How the App is OrganizedLetters are sorted into five groups based on the use of similar strokes. The pairing of letters with similar strokes reinforces the motor movement patterns used and helps to automate their use. Handwriting Heroes has done a fabulous job in how they categorized the letter groups through a kinesthetic approach. This helps build a foundation to work from as more advanced strokes are introduced. On opening, there is an information page for teachers and parents, and also stellar supplemental worksheets and other motivators to download for off screen practice from the appytherapy.com website store. One outstanding feature is the settings option which allows for kids to control the sensory input of using or not using the music, sound effects, and/or voice/narration as well as choosing the level of difficulty - keeping the pace at just the right challenge level to complete the given lesson with as much independence as possible. The fun begins once one of the 5 groupings has been selected. Best practice would be to select the groupings in order as there is a definite spatial progression where learning from one group flows into acquiring the skills needed in the next grouping. The letter stories are whimsical aliterations of just pure silly fun that appeals to both kids and adults. Each letter can be practiced up to three times for beginners, and once for kids to review and refresh information. Letters can also be practiced individually if a child is having difficulty with any particular letter. Prompts are faded to increase independence, help maintain attention, and retain motor sequencing through visualization. There are three levels of challenges:
- In the Easy level, kids do not need to form a continuous line but can lift their fingers off the tracing line to meet the goal
- In the Medium level, the prompt returns to the start of the stroke if a child does not form a continuous stroke
- In the Hard level, kids have to restart at the beginning of the letter if their lines are not formed with one fluid stroke
Learning to print is a monumental task for kids to accomplish. They must be developmentally ready, and need to stay motivated and on task to retain sequences for action. Kids first learn to draw or color as gross motor play - using their arms as a unit and eventually moving on to being able to grade their force and control and imitate strokes as arm and hand muscles develop. Handwriting Heroes is a Top Pick and deserving of TWA's badge of excellence! Check it out - and download today!
revised Jo Booth OTR/L 1.29.17