Handwriting Today (Prim-Ed)

When I received the package of Handwriting books from Prim-ed, I must admit, I wasn’t excited. The phrase “Never judge a book by its cover” comes to mind here!

These new textbooks is different. After using it, they clearly are a set of very attractive books for children and teachers. But, there are other things that make it a “Top of the Class” publication.

Firstly, the resources that comes with it. A brilliant but not overly lengthly Teachers’ Resource book. It tells you what you need to know and how to use the resources quickly. Another first for Prim-Ed, in that it comes with a “Let’s Join in” piece of software. Prim-Ed have done their research. They have developed a unique cursive font for Irish schools called “Peannaireacht”. It allows the user to make any amount of editable worksheets for use in the classroom. This way, you can extend the writing skills across the curriculum in any subject you choose. The user can change the font, size, colour etc. No more searching for fonts on the net or making less than attractive worksheets for the children. These worksheets could be saved on the school network or the cloud for use by all teachers.

The second things that I was impressed with was that the team behind these new books were led by an Irish primary school teacher, Helen Woods. Helen has a Master in the area of handwriting for young children. So, what we get is something more than a fancy, colouring book written by well-meaning teachers. This is a fancy looking book but it is backed up by relevant educational theory and written by a teacher who knows her stuff. It’s also Irish, I think it’s important that Prim-Ed use the huge expertise of Irish teaching knowledge. Irish teachers are not keen to show off their knowledge or experience and I’m glad to see Prim-Ed rewarding and utilising this.

The third thing I really like is the assessment sections. After each section, there is a review section. This allows the teacher to assess the stage the child is at. It is clearly laid out and very easy to communicate this to the pupil, other teachers and parents. At the end of the year, the child has a full Handwriting assessment, which will aid the teacher when writing up the reports.

Relevance to curriculum aims:

This publication is not only based on the Irish curriculum but is written and led by an Irish primary school teacher. It uses differentiation in an non-tokenistic way as well, the books are marketed from Book A-D. “Junior Infants” is not marked on the front of Book A. The reasons for this are pedagogical and allow the child to develop their handwriting skills at a different pace. Too often, teachers can keep each child on the same page or book. This way, a child who is skilled at handwriting can advance quickly through the series. Even though, I love this “child-centered” approach, some teachers or parents may not like it. This idea may take time and Prim-ed may find this a sticking point but they should stick to their educational principles. As, I mentioned before, it uses assessment extremely well.

Teacher usability:

This book will be extremely easy to use in the classroom. The software makes the scheme complete. No more copying down pages and pages of pointless information from the whiteboard, instead, a child can even customise their own worksheets for the class.

Value for money:

It is excellent value for money at 5.95 a book which comes complete with the demo, teachers’ guide and the “Let’s join in” software.

Extras:

The demo CD, handwriting software, teachers’ guide and internet link on www.prim-ed.com/ie for more information.
One of a kind publication award- The Handwriting today book deserves its award. “Top of the class” to a book is much more than a colouring book. There are 4 books in the series, with each book developing from the last.

Last Update: August 22, 2017  

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