Handwriting Without Tears is a developmentally appropriate handwriting program, created by Occupational Therapist, Jan Olsen. As an OT, Olsen analyzed the tasks involved in handwriting and developed a clear, systematic way of teaching them. So, what are the components of this program?
- It is developmental.It takes each child's developmental level into account regarding handwriting expectations.
- It is sequential.It first teaches the letters that are easiest to form, then teaches the remaining letters in logical, similar groupings.The method and sequenceare designed to alleviate those persistent letter confusions like "b" and "d".
- It is multisensory.Children don't just sit at a desk and write; they use their whole bodies and multiple senses in learning to write.
- It scaffolds the learning for each child.The first task the child is asked to accomplish is imitating what the teacher does.The second task is copying from a model.The final task, when the child can copy well, is independent writing.
While the lettering system of Handwriting Without Tears is not the most exciting lettering, it is taught with the understanding that once we learn the basics, we all develop our own style of handwriting anyway. This program simply provides a solid foundation in a simple lettering system as a way of developing basic skills and self-confidence in a child.