IWriteWords App Review – My 3-year-old loves it!

December 15, 2011

Photo by Julosstock

We found a great little app today that got my 3-year-old writing with his fingers and loving it:  IWriteWords:

It’s a $2.99 app that has a little crab your youngster can touch with his finger and drag over numbered dots to write each step in uppercase/lowercase letters, short words, and numbers.  It quickly teaches them the correct strokes needed to make the letters and has a cute childish drawing that pops up depicting the short words like ‘cat’ and ‘cup’ after correctly writing them.

My little guy wasn’t too interested in the letters by themselves, probably because they have no real meaning.  However, he loved writing words!  He looked so empowered and excited that he was actually writing words.  Then he started on the numbers, which he has recently gotten excited about through his newest game: ThinkFun Zingo 1-2-3.  He sat there, entranced, and wrote all the numbers up to 20 without a break.

Our favorite features:

  • Price:  IWriteWords Lite is free to try (only abc, 1-3, and 3 words are included).  Full version is $2.99
  • Both lower- and uppercase are offered and correct writing stroke orders are taught intuitively.
  • Replay feature, so when I finally get my IPod back, I can tap through all the words and numbers he’s been writing and see a replay of his actual strokes.  Cool to see him improve!
  • Included playable version of the ABC song he can tap his way through.
  • My child loves it and is excited about writing – that’s priceless . . . I wonder if it would get my 8-year-old excited about writing.  🙂

I wish they would make more apps with this kind of educational quality!  Enjoy.

Posted under Writing Curriculum

Haiku: Poetry my boys loved and my daughter hated

November 1, 2011

For writing today, I remembered a style of poetry we had a lot of fun with in school – Haiku.

It’s a Japanese style of poetry that based on a theme or image. However, it doesn’t usually rhyme. Instead it has a syllable pattern: 5 syllables for the first line, 7 for the second, and 5 for the third. (Clapping out syllables for a few example words and sentences really helped the younger kids.)

After explaining the basics, we wrote one together:

Kids running around
Making a lot of messes
Fun for everyone

Then the rest of the gang came up with one each on their own:

Our 11-year-old, in reference to his latest favorite game: Minecraft:
Mine some wood from trees
Make some wooden swords and tools
Go kill a creeper

My 10-year-old daughter stormed off, insisting “I’m going to do my own writing, instead of this dumb poetry”, proving that no lesson works for everyone and that puberty emotions are in full force at age 10.  🙂

Our 8-year-old boy:
I like Halloween
I can’t wait to trick or treat
Big bag of candy

And proving that imitation is the sincerely form of flattery, from our 6-year-old boy:

I like Halloween
People wear scary costumes
Big bags of candy

Overall a fun writing unit when you need a break from the daily grind.


Posted under Writing Curriculum

How Do You Get Your Kids to Enjoy Writing? Thursday Topics

July 2, 2009


Being asked to write seems to get some of the biggest groans from my 9-year-old son. (Yes, even more than math!)  He always says that he HATES to write.  I think some of his difficulties are that he doesn’t spell perfectly and has to go back and correct a lot.  He also doesn’t like how slow it is to write and the actual process of putting letters on paper with a pencil seems like too much work for him.

So, I need some help.  I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on ways you’ve helped your children get excited about writing.  I’m also trying to find something to stimulate his interest instead of assigning work he hates and grumbles about.

Here are some of my ideas (but, I could really use some more!):

  • Find a pen pal and start writing letters:  A cousin or a friend who has moved away are easy to start exchanging letters with.
  • Write and illustrate a comic book.  Since they are heavy on illustration and light on text, the actual writing is less overwhelming and the project is more fun.  A simple comic book can be made by stacking blank paper together, bending it in the middle, and stapling along the fold.
  • Pick a topic and start a blog.  It doesn’t take much computer savy to start a free blog at a site like www.Blogger.com and distant family members will love the updates.
  • Start a journal.
  • Use a story starter – sometimes a question or fantasy idea can help kids start thinking.  “What if . . .” questions are a great place to start.  Here is a fun list of story starters.

What ideas do you have? 

I was thinking my son might need something to make the actual process of writing a bit easier so he doesn’t get so impatient with how slowly he writes. 

Thank you for your help!

Posted under Thursday Topics, Writing Curriculum

Online Reading, Writing, Science Curriculum Free May 4th – 8th!

April 23, 2009


Looking for some online literacy and science curriculums?

Learning A-Z is having a free trial week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day.  If you’re investigating literacy resources, this is a good time to check them out.

They offer the following:

  • Free all week long: Raz-Kids.com:  A collection of online books kids can choose, listen to, read along, or read on their own for $60/yr.  (Raz-Kids won Learning Magazine 2009 Teacher’s Choice Award for the Family)
  • Free on May 4th:  Reading A-Z: Everything you need to teach reading including phonics, leveled readers, lessons, worksheets, etc. for $85/yr.
  • Free on May 5th:  Science A-Z: A K-6 science curriculum with lessons, experiments, worksheets, etc. for $60/yr.
  • Free on May 6th:  Writing A-Z: Writing resources including research packets, mini-books, story cards, writing prompts, lessons, etc. for $30/yr.
  • Free on May 7th:  Vocabulary A-Z: After building your word list, a lesson generator will give you a week’s worth of lessons, activities, games, and a graphic organizer.  $30/yr.
  • Free on May 8th:  Reading-Tutors:  If you need tutor lesson plans, this site offers 450 complete tutoring packets with lesson plans, games, activities, etc. for $60/yr.

[tags]reading, writing, phonics, science, homeschool, printables, worksheets, lessons, learning, teachers, websites, review, free [tags]

Posted under Language Art Websites, Reading Curriculum, Science Curriculum, Writing Curriculum

We only write on PAPER! . . . and other tips for Homeschool Handwriting Practice.

January 27, 2009

Writing is an everyday part of a young homeschooler’s life: 


  • Writing ‘I love you’ notes to Mom (or ‘I hate extremely dislike you’ on a bad day)


  • Drawing scribble landcapes as seen out the window. . . on the wall . . . in marker.
  • Adding emebelishments to older brother’s math workbook so it looks much prettier
  • Drawing a mustache . . . on my face . . . with marker (the cheap non-washable kind) . . . oh, and perfect circles . . . around my eyes.
  • Writing my name . . . in pen . . . all over my arms and legs.

You can see why I’m always on the look-out for APPROPRIATE writing exercises.

While searching for printables I found another very generous homeschooler:

I loved the comprehensive set of homeschool handwriting lessons she designed and offers free for personal use.  She includes a whole set of printable handwriting paper, along with 6 handwriting fonts she uses, so you can design your own worksheets.

Also on her website, she offers the following to homeschoolers:

Thank you!  And enjoy!

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Posted under General Homeschool Curriculum, Language Art Websites, Writing Curriculum

Save your money on expensive Handwriting Paper.

January 21, 2009


I admit, among the awesome curriculum and school material gathering dust on my storage shelves in the basement are a couple reams of handwriting paper – in all the various sizes for progressive ages of students.

Why is it gathering dust and turning that nice shade of yellow that old paper turns? Because it’s easier to use online tools and print exactly what I want.

Here is my favorite writing website called Handwriting Worksheets.  What’s great about this site, is you can type in any copy work you’d like, poetry, scripture verses, famous quotes, or names, and print a sheet with the text dotted on the first line, and then the following lines will print typical handwriting lines (top and bottom solid, center dotted) with a nice little dot to show where to start each letter.

Even better, you can choose between basic print, D’Nealian style, cursive, and large and medium styles.

Also, if you have a pre-writing child who needs help, check out this great blog review by Jolanthe of a program called Peterson Directed Handwriting.

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Posted under Language Art Websites, Writing Curriculum