A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try Suite for Capitals, Numbers & Lowercase is the app-based version of the popular, longstanding beginning-handwriting program of the same name. The three-step system of tracing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers on a virtual chalkboard with a "wet" sponge and a "dry" towel and then writing them with chalk keeps practice easy and consistent. An audio coach gives instructions while step-by-step visual examples appear. After kids complete a letter or a number three times, they earn a colorful letter card that's displayed on-screen. A progress page shows parents the letters kids have completed, as well as the errors they've made in four categories.
What's it about?
First, parents can enter an email address to receive weekly updates from HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS: WET-DRY-TRY SUITE FOR CAPITALS, NUMBERS & LOWERCASE and then create a user account. Choose Capitals, Numbers, or Lowercase mode. Kids watch and listen to the coach complete the letter or number step by step, and then they erase it with a sponge, dry it with a towel, and try to trace it with chalk. They repeat this two more times with increasing difficulty to earn a colorful letter card. Kids get organized, proven, tracing practice with good progress tracking.
Is it any good?
Without a doubt, the Handwriting Without Tears system has helped many kids learn to write letters and numbers during the past 30 years of its existence, and this digital version is likely to do the same. Letters appear within HWT-created groups that make sense and minimize frustration. The visual demonstrations and verbal instructions provided by the pleasant-voiced writing coach are crystal-clear, and the colorful letter cards give kids just enough reward without being distracting. Lowercase letters, including double lines kids must stay within on the board, are more difficult than uppercase letters or numbers.
The Handwriting Without Tears' progress-report system is easy to read, although if parents want more detailed reports or to track more than one kid, they have to make in-app purchases on top of the $6.99 app-purchase price. There are other very good, less expensive tracing and early handwriting apps available. Still, for kids who need a very consistent handwriting system and for parents who want lots of support and progress information, Handwriting Without Tears is worth the price.
Talk to your kids about ...
Use the settings to customize tracing practice to your kid's current level.
Try the same skills via a real, hand-held chalkboard, a sponge, a towel, and chalk, while using some of the verbal cues kids hear on the app (for example, "frog jump" to start back at the beginning spot and "helicopter" to use an upstroke).
- Device: iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, letter or word recognition, writing
- Skills: Self-Direction: effort, personal growth
Emotional Development: persevering
Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
- Price: $6.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: September 27, 2013
- Category: Education
- Size: 57.30 MB
- Publisher: Handwriting Without Tears & Get Set for School
- Version: 1.11
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
- Last updated: November 11, 2020