My 2nd grader has been working on cursive for a while, so when we had the chance to review the New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans) workbook from Memoria Press, I was happy to give it a go with him. The New American Cursive program is meant for grades 1-4, but I feel like it’s a little bit flexible and could be used with older kids as well. Cursive 1, 2, and 3 is available, and you can choose from a few different options, so be sure to check it out.
This spiral-bound Student Book contains a brief, 8 page teaching guide before the lessons. It discusses the Three P’s of Penmanship (Posture, Pencil, and Paper Position), the Three S’s of Penmanship (Size, Slant, and Spacing), gives teaching tips, includes information about testing and grading students on their penmanship, and gives a guide on how to prepare students and conduct the lessons.
There are 125 lessons, as well as a Handwriting Evaluation Checklist in the workbook. There are reproducible “My Journal” pages, and reproducible paper of different sizes, depending on what is most comfortable and necessary for your student. There are sizes 42, 36, 30, 24, and 18, and each of those pages has a sample cursive alphabet (both upper and lowercase) at the top as a guide for students. As I mentioned, New American Cursive is spiral-bound and is meant to lay horizontally while your student is completing their lessons. The pages are double sided.
This workbook is meant to build upon the New American Cursive 1 book, but we found it great as a standalone product for my son. He does have some background in cursive, so it wasn’t a difficult transition to this way of writing for him.
The first several lessons focus on the basics, such as posture, reading cursive, and writing letter formation for individual letters and numbers. This review was good for my son, because it had been a few weeks since he had written in cursive when we began the program. Next, it focused on letter connections, and quickly moved into writing actual words. On each page, the correct letters or words were modeled for the student at the top, so there was never any guessing. My son did have to use his memory about letter formation, though, on the Test pages. Throughout the program, there are graded tests for them to demonstrate competency on letter formation for the whole alphabet.
New American Cursive addresses proper spacing, different styles of handwriting, writing sizes, letter writing, when to use capital letters, and provides copywork using some quotes from famous Americans like Thomas Jefferson. There are creative writing exercises in the book with space to write, and you could reproduce the journal pages and writing pages from the back of the book if your child needs more space. Kids are even assigned some art activities to go along with their writing.
This consumable workbook is secular, so families looking for something without religious content would be able to use it without having to tweak anything. Click to view a sample of New American Cursive 2.
The lessons do not take a long time to complete. They’re meant to be completed as daily work. My son is always a bit resistant to beginning his schoolwork, but once he gets going, he just gets it done. This became a subject that he would pick as one of his first of the day because it didn’t take a long time, so he felt more accomplished.
I’m definitely a believer in teaching kids cursive. I’m glad we ran across this program, because it will be a quick, simple, and painless way to get my son to practice his cursive this year. The workload is doable for a busy schedule and it is just open and go. The spiral binding makes it easy to open up all the way to complete the work right inside the workbook. This would make a good subject to pack with you to do on road trips or in waiting rooms since it doesn’t take all that long and is light to carry.
See how other families used this penmanship program, as well as Memoria Press’s other programs, Classical Composition and Traditional Logic, by clicking the banner below.