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Talk to me about Handwriting w/out Tears Please


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#1 imcl1084tx

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:33 AM

Hi... my LO is very interested in learning his letters and i was planning on getting him the All About Reading Pre-Reading for the fall. (He will be four in Oct and i figure he will like the puppet and such). He has some sensory issues (he's a seeker), speech, feeding, and fine motor skill delays and i was talking to his OT about it. She recommended for writing to get Handwriting w/out tears for pre-k due to the wood letters and such.

 

I am definitely of the approach that a little goes a long way and i don't want to overload him. He wants to learn his letters and such and since they are working on fine motor skills i wonder if it would be good to get the Handwriting w/out tears instead or both. Both are huge investments... thoughts? Does Handwriting w/out tears pre-k help w/fine motor skills? He has retained reflexes so that doesn't help.

 

We read aloud and play and play but since he was showing interest i thought i would get something more structured for him  Also Handwriting w/out tears seems like a bigger investment then he all about reading... what do you really need? 



#2 medawyn

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 01:34 PM

I have looked and looked at Handwriting without Tears for pre-k, but I just can't pull the trigger.  My guy is 4.5, and he loved AAR Pre, and he's most of the way through AAR 1 and reading well.  He's just now expressing a desire for handwriting but definitely needs to work on his fine motor skills and hand strength.  

 

So instead of a program, I'm intentionally working with him (and his little sister, because why not) on both of those things.  For hand strength, we are playing with play dough (especially encouraging rolling pins and extruders), picking up things with tweezers (pom poms, plastic animals, found objects outside, etc), squeezing things (glue, spray bottles, sponges, turkey basters), and lots of cutting and tearing.

 

For fine motor, I have some of the early learning Kumon books for mazes, I'm encouraging coloring (I keep crayons and colored pencils on hand for them to use while I'm finishing up dinner), and then we're working on letter formation by drawing with our fingers on ziplock bags filled with colored shaving cream, salt/sand/flour trays, and sand paper.

 

 


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#3 Pintosrock

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 01:37 PM

We have AAR pre, but not HWOT. AAR has no fine motor work. We've added things like sandpaper letters, alphabet puzzles, making playdough letters, and (my fav) making cookies using letter cutters! AAR is more focused on identifying letters & sounds ahead of reading. No writing here. If you're looking for that, you'll need a different program or modify it yourself.

I also have a child with delays. She hates anything resembling writing or art. No messy fingers here! We've had some success with fingers in the sand and (oddly enough) sticks in the mud. I think mud outside is so far removed from her art at the table/easel that it can pass muster with her.

As such, we've taken WTM's recommendations to start with reading before writing to heart. Or maybe I'm just looking for excuses. As always, your mileage may vary!

#4 MerryAtHope

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 01:59 PM

There are some tactile letter ideas on this Letter Recognition page, and also some on this Kinesthetic Learning page. Here's another list that might have some additional ones. I really like Handwriting Without Tears for the methods, but never had the money for the cut-out letters. (Some people do make their own out of cardboard or wood...) If money was no object, I probably would have gotten them! But there are lots of less expensive ways to create tactile experiences with letters. Have fun!


Edited by MerryAtHope, 12 August 2017 - 02:00 PM.


#5 imcl1084tx

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 02:18 PM

Thank you all so much for replying. I am not necessarily wanting writing, although we do need to strengthen his hands. I actually really liked AAR pre because it had none of the fine motor stuff and we are struggling with just getting him to color at this point. I actually got him to "color/write" on a white erase board with colored markers so that is a start. :) And i love how he is interested in all his toys and books. 

 

I think i will hold off on the HWOT for now and keep with the playing w/play-dough. I really like the teasers and the pom pop ideas! Thank you for that idea and I will look at the lists that MerryatHope posted for the tactile letters and such. 

 

I guess i was just really second guessing myself since his fine motor skills are already so behind and such that maybe we needed the HWOT. And then of course if he goes to public K the writing that is required here is nuts but luckily we still have 2 years before we have to decide on that.  But i think i will put it off another year and stick with my AAR Pre plan since he will be 4 just in OCT. The other option was some iPad games but we don't really do apps in our house. Thank you all! I will just order the AAR pre for the fall. 



#6 imcl1084tx

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 02:21 PM

I have looked and looked at Handwriting without Tears for pre-k, but I just can't pull the trigger.  My guy is 4.5, and he loved AAR Pre, and he's most of the way through AAR 1 and reading well.  He's just now expressing a desire for handwriting but definitely needs to work on his fine motor skills and hand strength.  

 

So instead of a program, I'm intentionally working with him (and his little sister, because why not) on both of those things.  For hand strength, we are playing with play dough (especially encouraging rolling pins and extruders), picking up things with tweezers (pom poms, plastic animals, found objects outside, etc), squeezing things (glue, spray bottles, sponges, turkey basters), and lots of cutting and tearing.

 

For fine motor, I have some of the early learning Kumon books for mazes, I'm encouraging coloring (I keep crayons and colored pencils on hand for them to use while I'm finishing up dinner), and then we're working on letter formation by drawing with our fingers on ziplock bags filled with colored shaving cream, salt/sand/flour trays, and sand paper.

 

Random question... how do you color the shaving cream?? Is there something on pinterest for this? 



#7 medawyn

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 03:19 PM

Random question... how do you color the shaving cream?? Is there something on pinterest for this? 

 

Food colors or liquid water colors.  I put it in a gallon size bag and have the kids squish it around until it's mixed.  Duct tape along the ziplock is never a bad idea, just so everything stays in.  For my 2.5 yo and the baby, I use masking tape to hold the bags on the table, but my 4yo is fine without that.  I also have taped them to the windows to let them have an opportunity to stand while "painting".  No mess, which is awesome!

.


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#8 MamaHill

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 07:14 PM

I know you've already made your decision about HWT, but I thought I'd chime in since I've used both that and AAR Pre (both of which I LOVE!)

 

The AAR Pre has SUCH super cute activities that we have loved!  They are very manageable crafty ways to learn letters and letter sounds.

 

For HWT in PreK, we used the Wooden blocks to make letters and that is an incredibly valuable manipulative, imo.  I used a sheet of construction paper with a smiley face in the starting corner as a guide.

 

We also used these sheets and they were such a hit: https://shopping.lwt...roducts-by-type  

 

So the wooden pieces plus those laminated capital letter pages were a great combo for three of my kiddos!  They are pricey, but I found them used at our local homeschool store.


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#9 ExcitedMama

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:17 AM

I love AAR and I'm on my second round of Pre-level now with my youngest so I think it's a great program. Just go slow and let your child set the pace.

I bought HWOT for my oldest at 4 and did through 1st grade and I won't repeat it for my DD. I bought it because it was so highly recommended but I don't get why it's so popular. There's very little practice in the books, or per letter. The only thing it really emphasized was starting your letters at the top and using your helping hand, the non-dominant hand to hold the paper which I remind DD of. For both of them I think the Kumon books were better. They have a series of books to work on pre-handwriting skills and then work up to practicing letters and numbers. DD does love the HWOT stamper and blackboard I'd bought for DS. Both could be made on your own if you want though.

#10 3 ladybugs

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 11:29 AM

You might look at Lakeshore Learning Center. I was able to find a individual set that was like this: http://www.lakeshore...D=1502641557251 for my son. I also got him some mats that are made for play dough to learn the shape of the letters. There are some other things as well. 

 

We did HWOT with my older son and it was okay. I didn't get all of it. The order that you are to do things confused me. I have decided to just go straight to Zaner Bloser (what my older son uses) with my younger son. However I am doing lots of pre-writing activities. As I was told a few years ago, writing is a development milestone just like rolling over and so on. So forcing it too early will just frustrate you. After all you don't tell a baby that can't sit up, to run. 



#11 imcl1084tx

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 12:19 PM

You might look at Lakeshore Learning Center. I was able to find a individual set that was like this: http://www.lakeshore...D=1502641557251 for my son. I also got him some mats that are made for play dough to learn the shape of the letters. There are some other things as well. 

 

We did HWOT with my older son and it was okay. I didn't get all of it. The order that you are to do things confused me. I have decided to just go straight to Zaner Bloser (what my older son uses) with my younger son. However I am doing lots of pre-writing activities. As I was told a few years ago, writing is a development milestone just like rolling over and so on. So forcing it too early will just frustrate you. After all you don't tell a baby that can't sit up, to run. 

 

Thank you for the lakeshore learning link! i think those are awesome. Ya.. i was only considering the HWOT because the OT recommended it. Thank you for reminding me that writing is a developmental milestone. Some times i need that when everyone tells me he should be "writing", coloring, attempting to color, draw circles, etc. I needed that. I know he is behind in fine motor, but that's one of the reason's we go to OT and to help w/his sensory stuff. I will stick w/the pre-writing stuff, and continue to help strengthen his hands. I will get the pre-reading since that will help him learn his letters and sounds. Right now he is obsessed w/the letter "x" so he is showing interest. :)


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#12 imcl1084tx

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 12:20 PM

I love AAR and I'm on my second round of Pre-level now with my youngest so I think it's a great program. Just go slow and let your child set the pace.

I bought HWOT for my oldest at 4 and did through 1st grade and I won't repeat it for my DD. I bought it because it was so highly recommended but I don't get why it's so popular. There's very little practice in the books, or per letter. The only thing it really emphasized was starting your letters at the top and using your helping hand, the non-dominant hand to hold the paper which I remind DD of. For both of them I think the Kumon books were better. They have a series of books to work on pre-handwriting skills and then work up to practicing letters and numbers. DD does love the HWOT stamper and blackboard I'd bought for DS. Both could be made on your own if you want though.

 

Oh i saw the kumon books on Amazon. I will take a closer look. Thanks!



#13 imcl1084tx

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 12:21 PM

I know you've already made your decision about HWT, but I thought I'd chime in since I've used both that and AAR Pre (both of which I LOVE!)

 

The AAR Pre has SUCH super cute activities that we have loved!  They are very manageable crafty ways to learn letters and letter sounds.

 

For HWT in PreK, we used the Wooden blocks to make letters and that is an incredibly valuable manipulative, imo.  I used a sheet of construction paper with a smiley face in the starting corner as a guide.

 

We also used these sheets and they were such a hit: https://shopping.lwt...roducts-by-type

 

So the wooden pieces plus those laminated capital letter pages were a great combo for three of my kiddos!  They are pricey, but I found them used at our local homeschool store.

 

I didn't think to check my local homeschooling store. I will see what they have. Those activities are cute. THanks!



#14 3 ladybugs

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:35 PM

Thank you for the lakeshore learning link! i think those are awesome. Ya.. i was only considering the HWOT because the OT recommended it. Thank you for reminding me that writing is a developmental milestone. Some times i need that when everyone tells me he should be "writing", coloring, attempting to color, draw circles, etc. I needed that. I know he is behind in fine motor, but that's one of the reason's we go to OT and to help w/his sensory stuff. I will stick w/the pre-writing stuff, and continue to help strengthen his hands. I will get the pre-reading since that will help him learn his letters and sounds. Right now he is obsessed w/the letter "x" so he is showing interest. :)

I just saw your siggy. My son was born 7/2013 and he isn't even close to writing right now. He is barely holding a pencil. He will if I make him, but he writes very lightly unless I remind him to push hard. We are working on lines and circles and such. He has no delays also. 

 

Coloring counts as pre-writing also. ;)



#15 MerryAtHope

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 05:30 PM

I love AAR and I'm on my second round of Pre-level now with my youngest so I think it's a great program. Just go slow and let your child set the pace.

I bought HWOT for my oldest at 4 and did through 1st grade and I won't repeat it for my DD. I bought it because it was so highly recommended but I don't get why it's so popular. There's very little practice in the books, or per letter. The only thing it really emphasized was starting your letters at the top and using your helping hand, the non-dominant hand to hold the paper which I remind DD of. For both of them I think the Kumon books were better. They have a series of books to work on pre-handwriting skills and then work up to practicing letters and numbers. DD does love the HWOT stamper and blackboard I'd bought for DS. Both could be made on your own if you want though.

 

Did you have the Teacher's Manual for HWT? There was a lot of instruction in there that really helped my kids (I forget now if it was the K or 1st grade one I did first, but the TM was very helpful). We did a lot of practice on a white board, but it was the methods, wording, and stories from HWT that helped us work through reversal issues (grouping all of the "magic C" letters together, diver letters together, etc...) My dd used to love to "catch George" and make sure her m's only had enough room for a chocolate kiss--not a garbage can. 

 

Kumon is great!


Edited by MerryAtHope, 13 August 2017 - 05:30 PM.


#16 zejh

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:58 PM

My daughter is almost 5, and we've been doing a lot of the Kumon workbooks, even ones that are a little "young". I'm not worrying about actual writing just yet, and the workbooks have been a good way to get a lot of different pre-writing practice (plus lots of time with Play-Doh). (For things like folding and cutting, I actually find the "2-year-old" Kumon books useful for a 4-year-old with some fine motor issues.)

#17 KeepingItReal

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 02:04 PM

Hi... my LO is very interested in learning his letters and i was planning on getting him the All About Reading Pre-Reading for the fall. (He will be four in Oct and i figure he will like the puppet and such). He has some sensory issues (he's a seeker), speech, feeding, and fine motor skill delays and i was talking to his OT about it. She recommended for writing to get Handwriting w/out tears for pre-k due to the wood letters and such.

 

I am definitely of the approach that a little goes a long way and i don't want to overload him. He wants to learn his letters and such and since they are working on fine motor skills i wonder if it would be good to get the Handwriting w/out tears instead or both. Both are huge investments... thoughts? Does Handwriting w/out tears pre-k help w/fine motor skills? He has retained reflexes so that doesn't help.

 

We read aloud and play and play but since he was showing interest i thought i would get something more structured for him  Also Handwriting w/out tears seems like a bigger investment then he all about reading... what do you really need? 

 

You don't really need anything to teach writing letters but a writing utensil and paper. 

 

I found using the proper lined paper works best, which is easily found anywhere - walmart, dollar stores, even craft stores.

 

I taught my kids to write starting at age 1. I would trace the letters with a finger to help them learn the order and how to write them.

 

From age 2-3 I hold their hand while they write, helping guide them like training wheels, loosening my grip here and there and bringing back my force and guidance if they get too sloppy with it.

 

Then from age 3-4 it is all self-writing on the proper lined paper, and the workbooks you can buy at the dollar store that are the letter traceables and writing space to practice. A buck a pop, and a book lasts about a month. I do a letter a day, and when the book is done just buy another. Practice, practice, practice.

 

4-5 I begin letting them try and write on wide ruled paper, so they have to learn to imagine the middle line. Sometimes I draw a very light yellow line down the middle of the TOP writing space just so that they see there is a line there, I use a ruler to keep it straight, and often that is enough to keep them mindful not to write their lowercase letters gigantic haha.

 

But seriously - if I were you I would start at the beginning of this process and work your way through. You likely won't need a year of finger tracing letters, for example, but just follow your child's lead. I find that writing curriculum is just not as effective in both my kids as I have seen following this simply old fashioned method. It is more hands on for the teacher, but you also get a lot better grasp of where your student is.

 

:)