Friday, February 22, 2013

TOS Review: Handwriting Without Tears Wet Dry Android App!

You've probably heard of Handwriting Without Tears before.  If not, they are a popular curriculum for teaching children, grades K-5 how to write.  Their program is used in many schools and homeschools around the country-including many Montessori programs.  Their multi-sensory program uses music, manipulatives, and workbooks to teach handwriting-without tears.  Well, Handwriting Without Tears has added a new portion of their program-an app for tablets!!

Over the last few weeks, we have been trying out this little gem on our Android tablet.  The Wet Dry Try app opens with this screen.  In the settings, you can create up to 4 different profiles to play the games.  As you can see, this profile is for Dad.

You can choose from two different activities.

The first one, Pick and Practice, has the child pick any of the letters to practice that they want to.  They practice each letter 3 times and then they receive a letter badge.  As you can see, Dad has received badges for letter A and C in this game. {Please excuse the way my camera picked up all the lint on the screen.  It doesn't look that way in person *sigh*}

Here is the C badge up close.

HWT's Winning Order follows the order of the workbooks and introduces the letters in order of the easiest to write.  Once they are mastered, harder letters are unlocked.

Here is a screen shot of the letters in the 'Winning Order.'

The app is supposed to be a virtual chalkboard.  Using their fingers, children trace the letter three times-once with a virtual sponge-to wet the letter, once with a virtual towel-to dry the letter, and the third time with a virtual piece of chalk-to try the letter.

Once a letter is successfully traced, the student receives a star.  When three stars have been earned, a letter is passed and they unlock letters.

Settings in the app can be adjusted to determine the stroke tolerance, game play options, and audio control.

Mini Cooper, 3,

and Charger, 5, were both willing participants in this review.  

Every time we tried it, it quickly became a family affair.  Dad was willing to oversee the learning (since the tablet belongs to him) and everyone else patiently waited their turn (or not so patiently since Explorer didn't get a turn).  Mustang, 7, was not interested in the least.  

Did we like The Wet Dry Try app?

Well yes, and no.  

Charger did very well with the app. Mini-Cooper, however, seems to have been a little too young and almost ended up in tears a couple of times despite the name of the program :).  To be fair, she is at the very bottom of the age for this program.

We really enjoyed it as a fun app with educational concepts, though we are not sure it has actually improved their writing.  They do get a better idea of how to write the letters, but they do all the writing with one finger rather then with a pencil grasp on a piece of chalk (like they would with a real chalkboard).

Playing it myself, I also found something that could affect a child's success with the program.  I'm going to take some screen shots here and see if I can explain our issue.

As you can see here, I used a virtual sponge to write a C.  I wrote it on the very edge of the C, but since I touched the white at all times, I passed.  Then, I dried the letter with a virtual cloth which I didn't get a shot when I was done.

For step three, you use a virtual chalk piece to write the letter.  As you can see, I am still touching the dark black of the original wet in the picture above, but because I wrote that C on the very edge, I am no longer on the original white.  I got an 'oops try again' even though I was still on the line.  I understood why, but I am not sure that your average 4 or 5 year old would get it.  Mine didn't.

Other then those things (which I point out only because I hope the writers of the program might read this and consider improving upon it) we actually liked the program.  The children begged to work on the Wet, Dry, Try app, and Charger really liked it.  And, at only $4.99 it's affordable, educational, fun for our whole family.  

One last thing we hope is that HWT will consider adding an app for the Kindle Fire.  We allow the kids to use the Kindle Fire without supervision, but not the Android tablet.  Even my husband said he hopes they add it.  But, if you have an iPad or an Android Tablet, I highly recommend the Handwriting Without Tears Wet, Dry, Try app.  

The Schoolhouse Review Crew has been reviewing not only the Wet, Dry, Try app, but also Handwriting Without Tears' brand new line of workbooks!  Check out their reviews on the crew blog!


Thanks for stopping by and God Bless!!

Disclosure:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we received the Wet, Dry, Try app for free.  In exchange, we agreed to use the product in our home and write this review.  No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

1 comment:

Mommy to the Princesses said...

I was excited to read this review. We have an Ipad and my older daughter learnt to write in cursive just by using their 3rd grade workbook. I am actually a little disappointed that it does not have lower case letters. If it did I would have used it with my younger one! Too bad!