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New American Cursive 1 Review by Lisa RupertusMemoria Press
4603 Poplar Level Road
Louisville, KY 40213
Teaching Cursive in school has almost become controversial with so many schools opting out. I knew it was a subject that I wanted my children to learn but was unsure how to approach teaching it. New American Cursive 1 Penmanship from Memoria Press has been an asset to our learning.
Author Iris Hatfield begins the book with information on why teaching cursive writing is so important. This has helped reassure my doubts about starting this course in first grade, when it is recommended. The spiral-bound book is a teaching guide and workbook in one. It is designed to take students no more than 15-20 minutes per day.
Students will learn the importance of posture, paper position,and pencil position, as well as size, slant, and spacing. The mascot, Mr. Meerkat, follows them throughout the book as a cute and encouraging tip and instruction giver. After some basic stroke practice, the book then goes on to introduce each letter alphabetically. There is an instruction page, practice page, and play page (which provides space for practice and artwork.) After every three letters, there is a review to practice the letters you’ve just learned. At the end of the book, you will find some additional instruction for connecting words (a skill that is applied throughout) and copywork.
I used this book with my kindergarten student, who is six years old. I would open the book to the instructional page and have my son use his finger to trace the letter. Then I would show him on my whiteboard how to form the letters while verbalizing the book’s instructions. I would have him complete the practice sheet and use my whiteboard for additional practice. We focused our attention for a few days practicing each letter before moving onto the practice page and play page. I found that this helped cement the skill for him. Working for about ten minutes each day was the perfect amount of time for his attention span.
I found this course very easy to teach. It doesn’t have a bunch of bells and whistles, being only a black-and-white printed workbook, but the beauty was in the simplicity. My son looked forward to and even asked to work on his cursive. He was very proud of his accomplishments. One thing I wish they had done was add additional practice space for each letter. We used our whiteboard to fill this gap, but Memoria Press has a Cursive Practice Sheets book that goes along with this course—this is something we will be using as we move forward. Overall, I found this to be a wonderful course, and I am pleased with the success we’ve seen so far.
-Product review by Lisa Rupertus, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017