Handwriting is one of those subjects that is easy to overlook as a homeschooler. Sometimes it just feels like we have so many other more important subjects to tackle. But if children don’t learn to form letters correctly early on, it’s very difficult to fix this problem. It could also lead to bigger problems down the road because our kids need to rely on habitual and quick proper letter formation while note taking in the older grades.
Unfortunately, I can raise my hand and say that I haven’t done the type of drill and practice I should be doing with my kindergartener’s handwriting. So, when I had the opportunity to try out Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew handwriting program published by Rhythm & Writing, I jumped right in.
How the Rhythm & Writing Curriculum Is Set Up
This curriculum uses the following effective methods to teach proper letter formation:
- catchy phrases to remember how to write each letter
- learning letters together that are formed similarly
- starting with letters that are easiest to form
- emphasizes kinaesthetic learning and using multiple learning styles
- visual cues with the “stoplight” lines: green, yellow, and red
- starts with tracing lines
- moves to connecting the dots
- finishes with starting dots
- finally, independent letter formation
- pre-assessment and post-assessment to show progress
The spiral bound paperback book is 99 pages long and includes enough pages of writing practice for effective repetition and learning.
Each couple of pages includes a short story about different characters and how they are using the rhymes to remember their letter formations. Some of the topics seem a bit over my five-year-old’s head, like “money matters,” “study skills,” and “college campus,” and “chemistry.” However, others like “bus,” “horn,” “kangaroo,” and “home” seemed more age-appropriate.
The program came with access to their website where kids can watch episodes that feature a musical group of animals that teach the letter formation rhymes that are in the book. This Get Write Crew uses a hip hop style to teach these rhymes. My daughter watched a few for entertainment, but if this isn’t the normal musical style your young children are used to listening to, then it might not click for them. You could still use the book to teach letter formation.
The book includes additional teaching topics you could use with this book, including literature, language, counting, and listening skills.
How We Used It
My kindergartener is nearing the end of her academic year, so she already knew all her letters and basic letter formation. However, there was much room for improvement! We actually did need a curriculum that encouraged the repetition, but also included some visual cues for moving toward independence.
We started with the pre-assessment, which clarified that we needed to work on this.
Then, instead of jumping around to certain letters that were weaker, we just started at the beginning, and worked on several letters per week throughout the review period.
We watched a few of the online episodes, which were entertaining. But mostly, she decided to tackle the book without the songs.
We will continue to use this book until we finish it and then take the post-assessment to see our progress. I think the emphasis on correct letter formation now at the end of kindergarten is essential before moving on to more regular writing in first grade.
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