Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2015
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Writing Wizard - Kids Learn to Write Letters & Words

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Vibrant, playful tracing practice offers unique rewards, fab support

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Health & Wellness

Skills
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K–1
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (7 Reviews)

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Pros: Tons of custom options, gorgeous animated graphics, and detailed reports.

Cons: The sounds may overwhelm some users, but they can be turned off.

Bottom Line: Writing Wizard offers fantastic, customizable tracing practice with interactive rewards.

Writing Wizard can grow with students, starting with the fine motor skill development of forming shapes and advancing to writing numbers and letters and reviewing the phonetic sounds of those letters. The correct formation of each letter is stressed, impressively representing the most renowned handwriting styles. Once students have mastered shapes, numbers, and letters, teachers can create custom word lists for students to practice, giving kids the chance to practice writing their names, sight words, and more.

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Writing Wizard - Kids Learn to Write Letters & Words is a highly customizable app that helps kids practice tracing letters, numbers, shapes, and words while hearing the letter names and phonetic sounds. Choose from uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers, shapes, or words and customize the handwriting style, choosing from D'Nealian, Handwriting without Tears, Zaner-Bloser, Scandanavia, and UK. Choose the character and watch as a hand with a pointed finger writes the letter, number, shape, or word and then shows where to trace first. Red arrows and targets show tracing direction, and sounds cue kids for what to do next. The bright, animated graphics that accompany each tracing page are eye-catching and rewarding.

Teachers can use the multiple settings to adjust letter size, show or hide the letter model, and create their own words. There's also an optional 5-Stars progressive tracing system that requires the user to trace each letter five times, with increasing difficulty. Detailed reports show teachers how each student is progressing. Writing Wizard provides simple, tailor-made, and fun tracing practice.

Kids will find Writing Wizard to be an engaging beginning-writing practice tool. Surprising animated graphics -- from dancing cupcakes to rushing rainbows of stars, tiger faces, and bouncing hearts -- motivate kids to keep following the audio and visual prompts to trace each letter, number, and word properly to see what happens in the end and then play with the animations by swiping, tapping, or tilting the device.

The customization options help teachers tailor the experience to each student's current level and increase difficulty for more precision in tracing as they improve, including settings for left-handed students. Kids also can improve fine motor skills and practice following visual directions as they watch and follow the hand, dots, and arrows that guide them along the correct tracing paths.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Audio prompts and visual instructions -- such as a friendly pointing hand, guiding arrows, and dots -- create a well-designed tracing experience. Amazing interactive graphics cinch continuous engagement.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

A thorough tutorial and numerous customizations help teachers adapt tracing to each kid's current fine motor skill ability and the district's handwriting curriculum.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Step-by-step instructions during tracing, many settings, and audio and visual cues offer excellent support. Detailed reports for each student show progress including videos of how each letter was formed. Printable worksheets are included, too.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 7 reviews) (7 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Cathy H. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Moorlands Elementary School
Kenmore, United States
Kept Kids Interested in Learning Letter/Number Formations
I think it is a great beginning of the year app for kindergartners and/or special needs for 1st/2nd. I found that the letter formation exercise were aligned to how I teach letter formation. It served the purpose for what I intended - introduce students to swipes, writing on iPad, on/off, home button, double tap on home to see "open" apps and then closing out an open app as well as self-control and responsibility. It seems like an expensive app in light of what is out there, but to my surprise the children (at least some) would still go back to it throughout the year.
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