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Basic Shapes for Beginners: A Hands-On Approach for Pre-Writing Strokes for Preschoolers Paperback – January 8, 2016
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About the Author
Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and graduated in 2006. She now writes at Growing Hands-On Kids, where she encourages independence, one activity at a time. Her goal is to provide resources, education, and activities for those working with and raising children of all ages and abilities. Heather lives in the Cincinnati, Ohio area with her husband David and two children (ages 1 and 4).
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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As a parent of 2 preschoolers and a pediatric OT, I was very excited to review a book that takes a holistic approach to learning shapes and pre-writing concepts. It is a great intro to working on fine motor skills and pre-writing development. This book would be good for parents and childcare providers to enrich their approach to teaching through sensory strategies, kinesthetic /movement-based learning and through traditional fine motor techniques. I can see home-school parents or daycare/childcare using this as a progressive curriculum. The activities are great for children (2-6) with typical development and children with mild to moderate delays. I can see recommending this book to parents I work with who have children with delays in fine motor skills to supplement occupational therapy services.
-The book provides color worksheets to use with the activities (with an online code to print more if needed).
- Uses sensory, cognitive, kinesthetic, and many other learning strategies to build strong skills in engaging and fun ways. Much better than the average tracing books that claim to teach pre-writing skills.
- Goes in developmental order of skills, building on previously learned skills. Explains this progression in easily understood terms.
- Shows how to use visual, verbal, and tactile cueing while teaching.
- Encourages learning in a variety of positions (not just sitting at a table). I like that the author encourages activities be done on the floor in ”tummy time.” It would be a great addition to encourage activities to be done on vertical surfaces, like a chalkboard or paper tapes on a wall.
- The book is listed as a 6 week curriculum, but the skills it is teaching develop over a period of several years. If you are doing this program with a 4-6 year old, all the skills might be realistic within 6 weeks. However, if you are working with younger children, the activities are still appropriate, just not in a 6 week period. I would think of it more as a 6-step curriculum.
- There is an error on the worksheet for circles that should be fixed. When teaching circle, a child should be encouraged to go counter-clockwise (which the book does note). However, the worksheet has a green start dot and red stop dot in the wrong locations.
- We also had confusion on some tracing worksheets with have arrows to show line direction. It would be helpful to put the arrow at the start of the line, rather than the end of the line.
Currently, we are in week two. I am sharing below some of the favorable things I have found and then one concern.
I will come back and add an addendum to this review when we have completed the book.
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
1. The “How to Use this Book” section—it is short and helpful. Especially the reference for which shapes are typically learned by a certain age.
2. The “Before Getting Started” section is also beneficial in giving examples for terms to say when teaching pre-writing lines.
3. I love that it is divided into weeks. It is a 6 week course, but the author does emphasize working at your child’s pace.
4. At the beginning of each week is a “Supply List” page. Many are optional and most are common household items. Ex. Shaving cream, play dough, uncooked noodles.
5. A page is dedicated to each day.
6. The same format on every page. The “Activity” and the “Purpose” are listed at the top of the page then the “Items needed” for that project. Then the “Directions”.
7. Illustrations alongside nearly every activity. I love this! It is so helpful for visual learners.
8. Each section/week covers a different shape and listed vertically for easy reference.
9. Printables. Available in the back of the book or can be downloaded.
10. Bonus activity at the end of each week.
1. The front cover. The cover could more accurately reflect what the book is all about.
Kid-friendly illustrations with more color would be appropriate and more appealing.
Before my introduction to this book, I was not really aware of the importance of learning “pre-writing strokes”. I had just been teaching my daughter to write each letter or number.
She was familiar with the terms vertical and horizontal and she could demonstrate using hand motions, but she really began to grasp the concept while using this book.
It was evident after completing day four in the book; I was showing her how to write the number five and I used the words vertical and horizontal…and she got it! Now when I coach her with writing letters and numbers…Instead of saying “draw straight line down or across” I can just say, “vertical line or horizontal line” and she totally gets it!
This book is very user-friendly! The activities are fun! Even if you are not homeschooling, this is a great book to have for fun, educational, interactive activities. Once we work through it, I plan to go back and incorporate the activities into other learning projects. This would be great for grandparents too! Anyone who spends time with children can use this book. I highly recommend it!
This book is a fantastic resource! All of the activities (designed by a a certified occupational therapy assistant) encourage children to develop pre-writing skills through play. The activities are set up as a 6 week course, but the author explains that you don't have to do it that way; it's merely a suggestion. Printables are in the back of the book and also downloadable (with a unique code) for ease of use. This is a great resource for a home or preschool!
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