Lumiere Children's Therapy

March 9, 2022

Handwriting Without Tears: The “Write” Way to Learn Handwriting

handwriting without tears music

A primer on the Handwriting Without Tears ® program

Key takeaways:

  • Handwriting Without Tears® helps children learn to write letters.
  • The program addresses all types of learners, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.
  • It helps improve fine motor skills, letter formation, spatial awareness and body awareness.
  • It uses fun, engaging activities that help kids to learn how to form letters.
  • It teaches letter formation in a progression that makes the most sense to learners.

Occupational therapy uses various methods to help children who struggle with handwriting due to cognitive, developmental, or motor differences. The multi-sensory teaching curriculum, Handwriting without Tears® , is one method that works very well with students. This program is developmentally-based and addresses all learning styles, including visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.

At Lumiere Children’s Therapy, our Occupational Therapists use Handwriting without Tears® to help kids improve their handwriting skills. This program helps improve fine motor skills, body awareness and letter formation.

In this article, we talk about common challenges that can lead to handwriting issues and how Handwriting without Tears® can help!

5 reasons kids struggle to master handwriting

There are many reasons your child might be having trouble with handwriting. Rather than become frustrated at his or her lack of progress, remember that there could be an unidentified root cause. Some causes have to do with writing mechanics, while others could point to an underlying cognitive or physical condition. Let’s take a look at five common causes.

1. Holding the pencil wrong

Poor handwriting might just come down to mechanics. Simply holding a pencil at the wrong angle or using the wrong grip can make a child’s writing sloppy or hard to read. It can also lead to pain in the wrist, hand, or fingers. If your child is uncomfortable, they might try to avoid writing.

Most children learn to write using the “ tripod grasp ,” which is the most functional grasp. In this grasp, a person holds the pencil about an inch from the tip, balanced between the thumb and index finger. The middle finger should be used as a resting/balance point.

2. Left-handed writers

Left-handed writers are often at a bigger disadvantage when learning to write than their right-handed classmates. The mechanics of writing left-handed are different and require a modified teaching method. Rather than pull a pencil across a piece of paper, for example, left-handed students must push it away from their hand, which can cause skipping or breaks in letters and lines.

3. Using too much pressure

If your child holds a pencil/pen too tightly or pushes down on a piece of paper too much, it can result in hand cramping, pain, and poor penmanship. They need to apply some pressure, but too much will cause problems or fatigue. Relaxing the grip can help.

4. Dyslexia 

Dyslexia has nothing to do with holding the pencil wrong. It is a language-based learning disability that affects how the brain processes and interprets language, including letters, words, and numbers. While reading and spelling can be significant challenges for kids with dyslexia, dyslexia can also affect a child’s ability to write.

5. Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a condition that impacts handwriting. Children with dysgraphia have trouble with transcription. They tend to have messy handwriting and may have challenges forming letters.

Signs of dyslexia and dysgraphia

What are some common signs of dyslexia and dysgraphia? Several signs point to a child possibly having one of these learning differences. They include:

Signs of dyslexia :

  • Delayed speech
  • Issues forming words correctly
  • Difficulty playing games or learning nursery rhymes
  • Reading well below the expected reading level for their age
  • Trouble spelling
  • Avoiding reading activities
  • Many of these signs affect reading, but they can also impact handwriting

Signs of dysgraphia :

  • Trouble forming letters
  • Tight or awkward pencil grip
  • Messy or illegible handwriting
  • Trouble staying in the margins on paper
  • Struggles with sentence structure and grammar rules

Some children with dyslexia also have dysgraphia. Children with ADHD often struggle with dysgraphia, as well. It’s important to have your child checked by a medical professional or licensed educational psychologist if you notice signs.

How the Handwriting without Tears® program works

Handwriting without Tears® is a multi-sensory approach designed to help children develop essential handwriting skills. The program uses fun and engaging activities that improve fine motor function. It also focuses on teaching kids how to form letters using tools like tracing paper or their fingers to master different aspects of handwriting.

The program includes specialized programs for students at every stage of learning, taking kids through the beginning stages of writing, including pre-handwriting strokes, and forming upper case letters and lowercase letters. It successfully combines teaching with interactive activities to address each student’s unique needs and struggles. Physical approaches are also used, including grip and posture adjustments for better writing performances.

Get help with handwriting

If your child is struggling to develop handwriting skills because of a mechanical issue or a condition like dyslexia, dysgraphia, or ADHD, Lumiere Children’s Therapy can help. Our trained Occupational Therapists incorporate the Handwriting without Tears® program to help teach students the writing skills they need to succeed in school and life. We work with you and your child’s teachers to develop a comprehensive plan to meet their physical, cognitive, and developmental needs.

Our Occupational Therapy program offers a wide range of services to help children learn a variety of skills, including:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Daily self-care
  • Visual-motor integration
  • Visual perceptual skills
  • Social and peer interaction skills
  • Self-regulation and attention
  • Sensory processing
  • Strength and coordination
  • Motor planning
  • Early development for infants

Aside from Occupational Therapy, we provide other comprehensive therapy services , including:

  • Physical Therapy
  • ABA Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Developmental Therapy
  • Early intervention
  • Social Work
  • Teletherapy

Lumiere Children’s Therapy is a full-service, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice located in Chicago that serves the developmental needs of children from birth to 18 years of age. Learn more about how our team of clinicians works to improve the lives of children and their families.

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The Smarter Learning Guide

Handwriting Without Tears Review

Science curriculum

Handwriting doesn’t have to be a nightmare for students…or their parents. With an easy to use, structured format, activity-rich lessons and strong multisensory component, if you’re looking for an effective, engaging and even fun way to help a student learn to write by hand, Handwriting Without Tears might be just the solution you’re looking for.

What We Like

But watch out for …

What Is Handwriting Without Tears?

Created by Learning Without Tears, a leading provider of accessible and easy to teach learning materials, Handwriting Without Tears is a handwriting program aimed at preschool students and up. 

Designed by occupational therapist Jan Olsen, Handwriting Without Tears systematically teaches students everything from the proper pencil holding through correctly writing letters, numbers, sentences, cursive and more.

The program teaches through a combination of workbook exercises, hands-on activities and even music and song, and consequently has become a very popular program for traditional schools and homeschools alike. 

What Grades Or Ages Is The Program Intended For?

Handwriting Without Tears is largely a curriculum aimed at students in K-5. 

That said, it is more of a skill-based program than one intended for a particular age or grade range. 

That is, rather than having a book for Grades 1, 2 or 3, there are books that cover readiness and pre-reading skills, capitals and lowercase, letter groups, words, numbers, cursive and more, with lessons, exercises and activities that match different levels of skill development and fluency. 

Consequently, the program can more easily be used by those outside of a traditional age range for handwriting instruction, which is actually pretty helpful as students tend to develop differently. 

Precocious students who take to handwriting can feel more free to move through the various books as their skills progress, while those who are a bit behind or have learning difficulties can take their time and work on the fundamentals without feeling as embarrassed since there are no obvious references to grade or age. 

This focus on skill means that the books in the Handwriting Without Tears tend to have a rather unique naming system. 

Rather than referring to recommended grades or ages, they have different titles that somewhat relate to their main content. 

As can be seen by these titles, there is something of a progression of skill throughout the series. 

Earlier in the series, students learn the very basics of letter formation and handwriting and then progress through learning print writing, developing their printing skills, before tackling cursive and then honing these skills through more complex exercises in later books. 

As with other skill-based curricula, however, this does mean those that transition into Handwriting Without Tears from another handwriting program can find it a little less intuitive to figure out where to start. 

Because there is no obvious and direct correlation to grade or age, homeschooling parents need to make an honest assessment of their child’s skill level, which itself requires a bit of thought and knowledge about the student. 

To make things a little easier, Learning Without Tears offers a type of placement test that parents can use, which they call their Screener of Handwriting Proficiency , which can be downloaded online. 

Parents coming into Handwriting Without Tears can also use it to figure out where their students are strong and where they need help, which in turn can help when selecting the appropriate book from the series. 

Unfortunately, while accessible to homeschool parents, it requires parents to set up a free account using their email. 

To use it, parents set up an account and select an administration packet based on an approximate grade level or skill (beginning print, intermediate print, beginning cursive, etc).

Parents give students a short quiz sheet, where students are given different tasks depending on their assumed level of skill. Kindergarten students are assessed on their ability to find letters and numbers, 2nd Grade students are given letter, number and short sentence tasks, while more advanced students may have to identify and write in cursive.  

The assessments are pretty straightforward and easy to administer, in our opinion, even for parents who have never homeschooled before. 

While pretty obviously designed for classrooms and teacher/professional use, they do include a homeschool option. 

The instructions are fully scripted, providing parents with a ready, proctor-style dialogue to use as well as detailed, step-by-step instructions for the test’s administration. 

When it comes to scoring and evaluation, the Screener offers pretty detailed information concerning what parents should be looking for and offers pretty clear examples and illustrations of what to watch out for (both good and bad), which is quite helpful. 

screenshot of learning without tears screener test page

On the downside, the Screener is set up as an self-administered and grade leveled assessment. 

As a result, parents of students who are very behind or who really just don’t know where their student would otherwise fit in a traditional school framework may still find themselves hunting around the different grade levels and reading a few different assessment options to figure out where to start with the assessment itself.  

What’s Required To Teach With Handwriting Without Tears?

Teacher’s guide.

As with other educational programs, there is a teacher’s guide for Handwriting Without Tears.  

These spiral bound books are printed in color and are a couple hundred pages long. 

As might be expected, the teacher’s guide contains full lesson plans for each handwriting lesson, outlining lesson objectives and required materials, as well as providing step-by-step guidance, detailed illustrations and suggested dialogues. 

Given the very visual nature of handwriting, and the fact that the workbooks often contain a step by step diagram of letter and word formation, some parents can world directly from the workbooks and make do without these formal lesson plans. 

Other parents, such as those who are new to homeschooling, are teaching students who are struggling or are unsure of their own ability to teach proper handwriting techniques, can certainly benefit from the structure and teaching tips that these teacher’s guides provide. 

It’s also important to note that the teacher’s guides contain a lot more than just lesson plans.

They also contain enrichment ideas, support and tips for differentiation and English Language Learners, as well as offering suggestions for linking a lesson to broader language arts learning and other social studies courses. 

They also contain various activities, which can make Handwriting Without Tears a far more engaging and dynamic program, allowing students to get up, move around and enjoy their learning a lot more. 

picture of handwriting without tears lesson guide showing multisensory activities included in lessons

One thing we found interesting and, honestly, kind of cool was that lessons often include a scannable QR code. 

Once scanned with a smartphone, these QR codes open to the Learning With Tears Website and offer parents a variety of helpful resources for teaching that level’s lessons, including videos, lyrics to songs, various printables, digital worksheets, enrichment activities and more. 

screenshot of digital resources available from handwriting without tears website

These extra resources can provide a lot of value and in many cases make lessons a lot more fun and engaging than a typical copywork-based handwriting program might offer. 

They can also offer important tips for instruction that can be useful for some parents, such as further remediating the learning or making sure that left-handed students are progressing without any bad habits.

One thing parents should note is that these teaching guides, while certainly useful, can be extremely detailed and activity-rich. 

While this may be no problem for most homeschooling parents, who are often used to taking what they need from a curriculum, these guides can be a little overwhelming for some newer homeschooling parents, particularly those who are simply looking for handwriting practice. 

Student Edition Workbooks

What is effectively the heart of Handwriting Without Tears, the student guide is where students put pen to paper and practice their letter formation and handwriting. 

These books are consumable, printed in black and white and are well-illustrated and straightforward to use. 

Each worksheet contains a good amount of illustrated instruction, clearly outlining what is expected of the student, and generally providing a highly detailed review of how students should approach letter, sentence and number formation, both in print and cursive. 

sample of handwriting without tears showing workbook exercise for practice of letter

Because they are so straightforward and detailed, they can be (and are, by some parents at least) used independently of the teacher’s guides as a main form of instruction or in tandem with another program. 

That said, the student editions sometimes make reference to activities outlined in the teacher’s guides and so those using them alone may miss out on some of this extra (and fun) learning. 

picture of student book from handwriting without tears referencing teachers guide

One thing that we like about the student workbooks is that they open flat, rather than curving, and so are a little easier for left handed kids to use compared to other programs out there.

Slate and Other Handwriting Tools and Manipulatives

In addition to its workbook exercises, Handwriting Without Tears includes a variety of hands-on exercises using different learning tools and manipulatives, which make learning a bit more interactive, engaging and even fun for students compared to many other programs. 

Below, we discuss some of the more interesting ones we found. 

Slate 

One of the more central manipulatives used in the program, the Handwriting Without Tears Slate is a 4”x6” wood-framed chalkboard that is used to help students learn to properly write letters and numbers. 

picture of handwriting without tears slate chalkboard

The slate is designed to work with the Handwriting Without Tears program, giving students an opportunity and space to work on letter and number formation outside of the workbooks and formal lessons, letting them strengthen their skills and develop proper writing habits. 

The slate is periodically referenced in lessons and workbook exercises and, being essentially a chalkboard, it is designed to be pretty intuitive to use. 

In fact, there is a big smiley face on the top left corner, emphasizing the top-down/left-right directionality of proper penmanship. 

It is also integral to the program’s interesting Wet-Dry-Try practice activities, where students use a wet sponge to “trace” a letter with water, dry it with a cloth and then try their hand at writing the letter with chalk. 

Interestingly, there is an app-based version of the slate available, which digitally replicates the slate chalkboard. 

With the app, students use their fingers on the touchscreen to write with virtual “chalk,” and try their hand at a digital version of the Wet Dry Try activity using a virtual wet sponge. 

Although not quite as tactile and physical as the real life version, the app is perhaps a little more travel-friendly and parents might appreciate the lack of chalk dust and residue after lessons. 

Stamp and See Screen

Handwriting Without Tears also offers a Stamp and See Screen, which is a magnetic screen about the size of the Slate (4”x6”) and is essentially a magnetic drawing screen or Magna Doodle that has been configured for use with this program. 

picture of handwriting without tears stamp and see screen

Students use it much like a chalkboard, drawing letters with a chunky, magnetized, chalk-like stylus and can erase what they’ve done with a sliding eraser located on the side of the device. 

In this way it is much like the Slate chalkboard, only without the mess and without the ability to do Wet-Dry-Try activities. 

 Wooden Letter Shapes

Interestingly, Handwriting Without Tears also offers a set of big, wooden shapes – big lines, little lines, big curves and little curves. 

Students can use these shapes to “build” letters on a table and even use them in tandem with the Stamp and See Screen, kind of like a giant Magna Doodle stamp.

Using these shapes to build letters lets kids work on their lettering in a very hands-on, interactive way and without putting pen to paper (or chalk to board) and can make for an interesting, 3D activity of sorts.

Handwriting Without Tears Approach To Handwriting

Developed by occupational therapists, rather than educators or curriculum developers, Handwriting Without Tears approaches teaching handwriting skills a little differently than most companies out there. 

Developmental teaching

Handwriting Without Tears is designed to follow what the company calls a developmental teaching order. 

In other words, the program has been designed in a specific way, presenting the teaching material while taking into account how students learn and how they develop cognitively and physically. 

The series starts off with the easiest and most fundamental skills and slowly builds on that as it progresses through the series. 

In Handwriting Without Tears students learn uppercase before lowercase, block before cursive, and learn letters according to similarity of formation rather than alphabetical order (more on that later). 

Further, in the earlier books of the series, students are given gray blocks to write their letters in, providing them with a defined space to work in, helping them develop good habits of size control and proportion when writing by hand.

Later on, as students get more used to working with white space, they move on to more traditional, two-lined worksheets and then single-line worksheets. 

The books are also designed to be as clear and simple to look at as possible, which is great for younger kids, and, interestingly, reinforce left-to-right directionality of writing by having all illustrations and drawing go from left to right across the page, helping students get in the habit of tracking words (and later write them) in the correct direction. 

Systematic approach

Handwriting Without Tears is also a very systematic handwriting program. 

That is, it provides very specific, very clear and simple step-by-step instruction throughout all aspects of pre-writing and writing, providing not only explicit direction on how to form letters and numbers according to a specific methodology, but also providing pretty detailed and precise instructions for proper posture, pencil holding and more. 

picture of handwriting without tears showing fundamentals of writing posture

As a more practical example, when students are taught to write a certain letter, they are expected to follow a pretty precise sequence of steps, often being told precisely where to start with a dot.  

screenshot of handwriting without tears showing step by step approach to drawing a letter

The idea is to provide students with a handwriting base, rooted in occupational therapy best practices, that will help prevent issues before they start, rather than allowing students to work things out naturally and correcting any issues later. 

While some homeschooling students and parents may chafe somewhat at this directive, fundamental and more rules-based approach to handwriting, it does provide parents with a firm and consistent teaching methodology that they can more easily implement. 

Multisensory lessons

Handwriting Without Tears is a strongly multisensory handwriting program, as well, engaging far more of a student’s senses than simply pencil-paper skills.

Aside from handwriting practice, throughout its lessons students can work with various manipulatives, such as wooden blocks or magnet boards, engage in a variety of activities,  such as doing Wet-Dry-Try or working with playdough or cards, and even engage in song and rhythmic movement. 

Aside from making handwriting practice and learning far more engaging and fun for the student, there is evidence that engaging more pathways in the brain can better help students remember and recall information. 

A multisensory also makes Handwriting Without Tears better suited to students with different learning preferences or styles. 

Whether a student learns best through written work, listening, touching or getting up and moving around, they are pretty likely to find at least some activities that work for them in this program.

In addition, by shifting handwriting practice away from solely traditional pencil and paper practice, the program can be less intimidating for students who initially find holding and using a pencil difficult, allowing them to work on their letter formation in a more adaptable and less frustrating way.

Multidisciplinary 

Finally, and one thing that we find interesting about Handwriting Without Tears, is that it can be fairly multidisciplinary. 

In addition to straightforward handwriting practice, the program also offers various exercises and activities that integrate with other subjects and topics the student may be learning. 

picture of activities in handwriting without tears that integrate with other subjects

For example, there can be exercises that work on grammar and mechanics, with students learning and working on synonyms, homophones, root words, rhyming words, singular/plural and more, as well as the occasional exercise that incorporates things from broader social studies lessons, such as geography. 

Although Handwriting Without Tears doesn’t really dive too deeply into these other topics (it is a handwriting program after all), this does mean it can be a little more of a natural fit for homeschoolers and can be incorporated into a student’s studies in a number of different ways. 

How It Works

Handwriting Without Tears is designed to be parent-led, with parents introducing and presenting information to the student. 

In later grades and as students’ reading skills improve, however, we feel students can do a lot of the work more independently, particularly given the clear instructions and illustrations in the workbooks. 

The books’ are broken up into different units, made up of 4-5 lessons and a unit review, which is a kind of exercise page that assesses how well a student has mastered the different letters and skills taught in that unit. 

The program’s lessons are pretty consistent, straightforward and tend to follow a particular format. 

They are also pretty short, typically taking around 15 minutes or so to complete, so they’re not as overwhelming for younger students as other programs can be.

At the top of each page, the objectives, multisensory activities and multimedia resources (QR Code) are all neatly laid out, providing parents with a clear overview of the lesson and what’s required to teach it. 

sample of teaching lesson outline in handwriting without tears

The lesson then begins and goes through a three-step process of instruction:

Direct Instruction

First, parents themselves actively demonstrate how a letter is formed. Following the instructions laid out in the lesson guide, they verbalize each step of the process as they draw each stroke. 

screenshot of demonstration by parent in handwriting without tears lesson

At this stage, parents can also take advantage of the many multisensory activities found in the lesson guides. 

Many lessons have a particular activity associated with them, and their particular page numbers are listed clearly at the top of the page, so parents should have no trouble finding them.  

Generally the activity guides are found towards the back of the lesson guides and are pretty clearly laid out, providing a good deal of background about the activity, its objectives, what materials are required and how to go about implementing it.  

Guided Practice

Following this, students then practice under the watchful eye of their parent, tracing the letter (by hand and then with a pencil) and following the same step by step approach the parent just demonstrated, all the while verbalizing what they are doing, which can further strengthen their learning. 

screenshot of guided practice in lesson

Independent Practice and Check – After the guided practice, students can work on their handwriting and, later, writing independently. 

Then (with their parents at first) check their written work for proper sequencing, size, placement and so on.

Following the lesson, optional learning is laid out for parents. There are ideas for enrichment, differentiation for English Language Learners and those struggling with handwriting, and some activity ideas that connect topics in the lesson to other subjects the student might be learning (usually Language Arts but occasionally other Social Studies subjects as well). 

screenshot showing other activities a parent may want to include in handwriting without tears

Handwriting Without Tears Letter Order

One thing that parents should be aware of, and that tends to separate Handwriting Without Tears from other programs, is the order in which it presents the alphabet. 

Most programs tend to introduce letters according to alphabetical order, generally following how students would have learned them in the first place, and generally students are taught the uppercase and lowercase formats together (or one after the other). 

In other words, lessons tend to go from A to Z. 

In Handwriting Without Tears, however, letters are instead grouped according to how the program wants them to be constructed, i.e. how they are supposed to be written from start point to end point.

For example, students might work on so-called “Frog Jump Capitals” – i.e. the letters F E D P B R N and M. 

These letters are grouped together since they are drawn starting with a big line on he left, starting at the top and moving down before jumping back to the top and moving rightwards, as demonstrated in the video below. 

Similarly, the capital letters H K L U V W X Y Z are grouped together as “Starting Corner Capitals,” since students start at the top left corner, before moving down/left to right. 

As the series progresses, it groups various capital letters and lowercase letters in similar ways, both in block and cursive print.

Across the series there are, for example:

  • Diver Letters
  • Center Starters
  • Slide letters
  • Tow Truck Letters

This grouping system, while perhaps a little unusual for parents and students used to thinking of letters in relation to their alphabetical order, is actually in line with the program’s developmental approach to teaching.

When it comes to writing by hand, the alphabet can be something of a jumble of different techniques and forms, some are easier to draw while others are harder. 

This is especially true with cursive, considering its now less familiar shapes and issues students have when joining different letters.

By breaking the alphabet apart and regrouping the letters by how they are formed, Handwriting Without Tears can start by introducing the easiest to draw ones first before moving on to the more complex, making the system actually pretty thoughtful.

It also makes the program quite useful for students who struggle with handwriting, as by letting them work on easier letter formations first, they can achieve some quick wins that can boost their self-confidence and perhaps reduce their anxiety around handwriting a little more. 

Our Thoughts on Handwriting Without Tears Lessons

Overall, we feel that Handwriting Without Tears lessons are very effective, well-designed and can be very engaging, especially for students who struggle with handwriting or who may  otherwise roll their eyes at the prospect of pen-and-paper writing in the digital age. 

The lessons are short and to the point, often taking less than 15 minutes to go through, so they’re not too much of a burden to fit into even a busy homeschool schedule and aren’t so long that students get bored or lose interest.

The program’s lessons are also very straightforward, moving from introduction of a letter to guided practice to independent practice pretty fluidly. 

The instruction is also very clear, providing parents and students with easy to understand, step-by-step instructions for producing letters and offers plenty of helpful illustrations that can make things a lot more understandable and act as a model against which parents can check student work.

Although the program does offer activity options for each lesson, these don’t really ever feel like busywork, and they can add a lot of value to the learning, particularly with kids who have different learning preferences (tactile and auditory learners, for example) and can be a change from more workbook-oriented programs, such as A Reason For Handwriting , Zaner-Bloser and others. 

Handwriting Without Tears offers a good deal of practice, as well, offering a good amount of guided and independent practice in each lesson and providing a unit review after every few lessons. 

In this way, it can be a very helpful program for students who need a lot more practice and reinforcement when learning fine motor skills.

One thing we enjoyed about the lesson plans was their integration of technology through the printed QR codes. 

By simply scanning the page (or inputting a provided url) parents can immediately access a wide variety of multimedia digital resources that can add some fun and useful activities, exercises, videos and songs to use during a lesson.

Through these QR codes there’s no need for parents to move to a computer and hunt around for files or websites, they can simply use their phone or tablet and access the materials right away. 

Another thing we found interesting about Handwriting Without Tears is how flexible it can be for homeschooling parents, something that surprised us given the program’s systematic, rules-based nature. 

While the program offers a lot of options for activities, as well as extra exercises for remediation or enrichment learning, parents are largely free to choose what they would like to include in their lessons. 

Depending on time constraints, as well as how distractible a student is, parents can choose to include all, some or none of the activities recommended by the book. 

Some parents have focused solely on the workbook exercises and, while probably not the most engaging, recommended or comprehensive way of using the program, have reported finding handwriting success with their students. 

There are some things about Handwriting Without Tears that we feel parents should be aware of before starting, however. 

It is, for example, very different from many other handwriting programs out there. 

It is a very structured, detailed and rules-based approach that teaches students a very particular and explicitly taught method of forming letters and numbers, providing detailed instruction on everything from size, proportion, stroke method and directionality, and even covers things like proper posture and grip. 

While very helpful and effective for most students (and parents who have never taught handwriting before), some other students and homeschooling parents may chafe a bit under this structured and systematic approach, preferring a program that offers a little more individual creativity and freedom.

Similarly, students who have gone through a large part of a handwriting program already and have learned certain habits may not appreciate having to go back and relearn some of the fundamental methods of the program.

Another, admittedly minor, issue homeschooling parents may have is with how the books are structured. 

By and large, the activities, tips and guidelines are all located in different sections of the book, meaning there can be some flipping around during lessons. 

Finally, parents should note that the lesson guides are quite detailed and expansive. 

While this makes the lessons very comprehensive, clear and easy to teach, at times it can be a lot of information for homeschool parents to take in, and can be a little overwhelming for some and it can be somewhat easy for those not used to homeschooling to get distracted by all the information, potential exercises and activities. 

How Easy Is Handwriting Without Tears To Teach?

Handwriting Without Tears is very easy to teach in our opinion.

The lessons are fully scripted, providing parents with all the information they’ll need to introduce topics and teach them in a step-by-step manner, including a ready dialogue they can fall back on if they aren’t really sure about how to explain things themselves. 

Further, the program’s lesson guides and workbooks are illustrated, providing an easy to understand visual guide that effectively outlines each step in the handwriting process very clearly for both parents and young students. 

The activities themselves are similarly well scripted, detailed and illustrated, making it quite easy for parents to quickly and easily set up and run them with a minimum of prep-time.

As a result, we feel that new and experienced homeschooling parents alike should have no issue teaching Handwriting Without Tears. 

On the downside, however, while the program is fairly easy to teach once parents get used to it, its format, letter grouping and methodology does take some getting used to on the part of parents, who would probably be best served by reading up on the program’s structure and way of doing things. 

Pros And Cons 

Developed by topical experts.

Rather than being developed by a curriculum provider or educational company, Handwriting Without Tears has been developed by occupational therapists and teaches in a way that takes into account the development path and needs of kids. 

Consequently, the program isn’t just based on best practices, it’s also not as frustrating for kids, particularly for those who struggle with learning to write by hand, as some other programs might be.

Short lessons

Lessons in Handwriting Without Tears are pretty short, usually under 15 minutes or so depending on the student. As a result, they aren’t as overwhelming for students to sit through and can be easy to fit into just about any homeschool schedule. 

Very multisensory and activity-rich

Handwriting Without Tears isn’t just a worksheet and copywork based program, but rather involves a variety of multisensory activities that can fit different learning preferences.

There are, for example, a variety of manipulatives and games that can suit tactile learners, songs and videos to suit auditory and visual learners and get and and go activities to suit those who enjoy more kinesthetic learning. 

Easy to teach

With clear, step-by-step, fully-scripted and illustrated lessons, Handwriting Without Tears is easy for parents to teach and for students to understand. 

Very guided approach helps build good habits from the start

Handwriting Without Tears takes a very systematic and rules-based approach to teaching handwriting, guiding students through a deliberate and consistent step-by-step approach to writing out letters. 

Combined with its strong emphasis on practice and review, it can more easily get them in the habit of creating properly sized, spaced and drawn letters from the start. 

Embedded links to digital resources

Rather than inserting printed URLs or webpage names, the program’s lesson guides include readily-scannable QR codes that link to a variety of helpful digital resources, making it a lot easier and faster for parents to include these in their lessons. 

Flexible and scalable to suit homeschool needs

Although it offers a lot of activities, teaching suggestions and enrichment ideas, by and large Handwriting Without Tears leaves the decision of what to use up to the parent and relies on a fairly lightweight core of workbooks exercises and quick, step by step lessons. 

Its teaching can easily therefore be as comprehensively scaled up or paired down as parents require or would prefer. 

Can have a few moving parts to keep track of

Parents who want to take full advantage of the program and its multitude of multisensory components and activities can find that, as with other hands-on learning programs, there can be a lot of things to buy and keep track of during lessons, such as slates, chalk, magnet boards, wooden shapes, apps, playdough, CDs and more. 

Can be a little different than how most parents learned handwriting

Handwriting Without Tears has a very definite way of teaching handwriting, as well as grouping and introducing letters, that can be very different from the more traditional ways parents have been taught to write. 

As a result, parents may need to spend some time, at least at first, reading about the program’s methodology and familiarizing themselves with its lesson structure. 

Who Is Handwriting Without Tears Ideal For?

Parents and students looking for a fun, activity-rich way of learning handwriting.

With its plethora of hands-on activities, digital resources and manipulatives use, Handwriting Without Tears can be a very engaging way of learning to write by hand, making it a lot more fun for parents and students to use than other programs.  

Students who have had a hard time with traditional copywork-style handwriting programs

Some students can learn handwriting by simply copying sentences and letter forms, but for a variety of reasons other students can have a hard time with this, finding it tedious and/or preferring to learn in other ways.

In addition to traditional workbook exercises, Handwriting Without Tears offers a variety of multisensory teaching activities that can be really effective for tactile, auditory and kinesthetic learners. 

Parents looking for an easy to teach, step by step handwriting program

Handwriting Without Tears teaches its material clearly and simply, with lots of helpful illustrations, a fully scripted dialogue, and easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for producing letters. 

Consequently, parents who are new to homeschooling or who are unsure of their ability to teach handwriting themselves will likely find it quite easy and effective to use. 

Students who do best with lots of practice and review

Some students have an easy time learning to write by hand, while others struggle with the fine motor control required. 

In addition to providing students with a consistent, step-by-step process for producing letters, Handwriting Without Tears also provides them with lots of opportunities for practice and review, both in their workbook and through engaging multisensory activities, which can help them hone their skills over time. 

Students who have a hard time sitting through longer lessons

Handwriting Without Tears lessons are usually pretty short, often taking less than 15 minutes to complete. Consequently, students tend to have an easier time going through them without losing focus or becoming bored. 

Who Is It Not Ideal For?

Students who are already somewhat proficient at handwriting.

Students who have made significant progress in another program and have developed strong habits in creating some of their letters may have a harder time adapting to the particular way of doing things outlined in Handwriting Without Tears, often needing to go back to earlier levels to relearn/undo certain habits, which can be frustrating.

Parents looking for a complete self-study program

Although students can use some of the materials more independently later in the series, by and large Handwriting Without Tears is designed to be taught to students and requires a fair amount of parental involvement and time. 

Parents and students who want a handwriting program that lets them develop more naturally 

Handwriting Without Tears is a very systematic program that teaches students how to create letters in a particular, step-by-step way. 

It will, for example, detail where to start with a first stroke, where to end, directionality and so on, rather than allowing students to find their own preferred and natural way of doing things. 

As a result, students who like to do things their own way and parents who want to take a more natural, student-led approach to teaching may not find this to be a good fit for them. 

Note: Prices correct as of writing. All prices are in USD. 

As mentioned previously, Handwriting Without Tears can involve a number of different books, but generally involves a level-specific teacher’s guide, student workbook and some manipulatives. 

Pricing for the books in the series can be dependent on the precise retailer involved, the edition involved and any sales or discounts that may apply. 

That said, student guides typically cost around $11.85, while teacher’s guides tend to cost around $24.99. 

In terms of manipulatives, again it varies between the specific physical product (and the company offers quite a few), but in general they can be picked up for around:

Slate chalkboard – $5.25

Stamp and See- $15.50

Double lined blackboard – $14.95

Wood pieces set for capitals – $32.95

As always, it is important to check for current pricing and any deals or offers that may be in effect. 

Is It Worth The Price?

Overall, we feel that Handwriting Without Tears can add a lot of value to homeschooling parents and students.

The books are well-designed, easy to teach and, most importantly, easy for students to learn from with clear, structured and step-by-step instructions, diagrams and a logically laid out, developmentally appropriate curriculum structure. 

More than that the series makes learning handwriting a lot more engaging for students, going beyond a traditional workbook methodology to help them learn to write by hand using song, movement and lots of different activities and manipulatives. 

In this way, Handwriting Without Tears can suit a wider variety of learning preferences and can make learning handwriting a lot more approachable for students who struggle with it. 

Finally, while there are all kinds of activities offered by the program, in the end it is a very flexible curriculum to use. 

Parents can choose to use all of the various manipulatives and provide their students with a complete multisensory experience, or choose to use none of them at all and work mainly through the illustrated workbook.

Bottom Line

Handwriting doesn’t have to be a nightmare for students…or their parents.

With an easy to use, structured format, activity-rich lessons and strong multisensory component, if you’re looking for an effective, engaging and even fun way to help a student learn to write by hand, Handwriting Without Tears might be just the solution you’re looking for.

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About the Author

Anne Miller is the editor of The Smarter Learning Guide and is a passionate advocate for education and educational technology. A mom of two, she majored in English Language and Literature and worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for several years. When not writing she continues to root for the Yankees and the Giants.

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Fun with Mama

Toddler and preschool activities

Written by Nadia T • Dec 18, 2021 • 1 Comment

Handwriting Without Tears Review + Workshop!

In this post, you will learn more about one of our favorite homeschool curriculum choices called Handwriting Without Tears. You will also see what Handwriting Without Tears workshops are like and see my thoughts on the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. This curriculum can be used in a school setting, for remediation and in private tutoring sessions.

Wondering if it is possible to go from bad handwriting to good handwriting? The answer is YES!! All you need is some good handwriting books and you are good to go! Learning Without Tears, also known as Handwriting Without Tears makes handwriting for kids so much more fun with multi-sensory activities that encourage a child to learn through a multitude of ways.

I created a YouTube video that explains everything, check it out below:

handwriting without tears music

Can you read what he was writing? I actually noticed it because we started journaling together. Clearly, he needed some handwriting practice, or let’s be honest, a handwriting intervention.

I began to stress out about his bad handwriting.

I did some research online (my favorite past time!) searching for how to improve bad handwriting. I had seen a lot about Handwriting Without Tears online and I am so glad that I found it. I had to determine which handwriting book would be most appropriate for a child his age. He couldn’t work with something too easy,  he needed something that would remediate his bad handwriting and that would give him enough practice to improve his handwriting. After looking through some books, I purchased a copy of the Letters And Numbers For Me  book. Learning Without Tears has reformulated their books, so if purchasing in and after 2018 the equivalent to this book is the Kick Start Kindergarten book . This is my FAVORITE book.  It had the right combination of alphabet letter practice and then moved into writing words. I didn’t use the teacher’s manual and chose to just apply the concepts from the handwriting book. I also purchased their lined paper so that I could incorporate handwriting practice into our other activities. We worked on handwriting for 15-20 minutes each day.

Do you want to see what one week of doing handwriting practice using the Handwriting Without Tears workbook did to my son’s writing?

handwriting without tears

Can you believe it? I was in absolute shock. He said that the reason he began to write messy at school was because he felt they were often rushing through lessons and he needed to write quickly. To keep up, his handwriting suffered. It was obvious he just needed more practice to help him write quickly, but still neatly.

Was cursive to blame?

I’ve also noticed amongst my children that their handwriting was wonderful up until cursive was introduced to them. Thereafter, their handwriting changed a lot. Maybe he just needed a refresher and to keep practicing.

If my son does not practice with his writing, his writing doesn’t look as good as the above picture. It still is legible though. Now, since we have the  Kick Start Kindergarten book , I try to make him refresh his handwriting skills every so often.

handwriting without tears workbook

I place page protectors onto each sheet. This makes the workbook re-usable. I have seen some Occupational Therapists do this and I think it’s a great way to refresh working on a particular book.

handwriting without tears worksheets

I do not do this with my 4-year-old daughter. I want to be able to see her handwriting growth within her workbook. Page 1 should look different from Page 70. Since we love the Kick Start Kindergarten book and it’s our favorite way to refresh our skills.. I will be keeping one of those books clean for them to all to use and practice with.

I am incorporating the lined paper into my children’s other lessons, for example here in our All About Spelling  lessons.

all about spelling

I was shocked beyond belief by the results.

handwriting without tears music

What my must haves are:

If starting with a child, I recommend you use the Kick Start Kindergarten book with the teacher’s guide.

For an older child I would recommend the following:

  • Skill appropriate book – depending on which skill you are trying to work on.
  • The matching Teacher’s Guide.
  • HITT – Handwriting Interactive Teaching Tool (this is optional)

For a preschooler my MUST haves:

  • Wood pieces
  • Slate chalkboard (get one for the teacher AND for each student you are working with.)
  • Get Set For School Sing-Along CD
  • Mini sponges
  • HWOT pencils
  • HWOT crayons
  • Appropriate workbook. For a 4 year old I’d get the Kick Start Kindergarten. For a younger child, you can use the Get Set For School Workbook
  • The laminated letters are optional.

Handwriting Without Tears Workshops

Handwriting Without Tears makes handwriting practice exciting with multi-sensory materials. This means that children are learning through more repetition and visual, auditory and tactile learners are being taught through ways that they learn best.

I truly wish that ALL schools used Learning Without Tears workbooks to teach children how to write. With no formal writing practice being done in classrooms, children often have bad writing and in turn, hate writing. Learning Without Tears gives children’s the skills needed to LOVE handwriting. Now that I have a 4-year old, I jumped at the opportunity to attend a Learning Without Tears workshop. (Thank you to Learning Without Tears for sending me to their wonderful 3-day workshop

The room was filled with passionate teachers, occupational therapists and some parents, like myself, who are enthusiastic about teaching their children how to write.

I feel SO inspired.

The purpose of the workshop was to learn not only how to use Handwriting Without Tears, but also WHY. The workshop was taught by Suzanne Asherson and she was a wonderful workshop presenter.

The workshop I attended was the 2 Day Pre-K and K-5 Workshop . This includes 3 workshops:

  • Two Pre-K workshops (The Pre-k readiness and writing workshop and the
  • and the K-5 Handwriting workshop.

Can I tell you how much value there is in the handwriting without tears workshops? If you plan to start this writing curriculum I HIGHLY recommend that you attend the workshop. You receive hundreds of dollars worth of manipulatives and teaching tools that you likely would have purchased anyway to start the curriculum.

Here is what is included:

handwriting without tears music

In the Pre-k Readiness and Writing Workshop we received $145 in free materials including:

  • My First School Book
  • Readiness & Writing Pre-K Teacher’s Guide
  • Kick Start Kindergarten
  • Kick Start Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide
  • Roll-A-Dough Letters®
  • Stamp and See Screen®
  • Mat for Wood Pieces
  • Wood Pieces Set for Capital Letters
  • Slate Chalkboard
  • 3-month access to Get Set for School music

handwriting without tears music

In the Pre-k Literacy and Math workshop portion, we received $110 in free materials including:

  • Language & Literacy Pre-K Teacher’s Guide
  • Numbers & Math Pre-K Teacher’s Guide
  • A-B-C Touch & Flip® Cards
  • 1-2-3 Touch & Flip® Cards
  • I Know My Numbers
  • 3 months Access to Get Set for School music resources

handwriting without tears music

We received 3 month music access to each album within the workshop.

handwriting without tears music

In the K-5 Handwriting class, we received $1500 in supplies (yes, $1500!)

  • Letters and Numbers For Me
  • My Printing Book
  • Printing Power Plus ( Printing Power  and  Kick Start Cursive )
  • Cursive Handwriting
  • Cursive Success
  • Can-Do Cursive
  • HITT (Handwriting Interactive Teaching Tool™) (TK and K–4 versions)
  • Building Writers (K–5)
  • Blackboard with Double Lines
  • Access to Handwriting Without Tears music resources

It included everything we would need to take your child from start to finish through the curriculum. The only thing I felt was missing was the wonderful lined paper! The workbooks that you see above include K through 5th-grade workbooks.

handwriting without tears workshops

For each workshop, we got a demonstration of how to use the materials. We were also given tips on how to best use the materials in different settings like classrooms, occupational therapy and we did many exercises to give us more hands-on practice.

learning without tears workshop

They also had a wonderful spread of coffee and pastries for us.

One of my favorite freebies from the workshop is HIIT access. This is an online tool that allows you to go through each of the workbooks and Teacher’s Guides. You can then use their stories and activities to teach your class/child how to form letters, interesting letter stories and fun facts.

Here are some more materials that we got to see:

handwriting without tears workshops

More about Handwriting Without Tears

It was created 15 years ago. They have released a new Transitional Kindergarten program called Kick Start Kindergarten. It includes a Teacher’s guide and workshop.

Handwriting Without tears can teach children how to hold a crayon correctly by teaching the correct grip.

The preschool Get Set For School curriculum is informal handwriting practice and includes a lot of learning through play, songs and fun materials.

The new HIIT – The Handwriting Interactive Tool is a GAME changer! You can learn more about it here. This teaching tool minimizes prep time and can be used on a laptop, interactive whiteboard and projector. It costs $225 a year, but if you are teaching in a classroom setting, you can get it for $25 a year with the purchase of 20 workbooks.

My thoughts on the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum

I whole heartedly 100% believe in this handwriting curriculum. I am SO excited to start it with my daughter. I think the workshop was exactly what I needed to feel confident teaching this handwriting curriculum to my children. I wish more teachers’ would incorporate this curriculum into their classrooms.

I will post more about the preschool curriculum and give you updates on our progress in a few months.

To learn more about Handwriting Without Tears and see the products they sell .

Have you ever tried the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum? What were your thoughts?

Pin it here:

handwriting without tears

Nadia is a mom of 4, with a passion for making childhood education fun through play. She encourages parents to spend quality time with their kids through fun kids activities and enjoys art, traveling, and doing activities with her children.

View all posts from this author

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Reader Interactions

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July 19, 2021 at 6:19 am

Hi! Thanks for your great video! I noticed that you have an All About Reading pre-reading poster on your wall. Did you teach AAR to your preschool child along with LWT? If so, how did you handle letter order? I plan to use these curriculums together, but it seems a little confusing to not be learning the same letters at the same time in handwriting and reading.

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Handwriting Without Tears (HWT): Why it is a Great Approach to Teaching Handwriting

Handwriting is taught to children that are as young as preschool age. Children begin learning how to write the letters in their name and they will usually start with their first name. Handwriting can be taught in a variety of ways, depending upon your child’s teacher as well as the curriculum within the school. It is important to teach your child in the same manner in comparison as to how he or she is learning in school in order to see the greatest success and to provide the most consistency. Overall, when teaching handwriting, it is crucial to provide your child with plenty of verbal and visual cues in order to help the child memorize the appearance and feel of the letters.

Below are some of the highlights to the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) program , which makes the handwriting process quite successful and simple to follow for the children, parents and teachers alike:

  • HWT works sequentially, initially teaching all of the upper case letters and then all of the lower case letters. Lastly, all of the cursive letters. this process is more effective compared to jumping around.
  • HWT utilizes simple terminology to describe how the letters are formed (e.g. Big Line, Little Line, Big Curve and Little Curve).
  • HWT focuses on right/left discrimination in order to help the child determine his/her dominant hand (hand which holds pencil/utensils). It also focuses on helping the child to help him/her be aware of the right side of the body versus the left side of the body.
  • HWT emphasizes the quality of your child’s handwriting rather than the quantity (e.g. Writing 5 correct “A’s” versus writing 10 sloppy “A’s”).
  • HWT utilizes several whole-body activities to help the child in retaining the information (e.g. Music and Movement; Imaginary Writing and Letter Sizes and Places).

As you can see above, there are many perks to using the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) Program at home and in school. If your child’s school does not use this program, you may still gain many great strategies and knowledge from the HWT website. Please feel free to  speak with your child’s occupational therapist if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s handwriting or fine motor skills. Similarly, stay tuned for my next blog on HWT Three Stages of Learning.

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Homeschooling 4 Him

Handwriting Without Tears Practice Sheets (Free PDF for Homeschool)

My family loves using the Handwriting Without Tears program in our homeschool. But, we have found that we need more practice than the books provide. I started writing out additional words for my son to practice on handwriting paper, but I was constantly wishing for something better. So, here are some free Handwriting Without Tears practice sheets in PDF format that you can download to use in your homeschool- and tips for how to use them!

Handwriting without tears practice sheets free pdf for homeschool

I only recommend products that I use and that we love. This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission for purchases made through those links.

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Over 60 pages of handwriting, coloring, bug facts and more delivered right to your inbox! Have fun learning with your kids this spring!

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Why Practicing Handwriting is Important

Handwriting is a crucial skill for all students to learn. However, practicing handwriting has gone out of favor in education recently. Here are some reasons why it is important for your child to learn to write with good handwriting, even in a tech-focused world.

Handwriting Practice Helps Kids Communicate

The reality is that no matter how much technology our world has, it is still helpful to be able to communicate in writing from time to time. Children need to know how to be able to write themselves a note. A handwritten thank-you note is still a great follow-up to a job interview, or a present from a relative.

By practicing handwriting with copywork , children are exposed to great works of literature. This can help to improve writing skills as well, as kids copy the style of famous authors.

Good Handwriting is Helpful for Spelling and Reading

Kids who can read what they have written will have an easier time knowing if they spelled the words correctly. This means that handwriting practice, when done correctly, can also help reinforce spelling for kids.

In addition, when children are using correct spelling they will begin to see connections between the letters that they are writing and the sounds that those letters make within the word. This can help with reading skills as well.

Practicing Handwriting Helps with Learning in Other Subjects

Research shows that having good handwriting is helpful for learning in almost every other subject area. Kids who can write quickly and easily will have a much easier time taking notes on what they are learning or completing written assignments.

Good handwriting can even be helpful in a subject like math that doesn’t use words. Kids who can write numbers neatly and organize them in rows and columns will have a much easier time completing complicated math problems.

Lack of Handwriting Skill can be Frustrating

One of the biggest reasons to use handwriting practice sheets in your homeschool is that struggles with handwriting are often contagious, leading to frustration in other subjects and with school in general.

Kids who struggle with handwriting often get frustrated when they know the answers but can’t communicate what they know through their writing. This can lead to resistance from kids and homeschool burnout for families.

Kids who struggle with handwriting will also have a hard time working independently in any subject area. They may need an adult to sit with them and write down the answers to questions they can solve on their own.

At What Age Should a Child Use Handwriting Practice Sheets?

Handwriting is an important skill for students, even at a young age, so it is ok for kids to begin practicing when they are young.

Most kids should be able to hold a pencil with the correct pencil grip sometime between age 4 and 6. This means that it is especially important for younger kids to develop their fine motor muscles with activities like playdough, cutting and gluing, stringing beads, or playing with blocks. This will help them develop the muscles necessary to hold a pencil correctly.

Fun and age-appropriate practice sheets will help kids develop handwriting skills that will help them in learning other subjects, too. No matter what age your child is, it is important to make handwriting practice fun and attainable for your child’s age and maturity level.

Handwriting without tears practice sheets free pdf for homeschool

Which Handwriting Skills Should My Child Practice?

Good handwriting is made up of several components. Kids should work through each of these components in order as they are learning handwriting.

1. Pencil Grip

The foundation of good handwriting is the correct pencil grip . By age 6, kids should be holding their pencil with a tripod, or three finger, pencil grasp. If your child is not using the correct pencil grip, this is the first thing to correct when practicing handwriting.

2. Letter Formation

It is critical that children learn to form their letters correctly. This means that they are writing with the correct strokes, in the right direction, and in the right order.

Many handwriting practice sheets will include arrows, numbers, or other hints to help kids remember how to form the letters. However, it is important to watch your child forming their letters and make sure that they are following the correct letter formation.

3. Writing Legibly: Pencil Control

Once kids learn how to form their letters, the next step is to give them a lot of practice. This will help them learn to control their pencil and make their letters consistent.

This step takes time and practice to develop. Extra handwriting practice sheets can help to reinforce what students are learning in their handwriting curriculum.

4. Letter Sizing

It is important that children pay attention to where their letters fall on the lines. Are the tall letters touching, but not crossing, the top line? Are the tails of the letters hanging down below the bottom line?

The Handwriting Without Tears program is unique in that is only uses 2 lines, instead of the usual 3. This can make it easier for kids who struggle with the number of lines on traditional handwriting paper. However, students who are used to using Handwriting Without Tears paper should use handwriting practice sheets that have 2-line paper as well.

handwriting without tears music

You can learn more about the Handwriting Without Tears program in my Handwriting Without Tears Preschool Curriculum Review .

5. Letter Spacing

Another important consideration for writing legibly is the spacing between letters and words. Kids need practice to learn how to space the letters in a word close together, but not touching.

Children also need to learn how to leave space between words. This is usually not intuitive for kids when they first learn to write. It can help to teach them to put a finger on their paper where they need to leave a space. This can help them judge how much space to leave between words.

6. Efficiency

Over time, as children continue to practice handwriting, they will learn to write more quickly and easily. This efficiency will help them be able to use their handwriting skills when learning a variety of different subjects.

If you are struggling to teach any of these skills in your homeschool, check out my post on how to improve handwriting for children for more advice and tips.

Handwriting without tears practice sheets free pdf for homeschool

What to Look for in Handwriting Practice Sheets

Choosing the right handwriting practice sheets is important to make handwriting practice helpful and fun. Here are some things to look for when choosing handwriting practice sheets for your child.

Capital or Lowercase, Printing or Cursive?

First, it is important to look for printables that focus on the kind of letters your child is learning. Most kids learn to print capital letters first, then lowercase letters, and finally to write in cursive. Kids usually spend a year or two working on each of these skills before moving on to the next one.

Make sure the handwriting practice sheets that you choose focus on the kinds of letters, and even the specific letters that your child is learning.

What Kind of Lines?

Handwriting practice sheets should include guide lines so children know where to put their letters. Traditional handwriting programs usually use a 3-line system to show where the top, middle, and bottom of each letter should be.

The Handwriting Without Tears program uses a 2-line system that eliminates the top line to make it easier for kids to see where letters should go.

Your handwriting practice sheets should use the same kind of lines that your child is used to seeing in their handwriting curriculum. Consistency will help kids practice without getting confused or frustrated.

Reinforcement for Forming Letters Correctly

It is important that when kids are practicing handwriting, they are forming their letters correctly each time they write them. Practice is only helpful if kids are practicing correctly.

The common saying is that “practice makes perfect,” but a better saying is that “perfect practice makes progress.” Practicing forming letters incorrectly won’t help your child. In fact, it will cement bad habits and make it harder for your child to learn to write correctly.

Look for handwriting practice sheets that reinforce how to form new letters with arrows, numbers, or other helpful hints.

It is also important to make sure that handwriting practice is fun for your child. Kids will be more likely to want to practice if they enjoy doing so. Look for themed practice sheets or worksheets with fun facts to copy. This will help kids enjoy their handwriting practice more.

Handwriting without tears practice sheets free pdf for homeschool

How to Use Handwriting Practice Sheets

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your PDF Handwriting Practice Sheets!

Use a Laminator

The best way to get the most out of your printables is to laminate the pages. Pages that are laminated will hold up better to repeated use by multiple kids. In addition, your child can write on laminated pages with a dry erase marker.

If you don’t have one yet, a single sheet laminator is a fantastic investment for your homeschool. You will save the money that you spend on a laminator many times over as it will allow you to re-use consumable resources!

If you don’t want to invest in a laminator, you can also slip individual practice sheets into a plastic page protector sleeve to get the same result.

Focus on Quality over Quantity

When kids are using handwriting practice sheets, it is important to focus on quality over quantity. Make sure that your child is doing only as much handwriting as they can do carefully and well. If that’s only one page, or even part of a page, it is better to practice less with correct letter formation.

Sometimes, when kids have too much to do, they get overwhelmed and just try to “get it done” rather than doing their best work. Avoid this by asking your child to do less.

Free PDF Download: Handwriting Without Tears Practice Sheets for Your Homeschool!

This bug-themed multi-level handwriting practice sheet pack includes both 3-line and 2-line Handwriting Without Tears style practice pages for both capital and lowercase letters. Enjoy handwriting practice with your kids this spring with this fun resource!

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It’s really easy as a homeschool parent to get caught up in the trap of needing more things: more curriculum, more resources, more activities for your child, more experiences, more, more and more. Our culture tells us that if we give our kids more, then their education will be better. We hear our friends talk…

Mastery vs Spiral Math: How to Choose the Best Curriculum

Mastery vs Spiral Math: How to Choose the Best Curriculum

One of the questions I get asked often is: what is the difference between a mastery approach and a spiral approach in math curriculum? This is an important distinction. Understanding the difference will help you to be able to choose the best math curriculum for your child. If you’re curious about mastery vs spiral math,…

10 Steps to Plan Your Homeschool Year (with a Free Printable Homeschool Lesson Planner!)

10 Steps to Plan Your Homeschool Year (with a Free Printable Homeschool Lesson Planner!)

So you have decided that you want to start homeschooling. Now what? Or maybe you have been homeschooling for a while but are feeling disorganized and frazzled. Here is my framework for planning lessons- and my year- to make sure that I am intentional in what I teach my kids in our homeschool. I have…

First Day of Homeschool Tips

First Day of Homeschool Tips

How to Get Started Homeschooling Right: Laying a Strong Foundation Congratulations! You’ve made it through all the planning and prep work that goes into having a successful homeschool year. And you’ve finally arrived at your Homeschool Day 1. I remember this day so clearly. The feeling of being a total imposter was paralyzing. I wondered, “What was…

5 Tips for Your Homeschool College Search

5 Tips for Your Homeschool College Search

As a homeschool student, the process of choosing and applying for a college can seem daunting. But the good news is that as the number of homeschool families has grown in recent years, the higher education industry is adapting too. Many colleges are actively recruiting homeschoolers for their academic achievement, work ethic, and creative thinking….

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Handwriting and Reading Integration

Learn how Handwriting Without Tears integrates Science of Reading to provide the best student literacy outcomes.

Building the Foundation for Literacy Success

Always improving. still the best. available now.

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Through 40 years of experience, Handwriting Without Tears has evolved to meet educator needs and to always provide the best possible student outcomes. Explore new and improved features and benefits.

Latest News

Phonics, reading, and me.

Phonics instruction with the right blend of print and digital materials.

NEW: Get Set for School Learning and Play Resource for 3-Year-Olds

This supplemental resource scales lessons for young learners.

New Keyboarding Workshop

Prepare your K–5 students for more than just typing with our NEW live-virtual Keyboarding workshop on Feb. 16. Register now!

Discover Our Programs

Setting students up for success.

We lead young students to success through a pathway to early literacy that embraces the whole child. Students strengthen essential fine and gross motor skills through hands-on materials, learn through purposeful play, and explore language through connected text.

Discover our Readiness Programs for Pre-K…

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Handwriting

To help students read, start with handwriting.

Handwriting is a foundational skill that leads students to automatic word recognition. Through time-tested methods of letter formation, students embark on the pathway to reading and writing excellence while connecting letters to sound and fortifying the alphabetic principle.

Explore Handwriting Without Tears…

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Discover more Handwriting and Writing Programs…

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Connecting Sounds and Letters

When students make connections between sounds and letters, the pathway to reading unfolds before them. We nurture these connections sequentially and systematically, based on the science of reading, helping students acquire the range of skills they need to become proficient readers.

Discover our Phonics Programs…

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Professional Learning

Inspire, empower, and thrive.

Learning Without Tears helps every educator find joy in teaching by building confidence and ensuring competence. Our professional learning is designed to INSPIRE teachers to try something new, EMPOWER their growth, and fuel them and the students they serve to THRIVE.

Discover our Professional Learning Programs…

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The Dedicated Solution for Administrators, Educators, and Parents. Through 40 years of experience, we have evolved handwriting to meet educator needs and to always provide the best student outcomes possible.

  • Designed by Educators
  • Proven Effective by Research
  • Integrates with Any Literacy Curricula
  • Engaging Multi-Sensory Activities
  • Powerful Digital Tools

Handwriting Without Tears 2025 Brochure Cover

TESTIMONIALS

"The intertwined connections to real world, real life and all the learning modalities facilitate learner success."

Vanessa Brown, B.A., M.Ed. Retired Assistant Principal and ELA Coordinator  

"With the implementation of the teacher’s guide, activity books and manipulatives, Pre-K teachers have the tools they need to successfully prepare young children for kindergarten."

Schronda McKnight-Burns M. Ed. Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education  

"The active teaching really brings the workbook to life by adding in different interactive learning strategies and activities on each page."

Lanor Payne, Ph.D Director of Early Childhood  

"Our students have used Keyboarding Without Tears for years. This program goes beyond nurturing students' typing skills. It gives them the confidence with technology they need to truly succeed today."

Mary Toomey Assistant Superintendent  

Award-Winning

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IMAGES

  1. Pin by Becki Malloy on Curriculum Possibilities for 2013/2014

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  2. Handwriting Without Tears on YouTube Music Videos

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  3. Pin on Handwriting without tears

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  4. Handwriting Without Tears CD Song List

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  5. Handwriting Without Tears Chart

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  6. Handwriting Without Tears Cd Download

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VIDEO

  1. Writing MUSIC 1

  2. Handwriting Without Tears Stamp N See Capital Letter Q

  3. Handwriting Without Tears Stamp N See Capital Letter W

  4. Beautiful hand writing with piano music🎶😌#cursive #shortsfeed #calligraphy #shorts

COMMENTS

  1. Music Samples

    Enhance learning with music! Our CDs add a lively beat to lessons, emphasizing key skills like rhyming, counting, and letter/number formation. ... Handwriting Without Tears; Keyboarding Without Tears; Phonics, Reading & Me; Pre-K Interactive Teaching Tool; Articles & Tutorials. Blog; Funding; Correlations;

  2. TAP TAP Song Handwriting Without Tears

    Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) prewriting activity. Preschoolers participating in a pre writing activity by following directions for common prepositions.

  3. Handwriting Without Tears Songs

    01 Alphabet Boogie Karen Burk • 71K views • 4 years ago 2 4:15 02 Where Do You Start Your Letters- Karen Burk • 90K views • 4 years ago 1:00 03 Air Writing Karen Burk • 18K views • 4 years ago 04...

  4. Mat Man Song

    Mat Man Song - Handwriting Without Tears Laura Noll 25 subscribers Subscribe Subscribed 46 Share 8.2K views 3 years ago Sing along, point to the body part we name, shout and do the action! Here...

  5. HWT Videos

    Here are two sample videos from our Handwriting Without Tears video collection. Handwriting in Today's Classrooms Hear teachers and administrators talk about why handwriting still matters. Tripod Grip with FLIP Crayons® Diane teaches finger names and functions. This playful approach helps young children develop grasp.

  6. Handwriting Without Tears: The "Write" Way to Learn Handwriting

    1. Holding the pencil wrong Poor handwriting might just come down to mechanics. Simply holding a pencil at the wrong angle or using the wrong grip can make a child's writing sloppy or hard to read. It can also lead to pain in the wrist, hand, or fingers. If your child is uncomfortable, they might try to avoid writing.

  7. Handwriting Without Tears

    Handwriting Without Tears is a widely known curriculum that helps children learn skills that will help them to be successful with handwriting. The curriculum is appropriate for children, Pre-K through 5th grade. ... HWT fully meets our expectations of a program that uses music as one of the methods for learning. Our well trained, musically ...

  8. Handwriting Without Tears Review

    Handwriting Without Tears is a popular and effective handwriting program with a systematic, multisensory approach. Find out if its right for you in this review. ... The program teaches through a combination of workbook exercises, hands-on activities and even music and song, and consequently has become a very popular program for traditional ...

  9. Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn Readiness to Printing CD (Handwriting Without

    Handwriting Without Tears Learning Without Tears FLIP Crayons - Sensory - Get Set for School Pre-K and K, Fine Motor Skills, Writing, Drawing, Coloring- For School or Home Use ... * Hip music style engages students and inspires active learning. * Stomp to the beat to develop pencil grip and posture for writing. * Rock, rap, and tap to learn ...

  10. 3 Handwriting Without Tears Songs (ABC's, ABC's, Dog in the ...

    Use three Handwriting Without Tears songs played together (back to back) to learn the letters of the alphabet while strengthening arm muscles, hand muscles, ...

  11. Handwriting Without Tears Review + Workshop!

    The purpose of the workshop was to learn not only how to use Handwriting Without Tears, but also WHY. The workshop was taught by Suzanne Asherson and she was a wonderful workshop presenter. The workshop I attended was the 2 Day Pre-K and K-5 Workshop. This includes 3 workshops: Two Pre-K workshops (The Pre-k readiness and writing workshop and the.

  12. Get Set for School Sing Along

    Play Mat Man Play Count on Me Play Five Fingers Play Play Toe Song Play Bird Legs Play additional Learning Without Tears music. View Albums "Discover 'Get Set for School Sing Along'! 23 songs to bolster children's social, cognitive, and readiness skills. Enhance counting, listening, and have fun while learning!

  13. Handwriting Without Tears (HWT): Why it is a Great Approach to ...

    HWT utilizes several whole-body activities to help the child in retaining the information (e.g. Music and Movement; Imaginary Writing and Letter Sizes and Places). As you can see above, there are many perks to using the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) Program at home and in school.

  14. Tap Tap Song from Handwriting Without Tears with Ms. Jessica

    This is one of my students' favorite circle-time songs. We use "big lines" from Hand Writing Without Tears, to tap along with the song. Great for working on...

  15. Amazon.com: Get Set for School Sing Along: Songs and fingerplays to

    Learning Without Tears - Kick Start Kindergarten Student Workbook, Current Edition - Handwriting Without Tears Series - Pre-K Writing Book - Capital and Lowercase Letters - for School or Home Use 83 $14.45 $ 14 . 45

  16. Music Samples

    The Learning Without Tears music samples include the spirited songs for enhanced learning from our various albums. The albums feature Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, winners of back-to-back Grammy awards for best Children's Musical Album. Promote school readiness with fun songs and finger plays Develop body awareness and listening skills with music

  17. Handwriting Without Tears Practice Sheets (Free PDF for Homeschool)

    The Handwriting Without Tears program is unique in that is only uses 2 lines, instead of the usual 3. This can make it easier for kids who struggle with the number of lines on traditional handwriting paper. However, students who are used to using Handwriting Without Tears paper should use handwriting practice sheets that have 2-line paper as ...

  18. Handwriting Without Tears

    Handwriting Without Tears is a widely known curriculum that helps children learn skills that will help them to be successful with handwriting. The curriculum is appropriate for children, Pre-K through 5th grade. ... HWT fully meets our expectations of a program that uses music as one of the methods for learning. Our well trained, musically ...

  19. Learning Without Tears®

    Through 40 years of experience, Handwriting Without Tears has evolved to meet educator needs and to always provide the best possible student outcomes. Explore new and improved features and benefits. Learn More! Phonics, Reading, and Me Phonics instruction with the right blend of print and digital materials.