I’ve always considered cursive a third grade endeavor. I think that’s because I clearly remember spending time in my third grade classroom learning to form cursive letters and transitioning away from printing.
So when my second grader expressed interest in learning cursive, my first instinct was to say, not this year. But, she kept asking. And she taught herself how to sign her name in cursive. She was definitely ready, so when given the opportunity to review New American Cursive 1 from Memoria Press, I knew she’d be so excited.
And she was! This is one subject I never have to remind her to do. In fact, she often asks if she can do multiple pages in a day, because she’s eager to learn the whole alphabet so she can “write fancy.”
What Is New American Cursive 1?
A consumable workbook, you’ll need one copy of this book for each student you plan on using it with.
It begins with some notes for the instructor, to show how to use the book. There’s also some information there for the reason to teach cursive, even though many schools are doing away with this practice.
There was also information about the benefits of teaching cursive early. I must say this definitely challenged my “cursive is for third grade” mentality. I definitely understand this side of the argument a lot better, especially since letters commonly confused in printing (b and d for instance) aren’t confused in cursive.
This book is meant for a first grader. It’s designed to be an introduction to cursive writing, and to help students become fluent in writing in cursive so by the time they’re in second and third grade, they can write fluidly and without thought.
When the student instruction portion begins, there’s emphasis on correctly holding a pencil. Pencil grip makes a huge difference in a student’s ability to write for longer period of time, without cramping. I appreciate that it demonstrates for both right and left handed students.
There’s a cute little meerkat named Mr. Meerkat who guides students through the book. My second grader didn’t appreciate this as much as she would have last year.
Students begin by learning the three basic forms of cursive writing. Then they start learning each letter, in alphabetical order. The workbook flips, to ensure the spiral bound never is in a position to bother them while writing.
Students trace and write lowercase letters and uppercase letters for each letter. Then they have a fun exercises and artwork page. This varies, but typically asks students to decorate a letter, or connect a bunch of letters by helping them “hold hands.”
The above picture shows my daughter working on one of the fun exercise pages.
How We Used This Book in Our Homeschool
I had my daughter use this book mostly independently, though I provided oversight and help when needed. Some of the letters were challenging, so I had her erase her attempt and try the page again. Lowercase f was her most challenging so far. That took several attempts.
But, she enjoys doing the writing so she keeps trying. She’s looking forward to being able to write everything in cursive.
I asked her for her opinion of the book. Here’s what she said:
I liked learning the letters in order, because E for my name was pretty quick. The dots make it easy to follow and learn the letters, and there’s enough space to practice making my writing pretty.
My Thoughts on New American Cursive 1
I found the instruction to be thorough and enjoyed reading the teacher’s notes at the beginning. If you have a younger student ready to learn cursive, I’d definitely recommend this book.
My daughter will be moving onto New American Cursive 2 when she finishes this book in the fall. I like that book 2 focuses on scripture.
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