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

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Teachers say (7 Reviews)
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Pre-K-1 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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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.

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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.

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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
Samantha C. , Student
Triple R Child Care Inc
Oak Forest, IL
Very enjoyable for students. They couldn't get enough of the sounds and graphics. They never seemed happier to write their letters.

My overall opinion is this project would be a hood investment. With the level of engagment needing to be incredibly high for early childhood, this takes care of that issue. However, it would need to be used sparingly since it may get old after a while if continued use every day. The kids would benefit greatly because the only practice they get is at school, having the ability to practice more at home would be very helpful.

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