Writing with Phonics K4 Manuscript (Unbound)
This resource is the primary handwriting instructional book for this level of Abeka’s K4 curriculum. Utilizing the full-color writing house, lower case letters and sound groupings of letters are introduced and practiced. Each perforated worksheet is double-sided. Although it’s the lowercase letter strokes that are taught and practiced, both upper-and-lower case letters are shown. About halfway through the year, the student starts writing some words. Other activities include coloring, connect-the-dots, and sound matching. Four colorful and fun cut-out “awards” are in the back of the book. Lines are ¾” with dotted middles. 114 pgs.
This book combines writing in manuscript form with learning the alphabet, before moving on to the basic phonics sounds for beginning to read. It also includes pictures for your child to color after he has completed the work. Your child will enjoy the colorful designs while he continues to develop his phonics skills. Coloring projects are included for extra fun after the writing lesson has been completed. You may also use the motivation badges included in the front and back covers to reward your child’s good writing or progress. Skip the hassle of tearing out the pages for each lesson and order the unbound version with loose leaf, shrink wrapped pages.
Handwriting instruction (manuscript) is found in the Writing with Phonics workbook and is correlated with the phonics instruction. Lessons are designed for 20 minutes per day through lesson 122 and then change to two days per week. The ABC Writing Tablet provides additional practice. Although the K4 Curriculum Lesson Plans (#010117) include writing lessons, they are referencing the cursive materials. Lesson plans solely for manuscript handwriting/penmanship are found in the K4 Manuscript Writing Curriculum Lesson Plans (060943).
K4 Handwriting is all about learning the letters – both upper and lower case – and the instruction order is based on letter strokes. Part of every lesson is a colorful picture that includes letter stroke practice. Letter formation is taught with little stories about where the letter “lives” in the lines house.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Abeka’s approach to handwriting/penmanship is unique in a few major ways. First, is their commitment to cursive handwriting from the earliest levels. A preference for cursive handwriting (an extension of the natural tendency of children to draw in loops) marks their K4 and K5 materials. Although they do offer a manuscript option in terms of books and curriculum plans, still it is cursive that is incorporated into their overall lesson plans. And, cursive is the only handwriting option after 1st grade.
Second, is their coverage of composition practice in the penmanship materials. Combining penmanship instruction/practice with composition practice might seem logical, but it is rarely found in curriculum. Abeka’s handwriting program is an exception. Although the earliest years of handwriting instruction/practice are correlated with letter/sound instruction, that begins to change toward the end of the 1st grade materials when paragraph composition is introduced. Paragraph writing and writing prompts are woven throughout the Grade 2 materials. Starting with Grade 3, composition and creative writing become a central focus, although the materials never lose sight of the need for penmanship practice.
Throughout the program, good writing position is emphasized. Coupled with this emphasis is a handy handwriting house icon that has colorful details for youngest students and morphs into an outline form for more experienced writers (i.e. 1st and 2nd grades). The writing house is a set of lines. The upper line is the ceiling of the upstairs; dotted line is the ceiling of downstairs; the pink line is the floor of the downstairs; while the basement line is the floor of the basement. These house locations are referenced in letter formation instruction and used in formal and informal evaluation of handwriting specimens.
For instance, here is one example from the K4 level: “Little s lives in the downstairs. He looks like a little worm. . . . . . Capital S lives in the upstairs and downstairs. He looks like a big snake.”
Handwriting/penmanship workbooks (instruction) and practice tablets (additional practice) are included in the Language Arts Student kits. The Curriculum Lesson Plans included with the Parent Kit provide handwriting instruction using the cursive materials integrated with other language arts subjects. All kit components can be purchased as individual products and the handwriting program can be done separately from either the Phonics or Language Arts instruction. Separate manuscript lesson plans are available. Although the lesson plans are helpful (and necessary if you want the correlation with other language arts subjects), you could probably use the handwriting books by themselves as the workbooks each include proper hand and body posture as well as letter formation guides.
Many of the student handwriting components for the early grades come in either a bound or an unbound version. This means you will want to think through how you plan to use the book. For lots of reasons, it is best for young students to work on a single page rather than in a workbook. With the bound version, you can remove one perforated page at a time. The unbound version eliminates that job, but means you need some method of keeping the pages organized (I would use a 1/2” file jacket).
Overall, Abeka® Handwriting is an excellent program with plenty of practice, an emphasis on proper position, and the incorporation of composition. Ongoing evaluation is another emphasis with tests surfacing at the first-grade level. Colorful materials engage the youngest students and edifying copywork choices are another plus. ~ Janice
These materials are graded specifically and include both instruction and practice.