Friday, January 2, 2009

Peterson's Handwriting

Peterson's Directed Handwriting is a handwriting program with a lot of promise. It would probably work very well for many children, but it didn't work well with my boys right now. I was given Level One printing and Level three cursive to review. The program has a well written teacher's manual which breaks learning handwriting into bite-size pieces. I liked how it broke the strokes down by color and you knew the order was always green, black, red.

Tyler liked the finger tracing but struggled when it came to writing the letters. The student book is a separate book that you put above your paper and copy from. Tyler has many of the characteristics of dyslexia and really struggled with transferring the letters from the book to his paper. Letters tend to swim and move and having to move his eyes that far was challenging. He ended up frustrated and discouraged. He did much better with our other handwriting program where the letters were on the same line, on both sides of where he was supposed to write. It wasn't as hard for him to transfer his eyes and write the letters.

I started working with Ryan on the level three cursive book and realized he had developed several bad habits with his printing. Like starting at the bottom or doing the strokes in a backwards order. As I started introducing the cursive strokes he tried to add them into his regular writing and it became unreadable. So I had to put Peterson's aside and refocus on his printing. I should also note that this year I am requiring a lot more writing from him instead of narration, which could also have contributed to his resistance.

I didn't find the Cd songs or CD-Rom with animated letters helpful either. We have some ABC DVD's that show the same thing as the animated letters and they move from one letter to the next by themselves. The songs were annoying to both me and the boys. The full kit with the CD and CD-Rom is also quite expensive for handwriting, $38.55. The basic kit is $15.05 and both are non-consumable.

While the program didn't work for us, and will probably never work for Tyler, I plan on trying it again in a few months with Ryan and saving it to try with Jeanisha. She love's writing pretend notes now and I think the color and rhythm with work well with her. She also loves to try copying things and doesn't seem to have the hand-eye issues that Tyler does.

If you are looking for a handwriting program, I would suggest you read some of the other reviews here.

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