Third Graders Inspire a Teacher’s First Book

Students learning cursive will have a new source for inspiration, thanks to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s Third Grade Teacher Kym Mendez. Ms. Mendez recently published I Am Brave: A Positive Affirmations Cursive Workbook. The book incorporates encouraging language and positive self-talk with the elements of cursive instruction.

“Cursive writing and self-affirmation are both skills and habits that require repeated practice,” says Ms. Mendez. “Positive talk creates positive feelings. As students practice their writing cursive, they are also nurturing the habit of speaking positively about themselves. It’s very powerful.”

The idea took shape early in the year, when Ms. Mendez’s students were starting to complete their handwriting books and she was looking for additional resources.

“Our students learn cursive in second and third grade,” she says. “After searching online to provide them with more material for practice, I realized I could create my own.”

The book begins by inviting students to practice writing their own names and to name unique aspects of their identities. The pages that follow include affirming phrases and statements—beginning simply, with statements such as “I am loved,” and “My voice matters.”

As the book progresses, the affirmations expand in length— “I am worthy of all the good things in the world,” and “I have a community of people who love me and support me.” 

She even encouraged students to submit their own affirmations, which are included at the end of the book as coloring pages:

I will not be afraid to ask for help.

I will keep going and push through even when things are hard. 

Love is love and you are you. 

Ms. Mendez created the actual book using Canva, and it is now available via Amazon either as a Kindle book, from which pages can be printed, or as a paperback.

“Cursive is a valuable skill for a number of reasons,” says Ms. Mendez. “Physically, it is an excellent tool to develop fine motor skills. It’s also a lesson in perseverance. It’s not easy and requires focus concentration, which is important for young learners. It is an achievement that students feel proud of having mastered.”