iTrace - handwriting for kids

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
iTrace - handwriting for kids App Poster Image
Tracing-practice app corrects, assesses, and rewards.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can practice tracing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, their own names, and words with iTrace. Kids also can learn letter names (not phonetic pronunciations) and word recognition for more than 500 words. As kids watch the demonstration and then trace what they've observed, they're practicing following visual directions as they learn early writing skills. iTrace - handwriting for kids offers hundreds of tracing options with fun rewards; adding letter sounds would boost the learning value.

Ease of Play

iTrace automatically begins with some of the easiest letters to write, such as L, I, and T. It shows a hand on the screen using a stylus for tracing the letters and suggests kids also trace after learning to use the pincer grip. However, it doesn't detail when they should do this or what stylus to use. Some of the words included can be long and confusing, and some letters drop off the screen as other letters enlarge when traced.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

A link to the developer's website (which promotes its other apps) appears under the About tab, which is child-locked.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that iTrace - handwriting for kids is an early handwriting skills practice app that includes letters, numbers, words, and a special mode that focuses practice on the user's name. The app shows a realistic hand holding a pencil that shows kids exactly where to trace on the model letter or number. It also erases incorrect tracing back to the previous step. This app is particularly helpful for kids who have difficulty with differentiating letter spacing and fine motor issues. It includes a detailed progress report for parents that gives images of each tracing as well as assessments, such as "too shaky," "out of bounds," and "overextended." Each letter includes a default version and an alternate version for different styles and preferences (including one for lefties). Fun rewards include seek-and-finds and cute animated scenes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTruth M. July 10, 2017

Interactive Learning

After downloading many costly learning apps, I found this one to be my favorite. The graphics are clean, soft and uncluttered. There are great options, includin... Continue reading

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What's it about?

Read through the tutorial, set up a player account, and adapt the settings to letter style and left- or right-hand preference. Choose uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers, name practice, or words. Watch the hand trace the letter, listen to the letter name spoken, and then trace. Dots and lines show you where to trace. After tracing a letter three times, kids get a reward. In name mode, kids choose colors for tracing their names. In words mode, kids see animated items appear in the scene after each word they trace correctly.

Is it any good?

Overall, ITRACE - HANDWRITING FOR KIDS provides lots of good tracing exercises to help kids get familiar with letter formation. The ability to customize letters to left- or right-handed tracing as well as to different writing styles is especially impressive. As kids progress, the app selects the next appropriate exercise automatically. The My Name module allows kids to practice writing their own names in many color combinations -- sure to be a favorite choice for many kids.

On the downside, once a word appears the letters enlarge so parts of the word often confusingly fall off the right side of the screen. There are some odd word choices in the word-tracing mode that young kids aren't likely to be familiar with or use, such as "yacht" and "stilts," although you can add your own words. Also, the app says only the name of the letter and doesn't sound it out. Some terms used in the assessment ("too shaky," "out of bounds," and "overextended") may be descriptive but not necessarily helpful to say to kids trying to master that letter. If young users stick with letters, numbers, and kids' names for a while and modify assessments for older tracers, they can avoid the pitfalls and enjoy iTrace's strengths.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Create an individual user account and set letters to the style your kid is most familiar with as well as to left- or right-hand preference.

  • View the user reports, but consider leaving some of the negative language in the assessments ("too shaky," "mistakes") out of conversations with your kid about his or her work.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, letter or word recognition, writing
    Math: numbers
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making
    Self-Direction: effort, self-assessment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: September 10, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 101.00 MB
  • Publisher: Elately iTrace
  • Version: 1.2.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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