Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) is a handwriting program developed by an occupational therapist originally for her son who was struggling with handwriting. The program has been used for children with disabilities for over twenty years with amazing results.

HWT is a good example of "Univeral Design for Learning" and uses a multimodal sensory approach to learning handwriting.

HWTs meets the UDL Principle I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation andGuideline 1 of UDL: Provide options for perception by providing the same information through different modalities (vision, hearing, touch, kinesthetic).

Many school systems throughout the country have adopted HWT system wide to make handwriting fun and easy to learn for all children. HWT takes a developmental, fun and multisensory approach for teaching handwriting. Many famous theoristsdeveloped guiding principals that assert the importance of play and sensory enriched experiences for children and learning.

Based on research children develop prewriting skills sequentially. By 2 years 10 months children can form vertical lines, by age 3 horizontal and circle, by age 4 years to 4 years 11 months cross, diagonals and X, by age 5 years 3 months a triangle. (Beery-Buktenia Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration.

HWT uses this principle of fine motor development when teaching handwriting at the PreKindergarten level. Children learn letters that use straight lines first i.e. L F E H T I , then letters that encorporate lines and curves i.e. U C O Q G S J D P B, and finally letters that encorporate lines, curves and diagonals i.e. R K A V M N W X Y Z.

For children at the kindergarten level or above HWT teaches letters based on starting points. "Frog Jump" letters F E D P B R N M, all start with a "big line down and frog jump to the top", starting corner letters H K L U V W X Y Z all start in the left hand corner, center starter letters C O Q G S A I T J all start in the center.

Handwriting Without Tears uses multiple modalities for teaching handwriting. Materials include wooden pieces and letter cards, playdough letters and cards, chalkboards and little sponges/chalk pieces (wet,dry,try), special paper, music CD, and instructional teacher manuals (this list is not all inclusive, see site for other materials available).

Click on links below

Handwriting Without Tears Webpage

Youtube videos for tutorials and ideas for use in the classroom

PreK readiness forms for pre and post data

Kindergarten through fourth grade pre and post data

Classroom downloadables

Curriculum overview for each grade level, created to help you share information about the Handwriting Without Tears® program with parents. Use them for talking points or as handouts. Send them home in your students’ backpacks. Parents are delighted to learn about the curriculum and are excited to receive the letter formation charts so they know how they should help their students form letters at home. Also has downloads for letter formation charts.

A Click Away

You will need to enter the passcode for your grade level located on the first page of the teachers manual

  • New tips

  • In-depth information about topics covered in the teacher’s guides

  • Extra practice sheets (create your own spelling or language arts topic words practice sheets)

  • Other instructional resources

  • Materials to share

Thanks so much for pushing so hard to get us this training, and also thanks for getting us some of the materials!
I did my pre tests today, and then introduced Mat Man. I have the first day drawings that my students made back in August -- it is unbelievable what a difference HWT has already made. The drawings today are completely different! WOW!!!
I am so excited to use this program. I'd seen it used at CCS many years ago by Andrea Rea for some FS students, but I'm so happy that I get to use it. I can see already how much it's going to help my little guys!!

Mary Ritts
Special Kindergarten Teacher
St. Leonard Elementary