Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 from Memoria Press: A TOS Crew Review

Memoria Press Review

Memoria Press Review
Is cursive necessary anymore?  Many schools have opted out of teaching cursive.  However, I personally feel this is a BIG mistake! Thankfully, so does Memoria Press,   creators of New American Cursive:  Penmanship Program Workbook 1 This series is designed for your First Grader, many schools wait until Third Grade to introduce cursive, if they do at all any more. 
The Bentz Test Laboratory was super excited to get this one!  My 1st grade tester was begging me to get to start learning cursive (yes, we still teach this valuable skill at Bentz Academy).
This program is based on years of experience and features friendly "Mr. Meerkat" to guide your student through learning the simplified strokes of "New American Cursive - NAC" style. 
The author choose meerkats due to the fact they are one of the few animals that actively teach their young. (looking for more meerkat trivia - 
  My tester thinks that meerkats are the most adorable animals ever - so she was hooked before she ever opened the book!
I love the educational philosophy behind starting cursive early.  By later grades, the student has very fixed writing habits, and it is much harder to learn cursive.  This program includes some great introduction information to help you get on board , the Teaching Guide is included in the Student Workbook. 
 They even offer a supplemental "Startwrite/NAC software ($29.95) which allows you to create customized worksheets for more practice.
I found the Teacher Guide extremely helpful.  A couple of key points I want to share:
  • Cursive improves your students continuity in thought and writing - it's brain training!

  • Cursive helps improve neural connections in the brain - since my tester struggles with apraxia and dyslexia - this is a huge benefit for her!

  • Cursive is a hands-on process that develops both the mind and fine motor skills - focus, attention to detail, patience - just to name a few.

  • Cursive is more individualistic - Can you close your eyes and picture or instantly recognize your mom's handwriting?  It's much more artistic and expressive than printing.

My tester absolutely loves this program!  She's working very independently with it, and I've noticed a huge improvement in her handwriting overall.  Like I mentioned, she has several "learning gifts" that have allowed her to learn slightly differently than my other children.  This program has really boosted her confidence - afterall, she's "Only in First grade, while they didn't get to learn cursive until Third grade."

It only takes about 15 minutes a day.  Capital and lowercase letters are introduced together.  Mr. Meerkat reminds them how to position the paper, and the 3 steps to follow:  Say the Letter, Feel the Letter & Write the Letter.  Once they have completed their practice, they circle their best letter.  I really like how this encourages them to slow down and look critically at their own work.

"Fun exercises & Artwork" pages allow for them to work on connecting letters in words and a space to draw their own artwork.  Cursive encourages them to be creative!  Toward the end of the book, they are already copying the Pledge of Allegiance. 

This is one we'll keep for sure!  They have 3 workbooks in the series.  Just $22.95 each.

Other members of the Crew reviewed another Bentz Test Laboratory favorite - First Start Reading  be sure to check it out!

Memoria Press Review

See what other members of the Crew thought here
Memoria Press Review
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