My youngest (1st grade) is still learning cursive, and though she's doing quite well, she does need daily practice. When we were offered the opportunity to review one of Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks, we chose the Easy Peasy Cursive one. This workbook looked different than any other cursive practice workbook I'd seen.
Channie's workbooks are unique because they offer a visual aspect to penmanship that is necessary for young learners, yet often lacking in penmanship instruction. In my experience of teaching my four children manuscript and cursive, they need to see someone form the letters so they know the correct way to move their pencil. They also need to see specifics about the size of the letters such as how tall or how far below the main line they reach.
Most penmanship instruction includes tracing and blank lines in the traditional three line pattern - a solid top and bottom line with a dotted line in the center. Channie's workbooks take this a couple of steps further. The area where lowercase letters are formed is a different color. This is a great visual reminder of where the majority of the letters should reach in height. There is a similar blocked area in white that signifies where uppercase and tall letters should go, and one more where letters that loop below the line should reach to. I have had many experiences of needing to remind a child how low that cursive loop should go, so Channie's is a huge help in that aspect! The entire line is 1 1/8" tall, with each section being 3/8" tall.
After a page full of tracing with arrow guides, there is a second page of tracing without the arrow guides. Then there is a third page for each letter with a single, solid example on the first row. The rest of the page is blank, save for the lines and blocks unique to Channie's pages, so the child can practice the letter formation skills they have learned. The book goes through the entire alphabet like this. All in all, it sounds quite simple, but just a few visual adjustments give these worksheets and the child quite an advantage.
The last page in the workbook has words, one to trace, then the child should fill the rest of the line by practicing the word. Because of the way this book is set up, you can use it with any other cursive teaching method or on its own for extra writing practice.
How did we use Channie's Easy Peasy Cursive?My daughter has learned nearly all of the lowercase cursive letters, so we started using pages from the Channie's workbook that she already knew. She just needed to learn the uppercase letter. When we use workbooks like this that have a single letter per page, I do not make the child complete one page each day. Instead, we practice two lines from each letter and use 3-4 pages per day. For instance, I would stagger days in a new workbook so the child does two lines of A on the first day. The next day they would do two lines of A and two lines of B. By the third day they would do two lines of A, B, and C. Once A runs out, they would do two lines of B, C, and then begin D. This allows gentle daily reinforcement of each recently learned letter, and the practice gets spread out so they remember cursive formation better. That is how we used this workbook. Partway through the review period, I had her do one line of each letter and pick up her previous cursive book that teaches letters, since Channie's is just a practice book, not a teaching book. This worked so well! She has gotten extra practice and continued to learn cursive.
I also had an older child try these worksheets. We think he may have dysgraphia, though we have chosen not to have him tested. Writing is a huge chore for him, and hardly ever legible. The colored lines and correct spacing gave him a constant and helpful reminder of where his letters should be. He felt they helped him write better. He thinks that learning cursive would have been easier with these to practice with. The only issue is that the lines were so tall that it was frustrating for him to write that big. This book is intended for grades 1-3. I would love if these cursive worksheets came in a smaller height for older kids, and kids who have some experience with cursive.
Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks has other products available. There is a manuscript workbook that would be perfect for a beginner called My First Letters (if I had another preschooler I'd get it right away!), and there is an Easy Peasy Alphabet workbook that is like the cursive one we received, only in manuscript.
The other workbook that really caught my eye is the One Page a Day: Double Digit Math Problem Workbook. This one takes the colored boxes and correctly spaced areas and applies it to math! I have had many frustrating days when my children got math problems wrong because they didn't line up the numbers. This workbook would help them remember to line up math problems while giving them extra practice with double digit addition and subtraction!
Check out what other crew members had to say about Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks by clicking the banner below.