Monday, May 31, 2010

TOS Crew Review: Peterson Directed Handwriting

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I volunteered to review the Peterson Directed Handwriting program. I was given several e-products to use with my children.

Peterson Directed Handwriting is a method and materials for teaching fluent print and cursive handwriting skills. The method calls for movement-based instruction with the goal of achieving fluency in writing.

Students will "develop a recording in the muscle memory" using the following steps:
  • illustrate and describe
  • write in the air and say
  • finger trace and say
  • write and say
I spent an hour on the phone with this vendor so that he could explain the concept to me and to help me choose which levels and products were appropriate for my kids. The saying part of the process above is very important. If the child stops "saying" as he writes, then he is relying on the visual cues of handwriting rather than a muscle "imprint".

Just by talking with the vendor I was able to learn how my children should be approaching their paper and it was most helpful to me to learn about my leftie. I7 is our only leftie and though he is a left hander, he approaches writing as a right-hander.

I have both the Cursive and Manuscript programs so use with my older and younger kids. The cost for the program is $29.95 for Cursive Step 4.

This program can help if you have a student struggling to put words on a page. Learning to write fluently will reduce frustration because he will no longer have to wrestle with the mechanics for writing on paper, instead using his time better by concentrating on the content of whatever he is writing.

This is a fantastic tool if you find yourself with a reluctant writer because she is encumbered with the writing itself. I also learned a great deal about working with my left-hander and how to change the pencil grip if you have any kids who hold a pencil improperly.

Each of my kids has a little idiosyncrasies when it comes to handwriting. I think using this method will help even my older kids to be more fluent. The question is, is it worth it to put in that extra ten minutes a day to correct this problem. I'm still on the fence about that, but the vendor says you'll see a difference in about 3 weeks.

It's worth it just to get in on an information session if you have an emerging writer. I'll update you on how the pencil grip and adventures with Mr. Leftie just as soon as I can.

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