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New American Cursive Penmanship: Workbook 2 with Famous Quotations & Scripture Review by Melissa Batai

Iris Hatfield
Memoria Press
4603 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213

New American Cursive Penmanship: Penmanship Program Workbook 2 with Famous Quotations & Scripture by Iris Hatfield is the second in a series of three books by Hatfield that teach cursive. This book includes eight pages of teacher instruction in the beginning. The early pages of the book include a review of each letter, including both capital and lowercase, as well as a test page for students to write in their best cursive. Throughout the book, there are occasional test pages so students (and teachers) can measure progress made. This book caters to the 2nd to 4th grade level and includes fun memory techniques such as telling students that letter connections come in three forms—smile, grin, and jump. There are pages that include single-letter practice;some that include word practice; some that are blank so students can practice writing about their own topic, such as writing about their favorite book; and pages that include famous quotes and Bible verses such as “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” There are 125 lessons total in the book. Parents and children will appreciate that the binding is at the top of the book, so it can easily be used for left- or right-hand learners.

This product is ideal for parents who want to give their children an early start to learning cursive. Hatfield uses little memory techniques, like referring to letters going to the basement, first floor, or second floor to help children learn. So, for instance, the lowercase “f” starts at the first floor, goes up to the second floor, and then down to the basement before returning to the first floor. This provides an easy visual, helping children learn faster. This product is used by homeschoolers as well as schools, including Highlands Latin School.

I used this book with my 2nd grader who had done some cursive work last year in first grade. We did a lesson a day, four days a week. She appreciated learning that some letters, particularly the “b,”“o,”“v,” and “w,” don’t bend down to the baseline to connect, so the adjoining letters have to change shape slightly to connect with those four letters. The explanation made sense to her. She also enjoyed the meerkat that appeared throughout the book. At $22.95, I appreciated the price and that the lessons were informative but not too long.

This is the third cursive program that we’ve used, and this one is a keeper. Some of the cursive books available on the market don’t really give kids an explanation of why certain things are done when writing cursive, but this book provides thorough explanations. I appreciate that.

There is only one suggestion I have for improvement. On some pages, there is a list of words for children to write. I’d like to see each word on its own line, rather than in a horizonal list at the top of the page. For younger learners, having each word written in dashes first so the student can practice would also be helpful.

If you would like a cursive program that provides clear instruction for your child as well as for you, the teacher, and also allows your child to practice writing famous quotes and scripture, New American Cursive Penmanship: Workbook 2 with Famous Quotations & Scripture may be just the book you’re looking for.

-Product review by Melissa Batai, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017