Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) is a program to help children with handwriting skills in a fun and successful way. The purpose of the program is to make handwriting available to children as an automatic, natural skill. Teaching a child to write with sensorimotor difficulties can be challenging. HWT is a successful developmentally borne method that targets each child’s individual needs, making handwriting easy. Countless students cannot write legibly, becoming confused in the formation of letters and clutching their pencils tightly. They get frustrated and bogged down in the mechanics of writing, leaving little energy for expressing their thoughts. HWT is a step-by-step program to assist in the mechanics of writing using multi-sensory techniques to help children improve their handwriting skills. The program consists of three components: readiness (pre k- kindergarten), printing (1st and 2nd grade), and cursive (3rd – 5th grade).
Get Set for School is the readiness component of the program. There is an emphasis on using multi-sensory objects and tools to introduce the shapes of letters, such as wood pieces, stamps, play dough, music, and workbooks. The idea is to help the child become successful whether they are singing about letters and numbers, building them, or rolling out dough letters. With multiple approaches to learning there is something for everyone.
The second component is Letters and Numbers for Me, which is the printing section of the program. Along with the objects and tools used for readiness, the printing program adds a bit more. For example a chalk board is used to help the child become familiar with how to make the strokes for the letters. The chalkboard is not as intimidating as pencil and paper and continues to encourage multi-sensory learning with the use of the “wet-dry-try” method. The workbooks are encouraged at all levels of the program. Teaching letters is done in a specific order, in regards to formation verses alphabetical, but when teaching numbers it is important to teach them in numerical order.
Cursive Success is the last level of this program. This component of the program reviews the formation of lowercase cursive letters and has a strong emphasis on connecting letters into words. The workbooks advance as children become more successful at each stage.
The Handwriting Without Tears program is simple and timely with great results. A child should practice a little bit every day, starting with five minutes each day and increasing the time as needed. Make it fun and let the child set the schedule and activity. Your trained therapists will be able to assist and guide you through the HWT program with your child. Along with your child’s therapists there are kindergarten, printing, and cursive teacher’s guides to help you better understand the program and the steps to take to help your child become successful. Numerous research studies have been published to support the methods behind HWT.