Handwriting Without Tears – Is It Possible?
Writing texts by hand is still an important skill in our digitalized world. At school, a student is required to do a lot of handwriting, and that is why mastering this skill is a must at the very beginning. Besides, researches show that children who have learned handwriting by the 1st grade are better in communicating with their peers.
It is important for a kid to start learning handwriting as they are about to enter their first class. However, every parent knows how difficult it is to persuade the kids to do exercises systematically. Simply drawing letters might not be fun enough to motivate them. Especially with modern gadgets promising various other ways of entertainment, from watching videos to playing games.
Evidently, a more innovative approach is required: something that makes handwriting more fun and could be adapted to different tastes. Today we will review Handwriting Without Tears, an advanced curriculum for pre-schoolers and 1st graders which is aimed at mastering this skill quickly and easily.
What Is Inside This Workbook?
Handwriting Without Tears is a printed workbook for students, provided together with additional materials such as slate and cardboard figures. There is a digital part as well: it contains songs and animations which are to be played to students to facilitate their learning, and schedules for teachers which make it easier to plan lessons, hand out assignments and track the progress.
The complete course contains 3 main parts:
- Writing Readiness: a program for preschoolers, including kindergarten students. At this stage children just get prepared to learn writing, so the program mostly spins around games and fun. Students listen to songs about letters and sing them, play with additional materials, build letters from the special cardboard materials and learn to recognize letters and numbers.
- Printing: this part is designed for 1st and 2nd graders which master writing print letters. It also contains a lot of gaming. Children are taught to grip pencils correctly, which should help them get used to handwriting quicker. Besides, special cognitive practices are used to memorize the rules of drawing letters: first capital, then lower case.
- Cursive: this program typically starts at the 3rd grade and is designed to help with smooth transition from printed to cursive writing. Special attention is paid to keeping written letters inside lines and making them proportional.
Handwriting Without Tears: How It Works?
While there are standard requirements for handwriting in all schools, each kid may need a special approach to learning these rules. For some, it is easier to focus and to follow guidelines, others are more interested in fun, and some kids are better at learning through creativity.
In addition to that, there are multiple ways to memorize new information: by seeing, by hearing, by touching etc.. Some people learn better through one way than through another. Finding what works best for each student would surely help the entire group to make better progress.
Teaching Tactics Working on Many Levels
In order to make the teaching of handwriting really easy, the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum is using the following tactics:
- Multisensory learning. All children in a group receive lots of play-based instructions when familiarizing with each new letter. These instructions include viewing animations, listening to songs, touching objects and manipulating them – e.g when building a letter from cardboard pieces. This helps to address diverse learning habits.
- Cross curricular activities. This curriculum actually connects handwriting lessons to other disciplines. Letter sections include simple math problems, language art elements, social studies elements, fun science facts etc.. Moreover, every single letter section contains colouring elements, engaging children to use their creativity.
- Special letter order. Capital and lowercase letters are grouped in different creative ways to make children more interested and to facilitate writing patterns that are common for each group. Besides, lowercase letters are presented in a way that facilitates the transition to cursive.
- Students edition design. Simple and straightforward language is used in the workbooks making the material understandable and avoiding children’s fatigue. For the same purpose images are large and illustrating the material step by step.
- Line success. Simplified system of lines is used as a guidance to different letter sizes. There is a base line to show the placement of a letter and a mid line to limit its size. Starting with the simplified system usually helps to master other kinds of lines afterwards.
- Free students assessments. Additional materials are available together with the main workbooks to make it easier for both students and teachers to track progress.
Summing It Up: Is It Helpful?
The developers of Handwriting Without Tears curriculum have gathered feedback from multiple teachers which have used this solution at work. The complete report is available at their website. It shows nice results: around 90% of 1-2 grade kids gain best marks at handwriting after completing the Printing course and more than 79% of 3-4 graders in average have received top results after completing the Cursive course.
Using this solution for easy training of a 1st grader or a preschooler is likely to provide nice results if a child prefers active ways of learning and especially if it likes coloring. This fun-driven style of teaching uses various means to draw kids’ attention to important details and to motivate them to follow proper forms and proportions.
Another important aspect is that the Handwriting Without Tears programs can be used by parents as well. Moreover, these workbooks may sometimes help to engage siblings to participate in this game-styled learning and thus to make even better progress in handwriting.
As highlighted by some customers, the Printing program is highly efficient for kids who are just starting from zero with their handwriting, while those who have already grasped the basics might find it less entertaining.