Handwriting without Tears
by Jan Olsen, OTR

After bringing our  left-handed then-7-year-old home from public school for a lot of remedial education, we turned to HWT for handwriting. The biggest draw for us was their understanding of left-handedness. All letters, whether for righties OR lefties, stand straight up, not slanted.It looks odd to those of us who learned to slant, but once you get a little used to it, it makes perfect sense. It’s also very legible.

HWT also teaches lefties to grip in a natural way that looks like a mirror of a right-handed grip. No curving the arm up and over the page.   This is another thing that helps eliminate those “tears”!  We also appreciated  that the letters and words to copy were printed on BOTH margins of the page so that her left arm wasn’t hiding what she was looking at. Such a simple thing and yet so overlooked by most publishers of copybooks, like spelling workbooks.

I agree with another poster, the grouping of letters by style is logical, but not only that, they give the groups cute names that help the student classify what type of stroke a letter will need. For instance, a tall lower case letter like “b” is called a “helicopter” letter because it starts up in the air. A little cartoon of a helicopter floats above the model “b” to help reinforce the idea. If your student is learning cursive, there are a lot of groups of connectors, such as “tow truck” letters that connect above the base line (like “br”) If your child is visual (I’m betting so, if you’re on this site!), these cues are priceless. Even in 6th grade, mine will occasionally forget how a certain letter is formed and all I have to say is “that’s a tow-truck!” ~Leslie


I love HWT. And I get excited about very FEW curricula. 🙂

-very simple letter formations
-groups letters into similar patterns
-very tactile
-not babyish if you want to start with an older child
-great transition into cursive

I have used it successfully with my very RB daughter. She started the first cursive book (which I think is geared to 3rd grade) at about age 10, and we spent a year and a half on it. She is now 12, and her handwriting is fairly neat if she tries (although she still hates it and prefers typing – but at least she can write if she needs to!). I have also used it with my totally opposite LB son. He started the print at 3 yrs old, and the cursive at 6. I love that it has been a good program for these 2 extremely opposite children in my house. I also have 2 other children (prek and early elem) who are toying with it, but I haven’t formalized it with them yet (both I suspect are RB and not ready). But they do enjoy playing with the letter-making blocks, and learning letters on the slate. They are already much farther ahead just by having this as a “toy” than their older RB sister.

One of my favorite things about HWOT is that it is fairly open ended. They do give you some scripted stuff, but you can tweak it easily. They also have a decent (and free) online worksheet make for creating simple sentences or words for copying.

Oh, and the crayons are kind of cool too. I bought those this year for the first time. They are much softer than regular crayons, and create a lot more friction. They also get used up quickly. My kids like them. ~Robyn



They have two great musical CDs. My sons favorite are “Where do you start your letters? At the top” song. Listen to them in the car daily. The stamp and screen is really fun, too. Highly recommend all of it!

In addition to the CDs, The iPhone and iPad app are both excellent for when you’re on the road. Letter school, another fantastic app has the HWT letters on it and it is fabulous. Have little fireworks when I complete the letter formation. My son asks to use it, and he has a long history of fine motor delays. Can’t recommend it highly enough! ~Chris

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