Touch and Write

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Touch and Write App Poster Image
Fun tracing practice with ketchup, cupcakes, monsters, more.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to trace uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and words (including personalized lists), as well as the sounds of the letter names and their phonetic pronunciations. A few of the pronunciations aren't as precise as they could be. As kids trace, they're developing their fine motor skills and academic habits. Touch and Write combines imaginative yet solid tracing practice and basic letter, number, and word learning.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play. Tap a "Quick Pick" button for letters, lowercase or uppercase alphabet words, and numbers; choose a word list; or input your own word list. The options menu for writing textures and writing paper appears down the left side of each letter and word screen, and the "P" icon enables users to switch between hearing letter names and phonetic sounds. During tracing, sometimes the app isn't quite as responsive as it could be.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The "info" icon on the main page leads both to instructions for this app and promotional information for other apps by the developer. Tapping on one of the other apps takes kids to the App Store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Touch and Write is a letter-, number-, and word-tracing app that includes 16 fun "writing textures" -- ketchup, shaving cream, syrup, and more -- as well as 28 writing-paper styles for backgrounds. Kids can trace uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers and six word lists with high-frequency sight words, using texture and paper combinations such as red paint on zebra stripes or chalk on a chalkboard. Parents can create tracing word lists, too. 

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What's it about?

Choose one of TOUCH AND WRITE's four main categories, or select a premade word list (or create your own) and tap Write. Select a texture and paper style, then begin to trace the letter. Follow the little green monster and cupcakes to begin tracing. If a kid veers off course, she'll hear a noise and the app will move the monster back to its original location. When kids finish tracing a letter, the app shows the completed letter above the textured version, says its name, and, if writing a word, pronounces the word. Then a cute, interactive reward screen appears. To increase the challenge, parents can tap the "P" option that changes letter pronunciations from names to sounds.

Is it any good?

For reluctant tracers, the zany combinations of tracing syrup on waffles, pink frosting on zebra stripes, or chalk on a roadway filled with cars may make writing practice attractive. The four main categories -- uppercase and lowercase letters, names of animals in lowercase, names of animals in uppercase, and numbers -- provide a starting point, and after that users can add personalized word lists.

The monster-and-cupcakes guide can be helpful for kids to learn where to begin a letter and how to continue along the proper tracing path, and they can be omitted once a kid learns the formation for more challenging tracing practice. Certainly, the same sensorial effect as using shaving cream or sand in real life isn't achieved on this app, and the visuals can get very busy depending on the combination of writing texture and paper style kids choose. That's not a big drawback, though, because a non-texture version of the letter or word appears at the top of the screen for each one. Overall, Touch and Write offers visually unique tracing practice, especially for kids who need extra motivation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fun ways to trace letters. Get some ideas from this app for real-life writing textures and write letters in ketchup, sand, and chalk.

  • For kids who aren't interested in tracing, create lists on Touch and Write from high-interest words, such as your kid's name and the names of other people and pets in your family.

App details

For kids who love learning about letters

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