Handwriting Without Tears

Providing a tactile, hands-on approach to handwriting, this approach works well for many types of students.

It is particularly helpful for children who are left-handed children or those who need a more interactive approach to learning. Children who struggle with motor skills or experience cognitive difficulties will also reap great benefits from this program. Unique to this program, practice pages use a two-horizontal-line format rather than the three-horizontal-line format typically found in writing programs, cursive has no slant and letters are formed using a very simple single-stroke, and it uses a multisensory approach to teach. Teaching and practice sessions are short (10-15 minutes), without a lot of meaningless busy work.

Each level of Handwriting without Tears consists of a workbook and teacher guide.

Consumable Student workbooks have horizontal pages in Kindergarten through Grade 2. Grade 3 and up offers vertical pages. Workbooks may be used separately, although at the early levels parents of struggling writers may find the Teacher Guides extremely valuable.

Newly revised in 2018, the Teacher Guides provide additional teaching instruction and support, while the Student Books provide more writing practice for each lesson. While some of the content is the same from the 2013 version, the expanded content means the two editions are not compatible without considerable parental/teacher modification (depending on lesson and level). Please note, the Spanish Student Books are also now updated to 2018 editions. There are currently no Spanish Teacher Guides available. English Teacher Guides provide the overall teaching philosophy, techniques and applicable multi-sensory activities, but do not provide the daily lesson plans.

Teacher Guides include:

  • an overview of the program
  • handwriting instruction
  • the stages of learning and scope and sequence
  • teaching guidelines
  • weekly and daily schedules for each unit
  • instructions on proper posture
  • paper and pencil skills

Following these helpful "how to" sections are lessons corresponding to each page in the student book. Each lesson includes a reduced student page, lesson objective and introduction, lesson plans and enrichment, ELL (English Language Learner) support and Cross Curricular suggestions. The back of each teacher guide includes multisensory activities suggestions, remediation tips, additional strategies for English Language Learners and Children with Special Needs, handwriting standards, references and index. Inside the back cover is a letter formation template for that grade level.

Please note, many of the online interactive resources require an additional purchase and appear to be limited to schools. There is a 30-day trial of the publishers HITT (Handwriting Interactive Teaching Tools) with purchase of the Teacher Guide. While this online support may be helpful, it is certainly not necessary to use this excellent program effectively. Suggested manipulatives are listed with the recommended grade level and the grade level Teacher Guide effectively explains the manipulatives. sc. ~ Deanne

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