Boston Ability Center - Making Fun and Function Go Hand In Hand

Boston Ability Center - Making Fun and Function Go Hand In Hand


Handwriting Without Tears, An Introduction

by Elvira Fulchino, MS. OTR/L, MSW, LICSW

The Handwriting Without Tears program is used at the Boston Ability Center and in many area school districts. This program is designed to instruct preschool and elementary age students through a multisensory approach for teachers, therapists and parents to follow. The program was developed by Jan Olsen, OTR, an occupational therapist. She co-created the Get Set for School™ Pre-K program in 2003, with Emily Knapton, Occupational Therapist and Director of Product Development for Handwriting Without Tears.

Preschool- Get Set for School workbook includes work on the beginner skills to hold, place and move a crayon by aiming at fireflies, stars, and insects. Coloring sheets are provided to practice coloring within shapes such as, circle, square, triangle, rectangles. Upper case letters are divided into groups based on their components:

  • Vertical  and Horizontal lines (L,F, E,H, T, I, U)
  • Big and Little curves (D, P, B)
  • Magic C (C, O, J, Q,G, S)
  • Diagonals (R, K, A, V, M,N, W,X, Y, Z)

Numbers are introduced through finger plays and counting animals 1 to 10.

Kindergarten- Letters and Numbers for me workbook includes worksheets to print upper case letters (in a smaller size than the preschool version), numbers, and lowercase letters.
Additional materials include:

  • Capital Letter cards
  • Wood pieces for upper case letters placed on the HWT mat.
  • Wood pieces also used to form Mat Man which becomes a model for drawing a person.
  • Chalkboard, Wet, (with sponge), Dry (trace the wet letter with a paper towel), Try writing the letter with chalk.
  • Stamp and See Screen with 4 magnetic pieces (big line, little line, big curve, little curve).  Trace or write upper case letters and numbers and slide eraser clears the screen.
  • Roll a Dough Letters. Make letters out of dough and place on letter and number cards.

These materials use a multi- sensory approach as preparation for pencil and paper.
Olsen, Jan Z., Get Set for School, Handwriting Without Tears, 2003, First Edition.
Olsen, Jan Z, Letters and Numbers for Me, Handwriting Without Tears, 2003, Ninth Editio