Which Way is Write?
As an Occupational Therapist for over twenty years, I have encountered numerous handwriting programs for children. In fact, sometimes it is downright overwhelming to determine which one is the best for a student! First, I do believe that it is incredibly beneficial to use a systematic approach when teaching handwriting. Not only is this helpful, but it provides the obvious structure necessary to understanding that learning handwriting is a process that takes time. With that said, sometimes the selected program needs to be adapted. Just like anything else, we must consider the whole child or even the entire classroom when making decisions about learning techniques.
Let’s dive in to explore several reputable handwriting programs that teach children using a systematic approach. Each of them was created by an OT and all are described as being multi-sensory. However, they are quite different from one another. Hopefully, this article will help you discover the “write” way for your students.
**Click on the name of each program to be taken directly to their website.
1. Learning Without Tears (LWT) has been around for quite some time. Its former name is Handwriting Without Tears and in fact it was one of the first pediatric trainings that I attended back in the 90’s. (Don’t judge!) This program has gone through so much change through the years and still remains my top go-to program when teaching the basics of handwriting. With its unique hands on approach, children of all abilities can begin to grasp letter formations in a concrete manner. It is the only program of its kind that offers such distinct hands on materials for use in the classroom, clinic and home. LWT has a developmental approach and is easy to learn how to use. New additions have made this program extremely comprehensive. With two assessment tools, therapists can quickly determine where a student is performing and begin a program right away.
2. Size Matters takes quite a different approach to handwriting instruction. This program focuses solely on the size of letters, hence the name. Numbers are assigned one to three to indicate the size of both upper and lowercase letters. This program claims that if a student can distinguish the proper size of a letter, then formation will follow. Size Matters also uses a unique system incorporating visuals for teaching spacing between and within words that has been helpful to many students.
3. TV Teacher is another favorite of mine! I use this program quite frequently both in person and virtually. This unique program uses Alphabet Beats as an effective online handwriting program that makes learning to write the ABCs easy and fun! The kids love how Miss Marnie (who is a real-life occupational therapist) teaches writing paired with catchy rhythmic chants. TV Teacher has been proven to be highly effective for children who respond well to video-modeling. There are additional videos that teach pre-writing strokes and shapes as well as drawing scenes from places that Marnie goes.
4. Handwriting Heroes is a fairly new program that uses a systematic, story-based approach to handwriting instruction. The playful heroes teach students how to form letters through memorable stories, funny animations, and catchy tunes. This program teaches lowercase letters first and in groups based on the similarity of strokes. The program claims that lowercase letters can be learned in just five weeks because of the simple, yet fast paced format. Handwriting Heroes Online is an additional component that offers an interactive learning platform, guiding kids through letter formation lessons, games and activities.
Check them all out and send me a comment on your favorite writing program!