When I was first given the opportunity to use the Wet Dry Try App by Handwriting Without Tears, I was initially very skeptical. I thought “exactly how will a tablet app (using your FINGER) improve your handwriting? Up to this point the only experience I had with handwriting curriculum was when Lucy begged and begged and begged to learn cursive. I finally gave in and bought her something. After only a few lessons it started to involve much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. My skepticism with the Wet Dry Try App was quickly set aside once I saw it in action.
The Wet Dry Try App ($4.99) is a tablet app directed towards pre-school and kindergarden age children. You can have up to four users at a time. In the settings you can adjust stroke tolerance (how accurate the child must be), audio control, and game options (you can lock it so that he can stay at one of three levels or you can keep it unlocked so he can go through all three.)
In “Pick and Practice” your child can choose any letter (or number) to practice. Once the letter has been selected the app shows your child how to correctly “draw” the letter with chalk.
After the demonstration, your child uses his finger to erase the letter with a “wet sponge”.
After that he will “dry” it with a paper towel.
Finally he will write the letter again with chalk.
To earn a star your child has to trace the letter three times. Each letter has three levels (each level a being a little more difficult), making a total of 12 times that your child writes each letter.
In addition to “Pick and Practice” there is HWT’s Winning Order. According to Handwriting Without Tears, this is the order that will teach your child to master his skills in the “easiest and most efficient way”.
I don’t know about you, but my kids all seem to have had the same problems when it comes to writing. Once they learn their letters and numbers they LOVE to begin writing them at bottom rather than the top. Watching them write this way is like listening to fingernails on a chalk board. It’s just not RIGHT! Wet Dry Try showed Spencer the correct way to print the letter and would not allow him to do it any other way. On level one, the sponge, paper towel or chalk is sitting there up a the top where the letter must begin. If you trace the letter in the wrong direction or lift your finger off of the tablet the voice says “oops!” (or something similar) and puts it right back up at the top again. He could not start at the bottom.
Using Wet Dry Try has been wonderful. “Handwriting Without Tears” is the understatement of the year with this app. “Handwriting while jumping up and down with delight” is more like it. Spencer was always very eager to play and caught on very quickly. He has become much more confident and familiar with recognizing his letters and I am very pleased with how well it has translated to writing with pencil and paper. It doesn’t seem to matter that most of the work is done with his finger, it still helps him write his letters correctly.
Spencer isn’t the only one who likes Wet Dry Try.
And everywhere that Spencer went, Jack was sure to go.
Jack did well with is also. I have him locked at level 1 with an easy stroke tolerance. Jack’s biggest problem is that he can’t seem to keep his finger on the board (his second biggest problem is that he keeps going into the settings and changing everyone’s names to things like “hhhhskkmmkwloxx”).
If I had my way, I would also like to see an option for lowercase as well as the ability to practice on smaller letters. It didn’t take Spencer very long at all to complete all levels of both “Pick and Practice” and “HWT Winning Order” and it would have been nice to be able to give him more of a challenge once he had done it. That being said, Wet Dry Try is a very good application and this experience with Handwriting Without Tears has made me look very seriously at their workbooks for Spencer and Emma.