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.
If you have been searching for a program that uses copywork to reinforce phonics and italic handwriting, then you’ll want to check out the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook from Everyday Education, LLC.
I received the digital PDF file (ebook) and its contents page makes it really easy to see what’s coming up in future lessons. The foreword and introduction are very detailed, and they provide scheduling suggestions with the Charlotte Mason approach in mind, as well as four ways you could use the program:
- To teach young children how to read and write.
- To teach children with reading difficulties to read effectively.
- To teach children to have fast, legible, attractive handwriting.
- To teach yourself beautiful handwriting.
Support for the parents continues in Chapter 1. It provides an introduction and background to reading and handwriting, and why the Italic style is taught in this program. There is also a section covering teaching tips for the parent.
Chapter 2 then starts off with the alphabet, which is a very a logical place to start providing plenty of practice for each letter. However, as all of my girls know the alphabet very well, I knew they would have found this chapter very laborious. Thankfully, at the end of the chapter there is a reproducible guide sheet, which I printed for all three of my girls to see what their handwriting looked like at the start. The biggest problem they had was confusion from the format of the lines and dotted lines, as it’s different from other programs they have used. It also required them to write larger letters than they are used to.
Chapter 3 (Lessons 2-23) gets straight into reading while also practicing handwriting. It covers short vowel sounds, consonant blends, plural words, compound words, words with the “or” sound and short words that end in vowels. Most of the lessons start with a page of words followed by handwriting practice containing appropriate sentences involving several of the words covered in that lesson.
For example Lesson 2 provides lists of words with the short a, which I had my youngest two read to me. For the next part my 8 year old joined in as I know her handwriting needs some work. She naturally likes to rush through tasks so this was something that would intentionally slow her down, and that she could easily do with her sisters in the short term. Unfortunately, as they got used to the line format, you can see in the photo that there was no line dedicated for them to write the final few words. This occurred on many of the pages.
Lesson 8 has a 2 page writing review, so this was a good lesson to recap on letters they were struggling with in this writing style, without the pages of copy work of individual letters.
Chapter 4 and 5 (Lessons 24-60) continue in the same format and cover vowel combinations, special sounds, silent letters, other consonant sounds, endings, contractions, common exceptions, important words to know, numbers and a list of 500 of the most common words.
Chapter 6 then provides Italic handwriting practice in its different forms. The Night Before Christmas poem is given for practice, and then how to slant your letters is introduced. Finally smaller lines are then introduced to practice quotes and joining letters. Calligraphy “edged pen” is covered next, including variations to letters.
How we used the program:
We used this program for 3-4 days a week for several weeks. I’m not a big fan of my children spending all their time on the computer, so I would print the lesson (page of words) and I would sit with the twins as they each read the words to me. I would also print off three copies of the handwriting pages so each of my children could practice and improve those skills independently.
The twins have smaller writing than their older sister, but they needed to start toward the beginning because of their struggles with reading. With a focus on the twins and improving their reading skills, after the first few lessons (which they covered fairy quickly) it became apparent they they didn’t like the long list of words to read. I believe there shouldn’t be too many distractions when it comes to learning to read and write, but the words need to come alive to encourage reading and wanting more. My children needed more than lists and the black and white pages in this program. But, there was a lot of laughter when it came to the silly sentences, which always helps when it comes to learning in my opinion. There were also several strange conversations after their lesson as their imaginations went wild.
I will probably keep this program on hand as a reinforcement to their reading development, and keep an eye on their progress. The twins haven’t got this far yet, but lessons 54 & 55 are a couple of examples where we can go over words with exceptions such as when the magic ‘e’ rule is broken, when ‘su’ sounds like ‘sh’ and words that have unexpected sounding vowels. These will be very helpful.
I am also curious how Chapter 6 will help the twins’ handwriting further once their reading abilities improve. I will also use the ‘edged pen’ pages when all the girls are older and I get my hands on a calligraphy pen again. I haven’t used one since my school days. So at least now I’ll be able to learn how to use the pen correctly and it’ll be a fun skill for the girls to learn too.
In summary, during the time we’ve used this ebook there has been some improvement in all of the girls’ handwriting. However, we will continue to only use parts of this program as a supplement, as well as later on for even more refinement using calligraphy.
I encourage you to visit the Homeschool Review Crew Blog via the following link to read the thoughts of other reviewers regarding this Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook:
Hi there, we’re Micheal & Katherine!
We’re passionate about helping families strive for health and wellness, and living a non-toxic lifestyle. To us this also means homeschooling, choosing joy, exploring, making everyday count, and doing our research. We know it’s not an easy journey, but we’re doing our best and trying to make the right choices for our family.