Cursive Writing LetterSchool – kids learn to write letters, alphabet, and numbers by Sanoma Media Netherlands B.V. is a sure hit for kids learning cursive. As with their previous app, LetterSchool – learn to write letters and numbers, this one is chocked full of fun and surprises that will keep kids coming back for more. Practice will help bring handwriting up and ready for automatic recall and use. AND that will improve the flow of expression and thought because kids don’t have to stop and think about all the mechanics of the action of writing in addition to producing content. If the skills are not fully integrated, it is just too hard to put HOW to do with WHAT you are doing simultaneously. For kids with dyslexia or dyspraxia, cursive writing can be a life saver as far as being able to keep up with class demands. Because there are no sudden starts and stops when writing in cursive, the ability to write in a left to right format is fluid. Read more in a brief article written by Suzanne Baruch Asherson in The New York Times on the benefits of learning cursive handwriting. The settings are simple to configure for up to three children. A simple but effective record-keeping chart will let a parent or teacher know what letters a child has practiced. There are two levels: a silver and gold. The gold is more challenging. It keeps interest and motivation high by providing opportunities in which to respond. LetterSchool’s website is also a must go to the site, in order to get the most out of the app. It is linked within the app under a gated adult’s section.
On opening Cursive Writing LetterSchool, you will see why the slogan “LetterSchool makes handwriting cool” is so apropos. It’s fast, fun, and sassy. Choose a letter in one of two fonts, Zaner-Bloser or D’Nealian. WARNING If you do not choose a letter, they call out to you! This is just a sample of the fine-tuning of details that make this app a winner! Simply put, LetterSchool, pairs fun and smiles with learning, and you can’t ask for more than that. Each letter is offered in four sections to ensure retention and the ability to generalize skills by providing variety:
- The Intro introduces the sound, shape, and name of the letter or number. This is a great way to start as it brings visual and auditory systems on board and wakes up and alerts a student to get ready for action.
- Tap is where a child sets up touch anchors or guides to form a letter or number.
- Trace features 2 opportunities to trace letters/numbers after you’ve tapped in the dotted anchors. I really love how the tracing displays in a video format - having the flowing movement directly indicates the kinetic component of cursive writing as a whole.
- Write is the last format and fades all prompts so that a child can try to form the letter or number on his/her own. When this section is accomplished, the letters light up ala Disney style, making you feel all warm and grand. It is a time for High Fives all around.
Cursive Writing LetterSchool is a must-have app for teachers and parents. Not only is this app child driven and approved, it brings back the joy of learning and a sense of accomplishment. It is also versatile. By adding a stylus or altering the iPad’s presentation – you can work on key components to handwriting. Having an iPad in an upright position strengthens the wrists. Placing it flat on the ground and writing when on your belly facilitates dissociation between the shoulder and elbow for a more mature grasp and writing style. There are so many ways to use this app and then apply it to off-screen learning and generalization. It's certainly a TWA Top Pick and one to place in your toolbox!
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing on Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps have been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.