Reading Level: K-8
Reviewed by Kathy Davis
My second grader whines and complains about writing.
“I can’t do it.” “I don’t like it.” “I’m tired.”
I hear this over and over, and frankly, I’m tired too.
So, the chance to try Peterson Directed Handwriting couldn’t have come at a more convenient time.
Peterson Directed handwriting has been around since 1908, and the emphasis is a movement-based strategy where you use a “grammar of action to direct the learning”. The child learns the letter directions that form the letters (slant, slant roll, slant dot, etc.) They discourage copying letterforms; rather the child learns the pattern of the letter, and “air writing” is suggested. You’ll see the manual speaks to the traditional classroom teacher, but everything can be adapted to our own homeschools. It’s important to take a little time to review the method, but after that the lessons are easy to follow.
The one thing I found very different from other handwriting programs I’ve tried is this directs the student to write at a slant, so the student can see the letters as they are writing, and can see where they are going. They do provide a guide page to help with set up the paper. This was the only part my son found challenging. He had never written at a slant, so it did take quite a bit or reinforcing, but at least he was willing to try. But, even after trying it, he just didn’t catch on to the slant. What I found made a huge difference in my son’s handwriting was simply following their suggestions for proper posture and pencil holding, and it helped that they send two cool triangular pencils. He loves writing with them, and consistently checks to be sure he doesn’t have a death grip on the pencil. Who would have thought something so simple could bring about a big change, but it did. He learned to hold his pencil properly and then just “slid” it across the page and voila! The letters came so easy!
This program does progress to cursive and there are different levels to choose, we started with Grade two Gross motor Cursive Readiness. Printing is first introduced and practiced for about 6 weeks, then the basic cursive instruction if the child is ready. Not ready? Then you have the option of continuing print writing instruction – this unit is at the back of the teacher’s manual.
Oh, the other thing you’ll get with this program is an interactive CD that shows the formation of the letters and a music CD that has catchy sing-alongs – another big hit with my little guy. He is an auditory learner, so music helps him tremendously to remember things.
You may want to look at Peterson directed handwriting if you have a child who is struggling in writing and would like to try a different approach, or if you don’t already have a writing/cursive program. You can buy it at: http://www.peterson-handwriting.com
The cost is 38.55 for the complete grade 2 kit, or 15.05 for just the student and teacher manual.
You’ll also find helpful information on their Information Directory page. They have several pages that discuss some reasons for why children may be having problems with the fluency of their writing, such as ergonomics with the left-handed child.