Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.
We were recently given the opportunity to review the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook from Everyday Education, LLC. This is a program that teaches reading and handwriting together. The style of handwriting used in this book is Italics. Perfect Reading and Beautiful Handwriting was first written by Caroline Joy Adams and published by Adams House Publishers, Inc. in 1988. Janice Campbell of Everyday Education, LLC used the program with her children when she was a young homeschool mom. When she tried to purchase the book years later she found that it was out of print. She sought to bring the book back and make it available to today’s homeschoolers. The book is available as a physical copy or digital download. It has an updated introduction that includes Janice Campbell’s story.
The introduction to the book is quite thorough and includes scheduling options and ways in which the book can be used:
- To teach young children to read and write.
- To teach children with reading difficulties to read effectively.
- To teach children to have fast, legible, attractive handwriting.
- To teach yourself beautiful handwriting.
Much of the introduction covers why the author believes the phonics method is the best way to teach reading. She gives a history of phonics vs. sight reading in the United States educational history. She believes the introduction of sight reading is what has caused the downfall of literacy in the US. She also gives a history of the Italics style of writing. In the common style which is used to teach penmanship in most schools, only six letters can be completed with just one stroke. When using Italics, twenty letters are completed with just one stroke. The differences are subtle between the two styles. The author believes that fewer strokes and more oval shapes as opposed to circular makes Italics a more efficient way to gain beautiful handwriting.
I have a really hard time speaking in extremes. When someone comes to me and says they can teach perfect reading, I immediately bristle. I am not sure why. I mean… it is a good thing when someone stands behind their product with confidence. I appreciate the confidence in which this program is presented, but I do not think it is for everyone.
The pages appear to be someone’s handwritten work. I, personally, had a hard time visually with the pages. I understand that it is in the style of Italics and maybe my brain just needs to get used to the layout. I found it odd that, in Italics, the capital letters do not appear to go all the way to the top line as in cursive or traditional print. Following someone else’s handwritten papers was a bit of a challenge for us.
In my opinion, the handwriting aspect of this would be best suited for a child who is just starting out or a teen or adult who is interested in caligraphy or creative lettering. A child who falls in between and is still trying to learn the mechanics may become frustrated as they have already been learning a different style. Change in letter formation might prove difficult. Again… just my opinion.
The phonics program is quite thorough. I am not in agreement with the author that phonics is the best way to teach reading. I have one child who learned to read on his own, essentially with the whole language approach. Whole language is an approach to learning that sees language as a whole entity, and writing, speaking, reading, and listening should be integrated when learned. In whole language, learning is built upon the real experiences and background knowledge of the learner. I have one child who thrives on phonics and rules and letter sounds. I think we have to always be students of our children and find what approach works best for them. My whole language kid was bored to tears whenever we tried anything phonics related. His brain just isn’t wired in such a way. He is a brilliant, thriving reader and writer.
Sorry if I am sounding wishy-washy. I never want to hurt someone’s feelings. I want to champion those who have poured into a project. I see such heart and personal commitment in the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook. It just isn’t the product for my family.
If you are looking for a great value that combines handwriting and phonics- based reading into one program, you really should check out Perfect Reading and Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC.
Follow Everday Education, LLC and Janice Campbell on Social Media:
Check out what others on the Review Crew have to say… Click the banner below: