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Basic Shapes to Music for Developing Pre-Writing Skills Review by Lisa Tanner

Student Book and CD
Pre-Writing Skills with Music
Student Book and CD
Callirobics
Liora Laufer
PO Box 6634
Charlottesville, VA 22906
http://callirobics.com

My three-year-old daughter really wants to be included in “school-time” with her older siblings. But, finding gentle curriculum that won’t douse her love of learning is always a concern. Until we found Basic Shapes to Music for Developing Pre-Writing Skills (Student Book and CD), and Pre-Writing Skills with Music (Student Book and CD).

These workbooks provide gentle instruction to help beginners learn to correctly form the basic shapes that letters consist of. The goal is to have the student gain essential pre-writing skills in a fun, engaging way. The two books my daughter worked with are designed for beginners. They would be great for either early learners, or students with special learning needs.

The first book starts very slowly, introducing learners to a down line, an upline, a circle, and other basic shapes. For each page of the workbook, there’s a corresponding track on the included CD. Each track is a vocal/guitar combination of a catchy tune reminding students what to do. My daughter loved the music, and while it added a multi-sensory component, I found myself humming the tunes throughout the day. Each day’s lesson was very quick, and she had the opportunity to practice the shapes several times.

The second book was similar in design, except there are connected shapes to trace. So in one lesson, a student may practice going down, across, up. In another, they may trace a sun shape, combining a circle and several straight lines. Each pattern is repeated over and over again on the page to give them plenty of practice. Every lesson has a title that goes with the shape being practiced. For instance, Exercise 7 is “Birds in Flight.” This exercise focuses on drawing two repeating curves, which do look like the wings of a flying bird.

The music that corresponds to these exercises are all instrumental. The author selected tunes that work well with the shape being drawn. For instance, the music is gentle when the student is practicing curved lines, and more upbeat while practicing straight lines. The tunes are common children’s songs and are the perfect length to work through an exercise.

It’s recommended that the student practice each exercise for a week before moving on. This allows them to really learn how to make the lines and gain confidence in their writing. I had my daughter do “her school” three days a week, which allowed her to practice one page from each lesson a day. However, I had her first trace with her finger, and then go through it again a second time with her pencil. The whole process took about five minutes each session.

My daughter loved the coloring page at the beginning of each lesson. It incorporated the shape to be practiced and asked the student to trace the shape and then color the picture. I’ve also noticed her integrating the shapes and lines she has learned into her everyday coloring and writing. She is definitely gaining fine motor control since beginning these Callirobics lessons. If you’re looking for a gentle way to integrate young learners into your homeschooling time, I recommend these student book and CD sets.

-Product review by Lisa Tanner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2018

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