This is no ordinary penmanship program! Just like their typing program and their spelling program, this penmanship program aims to teach reading and spelling skills through the back door of penmanship exercises. You can use this program to teach either manuscript or cursive writing, the choice is yours, depending on where your student is in his learning. The lessons are very scripted, and aim to teach the letters of the alphabet at the same time as learning to write them. There is a student book and a teacher's guide, the teacher's guide also contains tests for mastery for each unit. The objectives for each unit are very clearly spelled out, and if time is taken to read the teacher's manual thoroughly, you will have no trouble following this program!
From the very first lesson, the student is writing sentences, for example, in lesson one the student writes A bad cab after learning the letters a, b, c and d. The student sees immediate success with the letters he has just learned. The course is designed to teach just the recognition of the letters and the knowledge that words are made from letter combinations that represent the sounds of real words. You are cautioned not to make any serious attempt to teach the words, we are working on recognition and handwriting legibility. The course is designed to be able to use with students whose first language is not English, so often throughout the teacher's guide you are requested to "say in the language of your student" This would be helpful if you were in a classroom situation, or if you were trying to teach a recently adopted child or a new immigrant.
The teacher's manual also contains mastery tests for each unit, which has some oral questions, (for example, what letter comes after E?) and some written questions on letters (write the first seven letters of the alphabet in capitals). It also has some written questions about Onsets or letter combinations (write the first two letters that are in the word fret, there are also questions about basic rimes (Braces starts with the letters br. What are the last four letters in braces?) The unit tests are only one page, but will quickly help you see where your student needs more help.
This program is very well thought out, and obviously written by someone who has much experience in the subject. The teacher's manual is what I would consider an integral part of the course, and while you could probably teach the basic writing with just the student book, you'd miss the whole reason for doing the course if you don't have the teacher's book. This is an excellent, excellent writing program, but is also excellent for all the other things it teaches and reinforces, such as digraphs, and spelling patterns, etc. The fun thing about the student book is that when the student writes the sentences as he is learning the letters, there is space provided for drawing pictures of the sentences he wrote. Some of them are quite comical, and my son loves to draw, as quite a lot of dyslexic kids do, so he loved this part of the program! As a stand alone program, this would help any student learn manuscript or cursive writing. Used in combination with AVKO's other programs, this would be part of an excellent spelling/reading program, that I would have no hesitation in recommending!
Thanks, AVKO, for putting the ability to help our kids, into our own hands!!