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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting without Tears Logo

From the website, " Millions of students all over the world use Handwriting Without Tears. Our easy-to-teach, easy-to-learn curriculum makes handwriting mastery joyful for students and their teachers."  Handwriting Without Tears has a wide variety of products available to instruct and reinforce handwriting including: student books for Pre-K - 5th grade, teacher's guides, and numerous hands on handwriting helps.  You can download their catalog here. They also have recently developed an app called Wet Dry Try that I have recently had the opportunity to use and review.

HWOT Wet/Dry App Title page

The Wet Dry Try app for Capital Letters and Numbers for children ages 4-8 is the electronic version of the Slate Chalkboard Handwriting Without Tears activity.  Using the app reinforces good handwriting habitats and teaches correct formation and orientation habits.  The app is compatible for Android devices with a 7 in or larger screen or iPad.

Purchase in iTunes here for $4.99

Purchase for Android here for $4.99.

I have been using the Wet Dry Try app with my 4,6, and 7 year olds. My 7 year old has been using it for daily handwriting practice as he still has a tendency to form letters and numbers incorrectly.  My 6 year old is using it to practice the letter we are working on that week, and my 4 year old as she is interested.   How does the app work?

You start out by creating a log in for your child.  Then you can choose the Pick and Practice section which allows the child to pick what letter they want to work on, or the HWOT Winning Order section that teaches the letters in the order HWOT recommends and unlocks more letters are they complete them.  The instructor tells and shows the child how to form the letter.  Then:

On the first step, the child uses a wet sponge to draw the letter.

On the second step, they use a paper towel to erase it.

On the third step they use a piece of chalk to draw it again.

After completing the steps correctly, they get applause and child earn a star.  Each star represents a level with each level becoming more challenging.

Star Level One-   This level has full letter formation guidance with permanent visual clues to help guide the child.  This level also has the greatest tolerance for straying off of the line.

Star Level Two- This level has only flashed visual clues and less tolerance for straying off the chalk line.

Star Level Three- No visual clues and has the least tolerance for straying off the chalk line.

After all three stars have been collected, the child earns a letter card for that letter.

There are options that the parent can choose to make the stroke tolerance easier or more challenging, and turn on and off the music, instruction, or sound effects.  Parents also can lock or unlock the different star levels.

The app corrects the child if their strokes are not formed properly.  The 4 types of mistakes it corrects are: not starting at the proper place, lifting the finger in the middle of a stroke, straying too far from the letter line or not stopping at the end, and going backwards.  If a child struggles with the same step three times the instructor will demonstrate the letter for them again.

I really like the look of the HWOT app.  It looks just like you are using a real chalkboard to do the exercises.  The app is very easy to begin using.  Immediately after downloading I handed it over to my 7 year old and he began using it with no instructions or help from me.  I like that you have the option to use the app for several children (up to 4) and it saves their progress.  The children like the music and the sound effects.  Especially when the frog ribbets and the instructor says " Cool Beans."  They love using the app and collecting their letter cards.  I think it is a great app for reinforcing proper capital letter and number formation.

 The app is pretty sensitive even at the one star level   If you carry your line too far or stray too far off the original line it starts that stroke over again and it doesn't take much of a movement to cause that to happen.  My 6 and 7 year olds did not have much trouble with this, but it did cause some frustration in my 4 year old.

To read what other Crew Mates had to say click on the banner below.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
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