teaching the letter ‘a’ just use the letter ‘a’ sheet from Peterson’s Print Step 1 E-book for the daily handwriting instruction. When you review with phonics, review with Peterson as well. It’s that simple. And since it’s an E-book, you can make as many copies as you need and use it with multiple children.(Note: they offer Teacher books and Workbooks, as well as E-books)
Their website offers a wealth of information, resources, and products such as the Animated Letters CD that actually show the child the letter being drawn. Another special thing offered by this company is an Information Directory full of presentations to educate and train you in the use of their product and handwriting in general. The hardest part about reviewing this product was, there was SO much information, it was difficult to take it all in. Hopefully this review as well as the others from the TOS Homeschool Crew will help.
There are also several different kits and tools to choose from depending on your specific needs. The kit that interested me most was the Homeschool Kit Complete, Prek and K (Print Writing) which costs $44.70 and comes with the teacher and student books, color models, position guides, “Finger Fitter” triangular shaped pencils, and Animated Letters CD.
They offer individual products and kits for all age groups/grades. To learn more about their products click here.
The idea behind Peterson is basically that the old method of copy and trace is not the best when trying to train the brain and hand to coordinate and remember the motions needed to write.
Instead Peterson Handwriting teaches a simple 4 step process that uses sight (color), motion (both gross and small motor), and voice (rhythm):
- Illustrate & Describe Using a large model of the letter being taught you will show and tell the child how to make the letter. Each letter has specific ‘action words’ that explain how to make it, and each ‘action’ is shown using one of two colors, this helps the child see how to write each stroke. Using these action words over and over will further ingrain the method into the child's memory. For example with the capital ‘L’ you would say “tall down” and “slide” as you show him/her how to write the letter. Then if you have another letter that uses either of those strokes, such as the capital letter ‘I’ that also uses “tall down” the child will again remember and reinforce the stroke he’s already learned. If you think about it, all the print letters can be made using very few different stokes.
- Air writing with Action Words You will once again use the action words that you taught in step one, but this time you have the child use his/her gross motor skills to air write the word over and over. We used our elbows, feet, and hands to make it fun. The idea is to establish a rhythm to help them remember the steps. The only thing is, this doesn’t get it from their brain to their paper. For that they will need step 3.
- Finger trace with Action Words Now the fine motor skills will be put to use by tracing the letter with their pointer finger. They will again, say the action words as they trace.
- Write & Say Now it’s time to use the pencil. They will not trace the letter, instead they will write the letter while saying the action words.
This method proved to be very effective with my 4 yr old son. Not only was he able to learn how to write his name, but hopefully, with all the repetition involved, he’ll remember how to write his name. Below you will see a picture of his “signature” before Peterson and after Peterson. This was achieved fairly quick. We spent three days learning. He learned ‘L’ and ‘u’ the first day, ‘c’ and ‘a’ the second day and we worked on ‘s’ by itself because I knew it would be his most difficult letter to write. Each day we reviewed what was previously taught and he always remembered the action words and movements. I plan to use this method with him and my 3 year old daughter this year as we learn a letter a week in phonics.
Lucas couldn't even copy the letters correctly before Peterson. He had only learned his “L” at that point.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.