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Christine Montano

  • Reviewed on Saturday, December 7, 2002
  • Grades Used: age 4-7
  • Dates used: 11/2002 and on
This is a set of 16 different worksheets, 10 of each, in a spiral bound softcover format. It includes a total of 192 workpages, 16 certificates of accomplishment and the instructors guide.

These are activities for the child to practice writing the shapes required for writing the letters of the alphabet. The child does not write or trace letters until the last workpage set. They are fun activities such as writing across the page between two lines which are a drawing of a frog hopping across a stream. Other activities include practicing straight lines by cutting a pan of brownies (straight lines) and drawing in spirals on big old-fashioned lollipops. The activities are cute and the child is not simply tracing over alphabet letters over and over which can get boring or induce frustration. I feel that practicing letters over and over as the first stylus skill practice can induce frustration as the child clearly sees that they are not forming the letters well and may have feelings of failureon a continual basis. This activity book at least disguises the stylus skills and tries to make it fun.

Each section is a different paper color, the book itself is all black ink and the illustrations are black ink drawings.

As the child progresses through the book, they make all the movements required to write letters. My son loves this despite hating workbooks. He recently turned 5 years old and as is developmentally appropriate, is shaky with his fine motor skills such as drawing straight lines and perfect circle shapes. I thought it was time for him to do some practice on stylus skills and also get used to the idea of sitting down to do some school work.

The authors intend for the child to do 5 minutes per day only and to do all of set 1 before moving on to set 2 and so on. It is suggested to do this every day.

My son disliked the 5 minute rule (which for him is about 1.5 pages) and he asks to do it until his hand is tired which is about 12-15 minutes and is usually 3.5 to 4 sheets. My son also refused to do all of one section. Instead he does one from each, going from the easy to the difficult ones at the end and then he goes back and repeats the sequence.

From just one go-through, I saw noticeable improvement in his ability to write a straight line and circles, and the other forms.

I date the top of each page and I use the blank back inside cover to write down the date and what he did for my personal record-keeping.

This is Christian oriented only in that at the bottom of each page there is a quote from the Bible. The fact that non-readers will be using this book most frequently leads me to question how effective this is. There are no religious images and there are no religious stories with the activities.

The work pages themselves and little stories that contain the instructions all have to do with a brother and a sister on their farm and the animals on the farm or in the wilderness. Some are other things like lollipops and flowers and clock-faces.



Tracy

  • Reviewed on Friday, September 6, 2002
  • Grades Used: K-2 but fun for all
  • Dates used: 2002
I bought this book for my pre-schooler but have decided to use it for my 1st and 2nd grader, too. Actually, my third grader loves doing it with her brothers!
The worksheets are based on a little story at the beginning of the book. The story sets the scene for completing various stylus skills and printing activities.
Let me give you an example. In the second story Farmer Brown needs his saws sharpened. The child is instructed to make nice sharp saw blades (zig zags) on the various sized saws drawn on the page. There are 6 double-sided pages of each exercise, which they say to use on one child until he perfects the skill, but my children are all sharing one book. They really love this book, and it really does teach the skill in a fun way. I really recommend this book for anyone from pre-school to 3rd, even 4th grade if they really need to brush up on their handwriting!!