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Backpacker's Alphabet Cursive Penmanship e-book

By Joy Marie Dunlap
LightHome Publications

27695 Blue Diamond Lane
Romoland, CA 92585-901

Both outdoor enthusiasts and novices will enjoy this book of copywork dedicated to backpacking! Don't be surprised if your students start begging to go on an outdoor adventure as a result of using it.

Backpacker's Alphabet is a 32-page book of copywork for grades 4-9. The book comes as an e-book in PDF format; after paying for it, you simply download it to your computer and print out what you need. It's immediately available, and you have no shipping charges! There are 26 pages of handwriting practice, one for each letter of the alphabet. The book is sort of a primer about backpacking, and your students will read and copy paragraphs about Aluminum dishes, Fire starters, Nylon rope and Zip bags. Here's what you'll learn about Mirrors:

What do a mirror, a CD, and a soft drink can have in common? All three can be used to reflect light so you can be found and rescued if you are ever lost. Planes can see reflected light from a CD from twenty miles away. Be sure and have at least one of these reflectors along when you backpack.

Every page has something equally informative and interesting! They are also illustrated with black-and-white and color clip art.

After the handwriting pages, you'll find a two-page introduction to backpacking. Mrs. Dunlap grew up in an active outdoor family, and has much experience backpacking. It was very inspiring reading for me, considering I've never backpacked before.

For cursive practice, the model sentences are in a basic cursive font. It's not too slanted, not too loopy, and very easy to read. The copywork passages are fun and fascinating reading, with eight to nine lines for copying below. One drawback might be that the guidelines are very small. They are even smaller than the model text. I found them a bit difficult to write on myself. This could be hard for younger students. Note that there is no cursive instruction in this copybook.

How do you use this book? There are many ways to make it fit your school. You can print only the sheets you need as you need them. Another option might be to print them all out, store them in a folder, and hand them out as needed. You can also print them all and make them into a book, hole punching and inserting them into a report cover or binder, or stapling them with a heavy-duty stapler. I printed mine on regular white printer paper, and it seems durable enough for writing. It seems to me that printing them all out at once is the best way to make sure you don't forget about them. I absolutely love the convenience of e-books and have downloaded many to my computer, but I do find that I forget about them if I don't print them right away.

This copybook is a very large file. Be patient when downloading, and make sure your Internet connection doesn't time out or "crash" or you'll have to start over. It took me several tries to get my copy downloaded, but it was worth the effort! I just love this copybook, and I know you will too.

Product review by Jennifer Loucks, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, August 2009

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