Monday, November 1, 2010

Steps4Kids to Write Their ABCs Review

I recently recieved a DVD from Steps4Kids called "Write Their ABCs". This is a totally innovative and unique approach to teaching handwriting. The author developed the idea after watching her children struggle with their own writing. After she started getting comments from others at the amazing improvements in her children's handwriting, she decided this might be a product that other kids would benefit from as well!

So what is so different about the Steps4Kids method? Well, just about everything! To begin with, there are no workbooks. The kids just learn to write by watching someone else form the letter. This is not animated, there is a real person writing the letters and talking them through it. Instead of tracing letters, the kids make each one themselves. I really like this after hearing more about all of the negative things that tracing can cause.

Another great feature is the drawing lessons. Drawing lessons in a handwriting program? Yes! They use LETTER shapes to teach the kids how to draw some easy little figures and objects, such as using the letter 't' to make a kite. These drawing breaks are not a separate part of the DVD, they are right in there with the letters, so they really keep the kids motivated. Every few letters they get to draw something cute!

99 by warmfuzzies, on Pix-O-Sphere

The Steps4Kids DVD does not introduce letters in alphabetical order. This is really important to me because introducing letters by SHAPE rather then order is a lot easier for the children. I especially appreciated the separation of the lowercase letters 'b' and 'd'. The letter 'b' is introduced with the 'l' family, and the letter 'd' is taught later, in the 'c' family. That is so helpful for those kids who have trouble with reversals! And I think kids need minimal exposure to capital letters because of their frequency of use. They need to know them, but the lowercase letters are both harder to form and more important. So it is great that on this DVD the uppercase and lowercase letters are not practiced together.

So, the real test- does it work and do they like it. It really seems to help a lot. This DVD is NOT full of fluff, it is definitely focused on learning. The voice is gentle and the writing is plain and clear. Bop and CJ have both seen great improvements in their writing since using this, but especially Cj, who has had such a hard time with his writing/drawing skills. And as for them liking it, there is no doubt there. They actually ask for it- they love it!

The only thing I wish was different about the Steps4Kids method? I really wish there was more! They already have cursive, manuscript and modern versions. I just wish that they had something that went beyond learning the letters, and had them practicing words as well. I think making the transition from 'handwriting' to 'we write this way all the time' is hard for kids. However, this is no way detracts from what IS here- a great, effective and different approach to learning to write.

You can watch an informational video on the Steps4Kids website, or see more of their products here.

I received a DVD from Steps4Kids in exchange for this unbiased review. I did not receive any other compensation, and my reviews are always honest.

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