Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peterson Directed Handwriting TOS Crew Review

Peterson Directed Handwriting

Snail Mail 315 S Maple Ave. Greensburg PA 15601

Phone 724 . 837 . 4900

ABC's and 123's cursive Cursive Step 1 (for Kindergarten)
Cursive Step 2
Cursive Step 3

I was given these three to review, all of which are e-books.

An Individual License is $19.95. This gives the purchaser the rights to download the purchased book and make as many copies as needed, thus eliminating the need to prepare practice pages or make copies for other students in their homeschool. It's possible to view the entire E-Books online before purchasing them, but printing is not possible until after purchase.

Hard copies of the books and Teachers guides are also available for Kindergarten through 8th grade level. These include Step 4 and two books of Word Masters.

Peterson also offers a CD called Animated Letter Cards which shows the strokes and method for writing each letter. They also offer a wide range of handwriting aids from triangular shaped pencils and special pens as well as guides to help position the paper on the table. The prices vary for item. There is an order form that can be opened which shows the full product line. While these products look to be very helpful, they are not necessary to implement the writing program.

Peterson also has several products to teach print handwriting.

The idea behind Peterson Directed Handwriting is to fully engage the brain as the process of handwriting is learned. This is done with encouraging the student to make the shapes in the air with their finger while saying the name of the shape, finger tracing the shapes and the letter on the page and then using a pencil to write the shapes on lined paper. The practice of tracing with a crayon or pencil is discouraged. There is also a fairly amount of attention to fluency, or the speed at which putting words on paper occurs.

The Peterson website is a treasure trove of information about Handwriting instruction and research. They even have a detailed article about helping left handers learn to write nicely. I have spent time looking at the site on several occasions and have found so much information, but have had trouble remembering where I found some specific information. That is probably due to the abundance of information presented.

The customer support is excellent. Mr Nelson is very willing to assist customers understand the reasoning behind the program and help them implement the program to reap the most benefit for the young writer. The website lists Mr. Nelson's email address in several as a way to contact him with questions or comments. He also makes use of a meeting room which allows for immediate answers of questions and information.

As the titles suggest these three books are progressive in what they introduce. ABC's and 123's introduces four basic strokes and shows them in use in the letters. When the letters are formed a different color is used to help differentiate the strokes. The Step 2 book reviews the basic strokes and has some practice of individual letters as well as beginning short word practice. It also begins to join letters. Capital letters are practiced after small letters. Step 3 briefly reviews common letter strokes and joining strokes before moving onto more joining strokes. There is lots of practice with words, as well as continuing capital letters. There is also a review of which capitals join and which do not. Each of these books begins with several pages explaining the reasoning behind the way the program is set up and gives info regarding how to assess a students writing and how to correct a specific problem which in turn will likely improve the overall quality of writing. Also stressed throughout the program is proper pencil grip as well as arm and paper position. Paying attention to these mechanics will cause less stress and make the act of writing less laborious.

Using Peterson Directed Handwriting in my Homeschool

We have used the ABC's and 123's book and Cursive Step 2 book and found them to be very thorough. While my children have not been thrilled with the idea of air writing or saying the names of the strokes while they are practicing them, they have seen that it does indeed help them in forming the strokes and words. Several times when they wrote without the verbal references their finished strokes were not as neat. I have also seen (or heard) the verbal cues seeping into other writing activities.

When I first received the e-books and looked through them I was totally overwhelmed. It just seemed so complicated. However, after studying them further and reading articles on the website I became more comfortable enough with them to teach them. After using them it has become easier to figure out.

After using Peterson, my 6 year old son has learned that there is a particular form and method to cursive, not just attaching them with extra lines wherever he thinks they should connect.

My 9 year old was writing in cursive prior to using the program, but I think using the verbal and kinesthetic aspects of Peterson has aided her letter formation and helped her to think about what she is doing. While we have used this program I have seen her speed increase slightly and am confident it will continue with continued practice.

  • I like the option to print as many copies as I need for practice. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt for the student to do well on a particular stroke or letter.
  • The Peterson website is a valuable resource for information and ideas to teach penmanship. There are articles on many topics of interest.
  • The ABC's and 123's book has a page for each letter which shows the Capital and small letters, as well as several pictures beginning with that letter and the word spelled out in unconnected cursive letters.

  • It may be difficult to help the student overcome reluctance to use the verbal cues while writing.
  • The website is not the easiest to use to determine which specific product is desired and the cost for it.

My Summary:

I really like the program and will continue to use it with my children. I have also found the articles on the website to be helpful. However, I am confused with determining prices and products at the website.

See what other crew members are saying here at the Crew Blog.

Disclaimer: I was given the 3 e-books referenced above to use in my homeschool in exchange for my honest opinion. I have not received any other compensation for this review. The ideas expressed here are solely my own.

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