Portland Italic Handwriting

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Negin in Grenada

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, November 22, 2006
  • Grades Used: K - 2nd
  • Dates used: 2003 - Present
We are very happy with this program and will continue using it. My only criticism of it is that there is not enough practice in the pages. We purchased a wonderful software program called Start Write. With that, we get additional practice, and I get to choose excerpts from books and personalized sentences and such. They love that! Everyone praises our daughter's handwriting. Our son is young and fine motor skills are still at the challenging stage.

For me, personally, whether they stick with cursive is not a huge issue. I don't write in cursive and know few people who actually do in this day and age. I am content if their handwriting is neat and read-able. In this day of keyboards and speed, that in itself is almost a miracle to accomplish!

Natalie Bias

  • Reviewed on Monday, December 13, 2004
  • Grades Used: K-6
  • Dates used: 1998 to 2004
I would like to add to a review I wrote several years ago when my oldest children were 5 and 6 years. We have been using Portland Italic since 1998 and I have found that my daughter who is 10 now will not write in italic cursive unless I make her or she is doing a handwriting lesson. She always reverts back to manuscript if given a choice. Her print is neat and very readable. She can not read cursive and struggles to read letters from friends and family.

My son, who was 5 at the time of my last review, has practiced italic hand each school day and has progressed through several books, but has not had much success with this program. I made him repeat book B twice because his handwriting is so sloppy. He is frustrated with his messy handwriting and tends to think the words he has to write are meaningless to him. He has asked me to show him how to write like grown ups in cursive.

I have 6 and 3 year old sons who will begin handwriting this next school term. We are looking at other handwriting programs.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, January 10, 2004
  • Grades Used: 2-4
  • Dates used: 2001-2004
I have two boys 3 and 10. We have been homeschooling for four years now. My older son struggles with his fine motor skills and hates to write. I regret not forcing him to cut, color, and play with clay when he was little. He didn't enjoy those things and I didn't realize their importance until it was time for him to start writing. We were doing most assignments orally just to get through the day. Many tears were shed before I found this program. His handwriting is improving steadily and he experiences far less frustration now. I just can't think of any reason to take a child who is already struggling with basic printing and expect him to also learn traditional cursive. Teaching him how to read traditional cursive wasn't difficult at all. I just showed him what letters like r and b looked like and made sure that he had occasional opportunities to read neatly printed cursive. For example I purchased some used Abeka textbooks just to use as reference material. When we were signing Christmas cards this year he asked if I would show him how to write his signature the traditional way. He enjoys signing things like a grown-up now but said he wouldn't want to write that way all the time. I only opened the teacher's guide once and think it's unnecessary. However, it is important to learn how to write in italic when trying to teach this program. When there is a letter that he is struggling with I sometimes have to make photocopies so that he will have enough practice. I highly recommend this program and plan to start my youngest child on it next year.

Natalie Bias

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, September 19, 2001
  • Grades Used: k-6th
  • Dates used: 1998-present
I have been using the Portland Italic program with my two children ages 5 and 6 years old since they were each 4 years old. We finished the Ready writer program first then moved right into this program. They love the work books and I love the lack of preparation time involved. My 6 year old is in book C and my 5 year old is in book B. These correlate to grade levels 1 and 2. The italic program is easy to follow and the writing style is natural to do. There is a smooth transition to cursive style without the frustration of having to learn a totally new type of handwriting as in the transition from ball and stick to traditional cursive. The results have been great. Both children have a very neat, legible hand for their age. They are able to finish an assignment in around 15-20 minutes. I plan to continue these books to the end of the series.