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    Cursive First

    Review from member crunchynerd
    Member Ranking - Somewhat Positive
    Cursive First was a new concept to me (even though it turns out to have been the traditional way to teach language prior to the 1930's), but I quickly came to agree with the reasoning behind teaching cursive first, and plan on doing that with my younger two, instead of manuscript printing first, because manuscript printing first caused all the problems described, for my daughter.

    It does assume that the parent is teaching from a religious, Biblical perspective, which is a minor annoyance easily ignored.

    Having seen how it instantly cured my daughter's trouble with reversing letters, I saw the wisdom in the method. However, I got the phonogram cards along with Cursive First (it's an option for a discount over the cost of each separately), and I have a few bones to pick with the phonograms which has led me to reconsider going on to "Spell to Write and Read" by the same author.

    In what language, for instance, is the 'ey' at the end of the word 'honey' pronounced as a short i sound? Yet on the phonogram card, 'ey' is given as having 3 pronunciations: Long E, as in key, Long I as in eye, and short i as in honey. Really? When I say 'honey', the 'ey' sounds like a long E. Similarly, the phonogram card for 'ie' gives short i as a possibility, as in 'lillies'. There must be a regional dialect in English in which one must pronounce honey as "honih" and lillies as "lillihs" but that is definitely not standard. In standard English, both words have a long E sound.

    Furthermore, the phonograms 'ti' and 'si' are given to have the pronunciation "sh" which makes sense in the cases of words ending in -tion or -sion, but in that case, why not just make 'tion' and 'sion' the phonograms, because in words like 'silly' and 'tile', si and ti are most certainly not "sh"! These are obvious mistakes which cause me to question whether I really want to continue with this series or spend any additional money on it.

    I was willing to put up with unnecessary and cutesy insertions of religious commentary for the sake of educational value regardless, but the problems with presenting "honey" as having a short i sound at the end, along with the phonograms 'ti' and 'si' instead of 'tion' and 'sion' have me wondering what else might be wrong with the series.

    • nice traditional cursive style
    • good background information on why cursive first is a good idea
    • very thorough description of methodology
    • unlike some cursive styles, all lowercase begin and end on the baseline, preventing confusion
    • affordable and reproducible for multiple students in the same family, so a great value

    • strange assumptions about pronunciation which are not correct for Standard American English
    • confusing phonograms for 'ti' and 'si', which most certainly are not always "sh" (tile and silly being examples). Why not just write them as "tion" and "sion"?
    • very long and drawn-out explanations of how to use the method in a conversational manner, where a shorter description with bullet lists would have been easier to deal with

    To submit your own review of this curriculum, click here
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