Letters Make Words: A TOS App Review

Letters Make Words: A TOS App Review

Letters Make Words: A TOS App Review

Sacha’s<25: An app for your iPad to help your child learn handwriting using the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time? 5 stars
Did it help us learn? 5 stars
Is it worth the money? 6 stars
Is it useful to me? 5 stars
Practicality- 5 stars
Quality- 5 stars
Kid Rating- 5 stars

From the Letters Make Words App on iTunes: 
The user can select any letter. Each one comprises a complete unit of instruction for that letter, a warmup pattern, the letter and a word to trace and to sound out. When a letter has a different sound depending on its usage in words, choose from either of two words. The next screen has three words to sound out with a silly sentence for the child to write on paper.

A friendly voice coaches the child to finger trace with the index finger, thereby encouraging good pencil/pen hold when actually writing. It’s the index finger that should push a pen to make marks with the greatest ease of movement.

Lowercase letters are featured. An app for capitals and numerals will follow soon. Lowercase are the ones we most need when we write, and are the easiest to form.

Letter-related warmup patterns start each unit to help the child with formations.
Starting points and directions for strokes are clearly defined, graphically and by the audio that guides a child through all finger tracing and pronunciation.

Letters are designed for ease of writing and legibility. Reversals (b for d, etc.) are never an issue with the formations used in this app.

Our Experience:

We were really excited to try out this app.  I have a child just learning proper handwriting techniques.  Unfortunately, we found this app to be extremely frustrating….while it states that the color changes as the child traces the letter it isn’t what we thought.  The whole letter slowly gets darker, not just where the child has traced. There is no way of “seeing” where their finger has actually been.  As long as she started where the “hole” was at at the beginning of the letter and ended at the end of the letter (she could have scribbled all over the middle of the screen) it would ding like she had completed it correctly.  Also if she traced a word faster than it spoke her through it would continue talking even though she was finished and she would have to wait for it to finish talking.

What I liked:

  • I could see this app helping with fluidity of motion and as a child was getting ready to learn cursive.  It would actually make the transition to cursive much easier.
  • Technology just takes some of the stress out of learning….it is a different way to learn and can make it fun for kids.
  • The audio help while learning letter formation is helpful.

What I didn’t like:

  •  This style of handwriting is so different than what she has already been working on, it was a bit confusing.
  • As you can read from “Our Experience” section there were a few things that were frustrating, which I won’t go into again.
  • After they practice a letter the app follows up with words and then a sentence for the student to write on paper.  This is really way to much for a new to handwriting student.
  • It really isn’t a substitute for good old pencil and paper learning. (While it doesn’t claim to be, I still feel the need to mention this.  It could be a good supplement however)

To sum it up: I would recommend this to families who are looking for extra handwriting help or who are getting ready to make the transition to cursive handwriting.  While it doesn’t take the place of a parent or teacher teaching how to properly do handwriting this could be a supplement for those students who are intimidated by using a pencil and paper or need more review.


The important information:

Letters Make Words

By Swansbury, Inc.

Order from: iTunes

Price: introductory price $2.99

To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

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