Learning to write is an important milestone for kids, and as such it should be a fun and enjoyable activity. Handwriting Heroes helps achieve this goal. Now available for iPad, the app teaches lowercase letter formation through animation, music, and stories featuring playful characters.
Learn How Letters are Formed
In Handwriting Heroes, letters are sorted into five groups based on their first stroke. For example, the group "skiers" includes the letters "v", "w", "x", and "y", while the group "skydivers" includes the letters "l", "t", "k", "i", and "j". The reason for such organization is to provide structure and an easy way of remembering the letters. Kids can choose the group they want to learn, at the beginning of the app.
There are four steps to learning to write a letter. In the first step, kids are shown an animated story that explains why a letter is formed the way it is: the letter "l", for example, is shown skydiving down and stopping when it lands on a lemon. In the second part, the story is broken down into several parts to guide kids to trace each stroke and complete the letter.
Next, kids try to write the letter with the help of a template but without the help of a narrator. Once they are able to do so, the final step is to write the letter without any template at all. For their reference, a completed letter is shown on the left side of the screen.
Suitable for kids of different abilities, Handwriting Heroes has three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, and hard. In the Easy level, the marker stays in the same place even if kids lift their finger. In the Medium level, the marker returns to the start of the stroke if kids lift their finger. In the Hard level, kids have to start at the beginning of the letter if they lift their finger. Grown-ups can set the difficulty level from the Options menu on the main screen.
Parents Need to Know
Handwriting Heroes focuses exclusively on lower case. The app's developer, who is also an occupational therapist, argues that kids tend to mix uppercase and lowercase letters when capital letters are taught first. Since only 5% of the written word is in capital letters, it makes sense for kids to learn lower case before they move on to upper case.
To make it easier for kids to write, the Handwriting Heroes font is specially designed to minimize the need to lift the pencil and reduce reversals. The app also includes writing lines to help kids know where to place a letter. In the tracing scene, notice how the skyline, clouds, and ground transition into the ascending line, waistline, and baseline.
If the app works for your kids, and you'd like to extend the learning process off screen, you can purchase additional program materials from the developer's website. These materials are of excellent quality and include worksheets and letter cards, which you can print and store in laminated pockets to allow repeated uses.
Handwriting Heroes is safe for kids. It has no in-app purchases or third-party adverts. Internet connection is not required to use the app.
Things I Like
Learning to write can be a frustrating process, but Handwriting Heroes make it a little more fun. The animated stories are silly and easy to remember, which is helpful when kids are recalling the strokes to create a letter. I like how the stories include alliteration or letter sounds, for example, "E walks the plank then surfs around to escape the evil pirate."
Designed for multi-sensory learning, Handwriting Heroes also has songs and movements that engage all the child's senses. On the main screen, for example, you can touch the musical note to listen to a song that describes how letters are formed in each group. It's a neat detail that shows how much thought were put into designing an app that effectively teaches kids to write.
Handwriting Heroes is an excellent app that engages kids to learn to write with songs, animations, and stories. Designed by an experienced occupational therapist, the app introduces a structured and efficient way to remember lower case letter formation. Highly recommended for ages 3 and up.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.