Handwriting Without Tears
Pre-k and Kindergarten
Dates used: 2008/2009 - Pre-K, 2009 (currently for Kindergarten)
"Handwriting Without Tears" is an exceptional program not only for teaching children handwriting but in addition can be used for teaching the letters of the alphabet.
It is a hands-on program that teaches the children how to construct their letters using wood pieces, clay, magnetic stamps, and chalkboards before they ever put "pencil" to paper. This provides a solid foundation for developing fine motor skills and penmanship. With this program the children feel as if they are "playing" because of the variety of materials utilized.
This has been perfect for my very active 4 & 5 year old boys. The workbooks are very inviting with pictures that are "boy-friendly" and do not contain an overabundance of "practice".
In addition, the teacher's manual provides the teacher with a solid foundation for the philosophy of the program. It offers a schedule for teaching the letters, yet also acknowledges that the teacher can create their own schedule.
There are several supplemental materials that I have particularly liked. The golf sized pencils they recommend for the kindergartner have helped my son with control in his writing. As a former primary teacher, I wish I had known what a difference they make for beginning writers as compared to "fat" primary pencils or regular sized pencils. The flip crayons have been a big hit around my household and were well worth the money! The "Gray Block Paper" is wonderful for providing additional practice beyond the workbook. The whole concept of "Mat Man" was incredible for teaching my son the beginning stages of drawing. His drawings literally flourished after doing the "Mat Man" lessons.
The major drawback with HWOT is the expense of the program at the preschool/kindergarten level because of the many hands-on components. I invested in it all and do not regret the investment one bit. I know that I will be able to use the materials throughout the primary grades. This year I only needed to get the Kindergarten book and manual since I had purchased everything else in Pre-K. In addition, it holds its resale value very well!!!
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