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EFSAP Printing Made Easy Review by Jodi Galland and Missica Pullen

EFSAP Establishing Foundational Skills for Academic Performance
Meadowbrook Educational Services
1 (509) 443-1737
11011 S Cedar Rd.
Spokane, WA 99224 USA

Parents, tutors, teachers, and therapists can help children build foundational writing skills using Printing Made Easy. This complete printing curriculum from EFSAP – Establishing Foundational Skills for Academic Proficiency was developed for ages four and up. While helping children with letter formation, left-right confusion, and other early skills, Printing Made Easy begins each lesson with a technique to help children to relax and prepare to focus on their tasks. Fine and gross motor skills are practiced with various exercises which align with the lesson, often crossing the body's midline.

When children have not learned or are weak in the necessary pre-writing skills, they often encounter feelings of stress and self-consciousness. The writing experience is awkward and uncomfortable. Using the helpful exercises taught in Printing Made Easy, prepares the children to learn and builds the physical skills necessary to write well. Pre-writing and printing skills, hand coordination skills, and hand-eye coordination skills are all part of this program, which is broken into three levels.

Level 1 – Pre-writing. These first four lessons use activities, hand exercises, and finger tracing to introduce the vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and curve strokes necessary to form letters and numbers. Writing utensils aren't needed just yet.

Level 2 – Arm movement and control for forming letters. Lessons 5-9 teach capital letters grouped by the beginning strokes. In lesson eight, that would be B P D R J and U. Notice how similar these letters are.

Level 3 – Arm movement. In lessons 10-14, students learn lowercase letters and numerals. Lessons 10-12 are lowercase letters. In lesson 13, children learn to write their own names, and lesson 14 teaches number formation. At the end of the course, is lesson 15, an assessment.

Each lesson is on a four-day schedule and instructions are scripted for ease of use. Friendly characters are associated with the three parts of each lesson. Symbol guides children to understand the process, Mozart is all about motor skills, and Lino aids in visual discrimination and other foundational skills. These basic skills are required for controlling pencils, crayons, and scissors, understanding left/right concepts, and the knowledge that letters and numbers are symbols that represent sounds and quantities.

While the early lessons are devoted to finger tracing, later lessons in the workbook each have several pages meant for practicing the lines and circular shapes being taught as well as the letters and numbers. The printing space is ruled at about 7/16” which I really like. Even though Printing Made Easy can be used by children as young as three years old, the writing area is much smaller than typical paper for that age. We especially loved writing the “loop-de-loops.” The lessons also include cutting and coloring exercises.

The handy shipping box makes a sturdy storage space to keep all of the curriculum components together. For $71.99, Printing Made Easy includes teacher supplies and everything needed to teach one child.A coil bound soft cover workbook

  • A scripted 52-page paperback manual
  • White board and dry-erase marker
  • Double sided alphabet strip with upper and lowercase letters
  • Number strip
  • Two double sided arrow charts which guide you in teaching and practicing directions (up, down, left, right).
  • Thin paper for crumpling exercises
  • Write Size writing pencils, one for age 2-6 and one for age 6-10. These half-length pencils are specially engineered for small hands and aid with grip and pencil control.

It is recommended that letter names be taught with uppercase letters and sounds later taught with lowercase letters. Instruction on teaching sounds is not included. Printing Made Easy teaches capital letters first, which I have found to be problematic with some children who refuse to switch to lower case for regular writing.

Length of lessons are based on the child's age and are short enough to keep the attention of children just learning these skills. The founders of EFSAP are passionate about helping children of all ages and abilities develop these early writing skills. Printing Made Easy teaches the abilities needed to negate five of the 11 reasons for dysgraphia.

-Product review by Jodi Galland, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC,March, 2018

Another Reviewer Perspective:

EFSAP Printing Made Easy
EFSAP Establishing Foundational Skills for Academic Performance

EFSAP Printing Made Easy is a foundational program intended for ages four and older. After years of experience working with children of all different ages and backgrounds, it became clear that a great number of children who face difficulties in school are lacking in some of the most fundamental skills, such as writing. This causes children to become hesitant, frustrated, anxious, and of course, even defiant when it comes to schoolwork. EFSAP Printing Made Easy seeks to tackle the skill of handwriting so that students learn to write efficiently, and with a greater level of self-confidence.

When our box of goodies arrived, my son and I were both eager to open it up and see what was in there. Inside we found a teacher’s manual, a spiral bound student workbook, 2 sets of directional arrows, a dry erase board, numbers 0-9, the uppercase alphabet, the lowercase alphabet, two pencils (thicker than your average #2,) and one dry erase marker.

The teacher’s manual has proven to be a very useful tool. This provides step by step instructions for each lesson across 52-pages. This manual starts off with a short introductory paragraph that explains the importance of learning writing from a foundational aspect. It goes on to discuss the ideal environment and proper teaching techniques. From there, the lessons are laid out one by one, with each lesson lasting a four-day week. I did note a number of editorial mistakes in the teacher’s manual. For example, on the first page the text reads, “When a student knows with certainly . . .” when it should read as “certainty.” I also noted a few instances of commas that were missing, word spacing that was missing, or other minor errors. These slight mistakes do not take away from the program at all, or interfere with the student use, but should be correct on any other printings.

The student workbook is a durable, spiral bound paperback. There are a total of 54 pages, with some lessons printed on both sides of each page, for a total of about 100 printed pages. Each lesson has multiple pages, but they vary in number. For example, Lesson 12 has nine pages while Lesson 13 has only three. Each lesson features a variety of activities, from finger tracing in Lessons 1-4, to pencil tracing in Lesson 5.

The directional arrows are a great visual aid tool, and get your student’s whole body in on the learning. The teacher’s manual instructs you to change up the cards by turning them over a different way each time. You point to an arrow, and your child corresponds to the direction by moving his/her arms. Like the arrow strips, the alphabet and number strips are another great visual aid. These are used as your child is learning to form the letters and numbers to find the same on the strip.

Our experience with this has been very unique. My son is an older student who already knows his letters and numbers but has had some learning challenges as a result of special needs. We did not necessarily need this curriculum set as a means of learning the shapes of letters, and how to form them, but we did need it to help make the hand-to-brain connections that I feel were missing. We began with lesson one. In this lesson, and the three that follow, your student will use their finger to trace lines, as well as other activities such as wadding up a piece of paper using only one hand. This helps to develop both muscle memory and finger/hand muscles. The use of these pre-foundational activities really helped me to see he has a high degree of fine motor issues. He also has poor motor planning, which also presents as poor cognitive planning overall. By using these first lessons on a regular basis, we have been able to fine tune his fine motor skills more, and his penmanship has greatly improved. I would like to see a variation in line thickness included in the student workbook. Currently there are horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and curved lines included. While I do wish there were wavy lines, or even a few pages where the student must follow the same line to a finish point, I do like how the horizontal lines are differing lengths.

As far as the overall motor and cognitive planning, the arrow strips have been a tremendous help. He began needing everything spelled out in step-by-step format. Now I can just point to an arrow and he can move all on his own, without little to no directional help from me.

We did not have an immediate use for the alphabet and number strips, but he has a pre-school aged special needs sister. I have been doing discrete trial exercises with her lately, and these strips have been a great help in that area. I would do the same lessons with her, with her needing a bit more assistance than my son. When we got to the later lessons that involved finding certain letters, we would continue finding letters even after the lesson was over as part of her therapy. The basis for this was for her to follow directions. So, I would say, “Show me...K!” and then the idea was for her to show me K on her own. With each lesson repeating the same letters each day, I knew she knew what letters I wanted her to point to, but it was a matter of getting her to understand the action requested. So, I would do hand-over-hand until she would finally point on her own. It could take one day, or it might have taken three days on the same lesson, but she eventually began to point to each one on her own.

I really appreciated an all-inclusive kit. The only changes I would make would be to include some dry erase pages for additional practice in the student workbook. I like how it is not babyish in any way, so that even an older student can still use this. I like that it includes physical activities to provide a whole-body learning experience. I also like the inclusion of manual dexterity activities that I feel are missing from other writing programs. I feel those are what helped my son the most. Overall, I would highly recommend Establishing Foundational Skills for Academic Proficiency EFSAP Printing Made Easy to other families.

-Product review by Missica Pullen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018