Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Learning to Read and Write Beautifully (Review)

In addition to the Handbook for Writers review that I posted last week, members of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew also received digital copies of Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting published by Everyday Education, LLC, and I was given the opportunity to take a brief look at the manual.

The foreward and introduction include suggestions on teaching and scheduling the lessons, as well as some of the different ways the book can be used (From the beginning reading/writing child to the adult who wants to improve or change their handwriting). The scheduling section utilizes short Charlotte Mason inspired segments, which can help eliminate some of the tedium that many feel when learning to write, and avoid tired, cramped hands for small children who are still learning how to use a writing instrument. 

I don't have a beginning reader, but I took a brief look at the reading instruction. For the most part it looks very simple and basic, which is good. The basic method used is to teach/read words in the same family, followed by silly sentences that incorporate the words practiced.
Here is an example of one of the silly sentence pages... 
I did run into a few issues with pronunciation, although they aren't major. I have the feeling that the author may have grown up in a different part of the country, based on some of the sounds for some of the words given. For instance, I was taught (and my dictionary backs my instruction up), that 'care' is pronounced ke(ə)r not kār, so that is an unfortunate example, and I would say that pair, fair, and stair all follow the same e(ə)r sound pattern.

While there may be a few different regional pronunciations that may be coming through in this manual, given that the author's specialty is handwriting, this isn't a huge deal, just something to look out for. 

I also perused the handwriting portion, which was of the most interest to me specifically, as handwriting is always an issue in our home. The manual uses actual handwriting for the examples and not a computer generated font, which makes it easier to copy. There is an informative discussion about the history of italics and styles of writing. After the basics are learned (in the second chapter), the handwriting section covers joining letters, and ornamentation, as well as instruction in using an edged or calligraphy pen.   

I have finally come to terms with my own handwriting, but thought I would give the italics a whirl myself, and this is what I came up with after a few days' practice: 

The reproducible practice sheets throughout the book are useful, and the practice sheets at the end of the book include guides for correct angling of a calligraphy pen, which is often one of the most difficult things to master. Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is something that I may look at further for my own use (Working on "beautiful" handwriting, with flourishes and joins) and also for that of my youngest child, as we begin to address his handwriting sometime in the future. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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