Frequently Asked Questions
About the Teaching Methodology
Tracing and App Sensitivity
Should I use a stylus with this app?
How does the app work with other Handwriting Without Tears® materials?
How does this compare to other handwriting apps?
1. How much does the app cost?
- The Wet-Dry-Try App is $4.99.
- The Wet Dry Try Classroom Edition license is $3.99 per student and the quantity discount price is $2.99. (Quantity discount applies when purchasing 30 items of any mix from Handwriting Without Tears.)
2. Where can I buy the app?
- The Wet-Dry-Try app can be purchased through the App store (search for Wet Dry Try or Handwriting Without Tears).
- To purchase Wet-Dry-Try: Classroom Edition, click here to purchase licenses from Handwriting Without Tears.
3. Will you accept Purchase Orders for schools that want to buy the app?
- Your school can purchase Wet-Dry-Try Classroom Edition licenses via purchase order from Handwriting Without Tears. Call our Customer Care team at 301-263-2700 for help.
- Apple also has a Volume Purchase Program for schools and other businesses. Visit https://volume.itunes.apple.com/store or contact Apple for details.
4. Who should I contact if I need help?
- Call our Customer Care team at 301-263-2700.
ABOUT THE TEACHING METHODOLOGY
1. Why does the app separate the instruction of capitals, numbers, and lowercase letters?
- We teach developmentally, so we teach all capitals first. Capitals are the easiest letters to learn because of their simplicity. Please see our Why It Works section for an introduction to the philosophy behind the Handwriting Without Tears approach. When children learn to write their capitals first in Pre-K and kindergarten, they develop a strong foundation for printing. They learn to orient letters and numbers correctly. Numbers, like capital letters, all occupy the same space and are all the same height. That’s why we teach them alongside capitals. After your students master capitals, learning lowercase letters in kindergarten is a breeze.Tablets are the perfect size and dimension to imitate our physical Slate Chalkboard. The app and the Slate Chalkboard are great tools for helping children learn capitals and numbers in the correct size and sequence, without reversals.The formations of lowercase letters are built to imitate formations on our Blackboard with Double Lines. Our Wet-Dry-Try app, Blackboard with Double Lines, and student workbooks for grades K-2 are great tools for helping children learn lowercase letters.
2. What is Handwriting Without Tears’ Winning Order?
- Our kindergarten teaching order is planned to help children learn handwriting skills in the easiest, most efficient way. We organize letters in groups that have similar starting points and stroke sequences. This order promotes correct formation habits. Please see our Why It Works section for a printer-friendly version of our teaching order for capitals and lowercase letters.
3. What are the colorful cards you win when you finish all 3 Star Levels?
- Those are our Get Set for School Pre-K Color Wall Cards that have fun illustrations from our student workbooks.
4. What are the differences among the 3 Star Levels?
All levels start with Marcy, your personal handwriting coach, demonstrating how to make the letter with the step-by-step audio instructions. Then, each level gets progressively more challenging:
- Star Level 1: This level has full letter formation guidance with audio and permanent visual cues to guide the child. It also has the greatest tolerance for straying off the original chalk mark used to demonstrate the letter.
- Star Level 2: This level has only flashed visual cues and has less tolerance for straying off the original chalk mark demonstrated in Star Level 1.
- Star Level 3: This level has no visual cues, follows the original chalk mark the closest, and has the least tolerance for straying off the mark.
You can lock the difficulty level in the Settings menu if you want a child to practice at a certain level.
1. Will there be an app for Android devices?
- Our product development team is currently considering applications for these devices and we will keep you posted on the latest developments. Sign up to be the first to know about our new digital products.
2. Will there be a cursive app in the future?
- Our product development team is exploring new features. Sign up to be the first to know about our new digital products.
What ages are appropriate to use the app?
In our Get Set for School Pre-K curriculum, we introduce capitals and numbers on a Slate Chalkboard. This is appropriate for the typical four-year-old who is getting ready for kindergarten the next year. We teach lowercase letters on the Blackboard with Double Lines in grades K-2 in our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.
We recommend you follow these guidelines. Some children may be developmentally ready earlier, but others will struggle with the fine motor demands of forming letters and numbers correctly prior to the age guidelines. Children who are not developmentally ready for the app should work with our other products like Wood Pieces, Letter Cards, Roll- A-Dough Letters, and the Stamp and See Screen to develop their fine motor skills.
The app lets children personalize their learning by creating student avatars! Avatars also help students easily identify their accounts if you are using the app with more than one student.
A lefty-friendly setting lets you set a right-to-left direction for children to make their horizontal cross strokes. This applies to capitals E, F, I, J, T, and lowercase t.
This adaptation also positions the chalk and sponge differently so left-handed children can better see each modeled stroke.
TRACING AND APP SENSITIVITY
Can you explain the sensitivity of the app and the types of mistakes children make?
The purpose of this app is to help children develop good letter formation skills and habits. The audio prompts provided by Marcy, the app’s handwriting coach, are designed to build a child’s fine motor control and develop the correct starting place and sequence for writing letters. To do this, Marcy has to correct the strokes that are not made properly. There are four types of mistakes:
- Starting Spot
If the child doesn’t correctly start the letter, the writing instrument will not work until the child touches the correct starting place for that stroke.
- Finger Up
If a child pulls their finger off the tablet in the middle of a stroke, Marcy will prompt the child to “stay on the board,” and the child will need to repeat that part again.
- Wrong Way
If a child starts to reverse the stroke, Marcy will tell them, “not that way,” and the child will need to repeat that part.
- Out of Bounds
This error happens when a child strays too far from the demonstrated letter or doesn’t stop at the end. If a child makes a stroke that is outside of the accepted range or doesn’t stop at the end of the stroke, Marcy will tell the child to “give it another try.” The accepted range is small because we believe this helps children develop neat writing. At this stage of their development, it is most important to start developing neatness—the speed will come later. You will notice that a stroke is recorded as a mistake if a child goes too fast past the end of a letter. This is to help the children stop in the correct place. For these mistakes, the child will need to repeat the last stroke again.
If on any individual stroke a child has trouble three times in a row, Marcy will demonstrate that stroke again so the child will see how to do it correctly.
SHOULD I USE A STYLUS WITH THIS APP?
The goal of our app is to give beginning writers experience with letter and number formations. It’s handwriting readiness. The skills learned through a finger trace will easily transfer to pencil and paper when the time is right. The app is designed to be used with a finger. It would be developmentally inappropriate for Pre-K students, who haven’t learned to hold a pencil correctly, to use a stylus with the app.
However, for children who are ready for lowercase letters, they may have developed an appropriate pencil grip. If so, then it is fine to have them use a stylus. Make sure the stylus is the same width as a pencil and roughly matches the size of our Pencils for Little Hands.
Please note: Some users have reported trouble with the tablets registering the touch of the palm resting on the tablet. This is another problem with having young children use a stylus for this app.
HOW DOES THE APP WORK WITH OTHER HWT MATERIALS?
The app is another multisensory tool to facilitate teaching students the strokes and sequence for forming letters and numbers in preparation for pencil and paper work.
Slate Chalkboard and Blackboard with Double Lines
Are you familiar with Wet-Dry-Try on the Slate Chalkboard or the Blackboard with Double Lines? Wet-Dry-Try is a fun handwriting activity that engages all learning styles. It’s visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. You write a chalk letter, and then the child wets the letter with a sponge, dries with a paper towel, and then tries the letter with chalk.
The app is a virtual version of this activity, with personalized audio coaching. It’s an additional multisensory teaching tool—not a replacement for the tactile, sensory motor experience children have on the real Slate Chalkboard or the Blackboard with Double Lines. The physical products provide additional receptive feedback to students when they use the physical chalk, sponge, and paper towel to form letters. They also help develop pencil grip, unlike a stylus.
Digital Teaching Tools
The app is also a great 1:1 supplement to our Digital Teaching Tools. The Letter and Number Formations program is ideal to demonstrate letters for the whole class, while the app is better suited for individual student use.
Other Activities and Products
The app should be used in the same developmental sequence as other Handwriting Without Tears hands-on letter building and letter formation activities and products.
- Introduce letters to children with Wood Piece Play with the Wood Pieces Set for Capital Letters. They will build letters with the Wood Pieces and gain spatial awareness skills needed to form letters correctly.
- Next, children move to hands-on letter building and letter formation with the Capital Letter Cards for Wood Pieces, Mat for Wood Pieces, Roll-A-Dough Letters®, and the Stamp and See Screen®.
- Wet-Dry-Try on the Slate Chalkboard teaches correct letter formations step by step, while also teaching proper grip.
- After you have completed Wet-Dry-Try on the Slate Chalkboard, introduce the app to add another multisensory experience.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO OTHER HANDWRITING APPS?
This app uses the research-based Handwriting Without Tears teaching methodologies that have made handwriting easy for millions of children for more than three decades. Furthermore, the app was specifically developed to be used in an adaptive learning environment. When there is a stroke mistake, we give immediate feedback while that mistake is being made. We don’t let the child complete the letter with the mistake and then wait for feedback.
The other great advantage of this app is Marcy, your personal handwriting coach, demonstrates the correct formation habits for you, and then helps with any trouble. In fact, all the music, audio, and sound effects in this app are from the two-time Grammy® winning artists Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer.
If you have a question about the app that we haven’t directly answered in this FAQ, please contact customer support at 301-263-2700 and we will do our best to answer your question.