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Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Peterson Directed Handwriting


Are you looking for a handwriting program that teaches more than trace and copy? Does your child often need more than one page worth of practice that handwriting books normally allow for? Is it hard for your child to write in a handwriting book, or does he/she complain about writing making their hands hurt? Peterson Directed Handwriting might be just what you are looking for!

Description: Peterson Directed Handwriting is not your typical trace and copy handwriting program. It is a method and materials for teaching fluid print and cursive handwriting skills. Their method uses training your muscles to make steps rhythmically instead of drawing letters from memory using 4 steps.

1.Illustrate and Describe-color/rhythm model exaggerates movement process and demonstrates start point and direction. Students are taught to chant action words.

2. Air Writing- write in the air while actions movements are chanted using various muscle groups: right hand, right elbow, left hand, left elbow, etc.

3. Finger Tracing- use pointer finger to trace color, rhythm strokes while chanting.

4. Write and Say- initially on unlined paper until consistency is mastered then make the switch to lined paper.

Proper paper placement and pencil holding are emphasized to produce good fluidity of movement and comfort while writing. Each level is sold as a separate E-Workbook. There a 3 levels for print: Print Step 1 for Kindergarten (68 pages), Print Step 2 for 1st grade (55 pages), and Print Step 3 Printing Fluidly (31 pages). There are also 4 levels for cursive. The cost of each E-book for an individual licence is $19.95, and a building licence is $29.95. Since you own the licence, this enables you to print out as many pages as you would like for your own personal use. You are able to view each E-book in its entirety (print function is disabled) by going here.

There is a lot of customer support on the Peterson Website. Live chat meetings are several times daily and there are several pages of information, slides shows and more here.

In their Web Store, they also sell tools such as pencil grippers, special pens, and tools for proper paper placement. These are not required but may be helpful to your child. You can find their Web store here.

How we used the product:I used Print Step 1 with Alex (6) and Anthony (5.) I printed off all of the pages of the E-Workbook and then laminated them so we could get more usage out of them without having to print out extra papers. The boys used a wet erase marker instead of a pencil on the laminated sheets so we could erase and use it over again. We did one letter a day and spent about 15-20 minutes a day on Handwriting.

What we liked: I like the concept of more than just a copy and trace method of handwriting. I liked having the pages printed out and flat on the table making it easier than writing in a workbook. I also liked that if your child is having trouble with a specific number or letter you can print as many copies as you need to use. The boys thought that the finger tracing and air writing was a lot of fun. They also enjoyed the fact that their handwriting work only took about 15-20 minutes a day. Also, you only have to buy the product once to and it can be used for multiple children which can be a huge cost savings over buying a new workbook for each child every year.

Some things to consider: There is not a whole lot of teacher instruction in the manual and there are no day to day lesson plans written out for you. In addition to the cost of buying the E-Workbook, you also have to factor in the additional cost of printing the pages out. The pages are in color to show the different strokes, but they can be printed in gray scale to save on the cost of colored ink. It is not the kind of program you can have your child do on their own. Parent involvement is required on this program.

My recommendation: I think it is a great program. Although there is not a lot of written teacher instruction there is excellent customer support. I have enjoyed using it with the boys and plan to continue using it throughout the school year.

I received complimentary copies of Print Step 1,2,and 3 for the purpose of using them with my children and writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

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