Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
What Is This Product?
An eBook, this product is a digital download with 218 pages. You can print out the page you need for each day, or print it out in advance. If your child needs to redo a page, you can easily print a replacement page.
You can also purchase it as a consumable print book.
There are 60 step-by-step lessons. Each are designed to teach your student to write neatly and read well. For younger kids, you could use this as a primary tool in your curriculum. I used it as a supplemental tool instead, something that we did in addition to our other reading instruction.
At the beginning of the book, and into chapter one, you’ll find several pages dedicated to helping you teach reading and handwriting. These pages walk you through the teaching of each lesson, and what to expect. There are tips for teaching reading, and how to help students overcome common difficulties.
There is also some interesting information on when the appropriate time is to teach these skills to children.
Finally, there are also a variety of scheduling options provided. It recommends the short lessons recommended by Charlotte Mason, having your child spend only 10-15 minutes on a lesson.
If you were to do everything in a lesson in one day, it would take longer than this time frame. Thus, the author recommends breaking it down into chunks. This allows you to do a little each day, and not spend excess time on it.
For each lesson, there are the following steps:
- Review (what you’ve already learned)
- Introduce (the new letters and sounds)
- Sound Out
The author recommends doing a couple of chunks each day, breaking one lesson up over the course of several days or even a week. Slow, steady progress is much better than a wild race to the finish that won’t be retained.
Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting teaches students italic penmanship. This is a simple form of penmanship. In typical printing lessons, students only form six lowercase letters by making one stroke (c, i, j, l, o, and s.) The other letters all require students to lift their pencil up and reposition to form the letter.
In italic penmanship, 20 of the 26 lowercase letters are made with a single stroke. Only d, f, p, t, x, and z are not. This is a simplified form of writing that still looks beautiful. It really sets students up for success.
Throughout the book, students progress from straight letters to slanted and jointed ones that you an write quickly. This transition is great for older kids.
The book uses a trace, copy, practice method of teaching. As students work through each lesson, they have the opportunity to trace the letters, words, or sentences first. Then, they copy them in a line directly underneath. This proximity allows them to easily keep their eye on the sample and match size and spacing.
Finally, students can take their new knowledge and practice it on their own. This removes the scaffolds that were there, and helps children take ownership of their own handwriting.
Chapter two of the book teaches students the vowels and consonants that make up the alphabet. You can teach them the letter name and sound of each one they write.
Once students know their letters, they can begin combining the sounds into words. Chapter three focuses on short vowel sounds, consonant blends, plural words, compound words, words with the “or” sound, and short words that end in vowels. While this sounds like a lot, if you take it slowly and stretch each lesson out, it is not.
It uses phonics, so there is a lot of emphasis on word families. These rhyming sets of words lets your child master more words quickly.
There is a list of words for each lesson. You can review these with your student. Then, they can sound them out on their own.
The words get longer and more complicated as the book progresses.
How We Used This Book
I really wanted to work on handwriting with my eleven year old. He didn’t need the early reading concepts as much, as he already can read. However, the phonics reviews later in the book will be a fabulous refresher for him.
So, instead of making each lesson take a week, we broke it into three chunks. Here’s what we did on each of the three days:
- Review (on all three)
- Introduce letter and sound (Day 1)
- Sound out the words (Day 2)
- Trace (Day 2)
- Use words for spelling practice (Day 3) – we did this on different paper, outside of the book. It served as a reminder how to make each letter.
Here are a few of the pages that got completed:
We are still working through this book.
What We Thought of This Book
This book has some great elements. It uses a simple form of writing, which is easy for kids to learn. But, it also looks nice and is very legible. I noticed my son’s handwriting improve immensely since he began forming his letters this way.
The lines are a little different from any handwriting program I’ve used before. The students write on solid lines, which are in between sections with a dashed line. While this is odd, it doesn’t take long to get used to.
I like that you can print out another page easily if your student needs more practice. It was very convenient.
My son appreciated breaking it down into smaller chunks. He didn’t want to add another subject that took “forever” into the school day. And, he was happy with the 10-15 minutes each day.
All in all, if you’re hoping to help improve writing or reading skills in your homeschool, I recommend this product.