Folks, this is my third review as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. It’s for the Handwriting Without Tears Wet-Dry-Try application (for Android tablets) and is the virtual version of their Slate Chalkboard activity for pre-Kindergarten and older children needing help with writing.
Handwriting Without Tears states this as their goal:
…to help students learn proper handwriting habits and then apply those habits naturally and automatically to all writing experiences that they’ll take throughout elementary school, high school, and beyond..
At the moment I’m not worried about high school and beyond. I just want my kids to learn to write properly. I wanted to use this app because it claimed to be able to help teach beginning writers how to write their letters using the correct stroke order (you know, top-to-bottom, left-to-right) and help to remediate or correct letter reversals (for example, writing the “b” as “d”). There’s a science to all of that which you can learn more about from their website.
As you know, I have a 6 year old First Grader, a 5 year old Kindergartener (or Preparatory as we call it here) and a 4 year old preschooler (he should be in our version of Nursery but he’s not legally required to).
My 6 year old can write using the correct stroke order and with no letter reversals. My daughter didn’t really need the app but she liked it a lot. It gave her a good review of correct writing strokes. She also enjoyed hearing the coach praise her when she wrote correctly.
My 5 year old can also write but he used to get the order for some letters wrong and reversed his “b”/ “d” and “p”/ “q” often. After almost a month of using this app, he no longer gets the stroke orders wrong or write any reversals. He also collected all the letter cards for the alphabet. They had a little competition going on for who gets the most cards. He’s the winner.
I actually wanted the app for my youngest who is only starting to write. For those of you who have 2 or more kids, you may have seen it happen when the older child starts schooling. The younger ones watch and copy how the older kid writes. I hadn’t taught my 4 year old the correct stroke order because of his age. So he would start from the bottom and go up or just copy the letter he sees.
After 3 weeks of using the app I gave him a little test. When I asked him to copy-write his name and some letters and numbers, he was able to do so using the correct stroke order for most of the time, but I had to remind him once or twice. I’m still seeing some letter reversals when he writes but not as often as before. He’s only 4 so it’s not a big deal.
So, how did I find it?
It works. It did what it claimed it to do. My boys, who had the writing issues, benefitted from it.
I didn’t have to watch over their shoulders all the time while they used it. During the first week, I sat with them while they used the app. After they figured out how it worked they didn’t want me next to them while they used it. But they wanted me around so they could show off their stars and cards to me and to give them praise. It freed up some of my time so I could do other work or just rest. You know how important that is for this Momma.
The app coach had a nice voice. It’s true! I liked listening to her voice. So did the kids. They looked forward to hearing her encourage their efforts and praising them when they wrote the letters correctly. The sounds and music for the app were created by Grammy winning Cathy Fink and Marcy Maxter.
However, they should include lower-case letters. The app taught only the upper case or capitals and numbers. The kids had no problems with number writing to begin with so I didn’t focus on that while reviewing the app. If lower-case letters were included then it would have been complete.
I liked the app. It made a lot of things easy for me. But I still made sure my children practiced writing on paper with a pencil. The app makes the child use his fingers to learn the strokes. It doesn’t teach proper pencil grip which is what you need to be able to write.
Handwriting Without Tears Wet-Dry-Try app retails at US$ 4.99 or approximately PhP 200.00. That’s affordable considering you save on paper, pencil and time. Of course, you will need to have access to a tablet to use it. But if you do, the app is a nice supplement to have.
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 United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Regulations.