Bottom Line: Cursive writing isn’t always taught in school anymore so parents who are looking for something to help teach this once staple in writing will have a good find in this app. It’s made for kids three to seven to learn with attractive demonstrations and practice writing and can keep track of up to three kids as they master upper-case, lower-case and numbers from a choice of two popular writing styles.&
If you would like to get this app, look no further than this handy and helpful button I placed for you:
Alphabet apps in the app store are in large numbers these days and that’s a good thing when parents are looking to work on specific skills with a specific age group and Cursive Writing Letterschool has “written” its placement at or near the top of cursive writing apps for kids aged three to seven. The app takes very little adjustment to get started, just pic upper-case, lower-case or numbers, decide which font style is desired from a choice of two, then get to learning and writing.
The app opens to an alphabet so users can start right away or they can click the gear icon to choose from three different profiles which are saved after each use and are not named, so no personal information is passed along in this app. Once a child has finished learning all they need to start writing words, parents or teachers can reset the profile to start again. When I first opened the app and saw the font pictured, my 44 year-old brain went into panic mode thinking I had been writing “z” wrong my whole life, then I relaxed when I saw that there are two choices of fonts, “DN” and “ZB” which are abbreviations for what the developer has listed as D’Nealian and Zaner-Bloser Style. Luckily, I found the style closest to what I learned and felt less like a failure as an adult. Bless the developers for thinking ahead.
Now, in either choice of font, there is the upper-case, lower-case and numbers sections. In each section, users click the letter or number and a new screen opens with a short animation that describes it. For instance, clicking the letter “a” will have a child’s voice say the letter name and makes the letter’s phonetic sound while a picture of a representative noun is shown. as an example, an airplane. Then starts the fun of cursive. The same process I am about to describe holds true throughout the app. First, users hear and see the letter. then, they are shown how the letter is written with quirky animations, then children are prompted to follow lines to make the letter with more cute animations and then finally, kids are shown the basics, which disappear so they can write on their own with only minimal nudging from the app such as where a line should start or loop or curl.
The animations for the letters are really engaging. They are mixed up to keep kids interested and entertained and there are enough of them to make even the most tech-jaded seven-year-old still want to click through the learning process. Animations include dirt with blooming flowers and butterflies, overgrown grass that gets clipped by a push mower, bubbles, a candy chain, beads, candy cane, a marble that rolls down a path and lights the track as it goes and many more. There are two levels in this app, silver and gold. The gold level can be reached in any section separately as long as that section has been completed. The only difference is the addition of more animations and bragging rights with siblings which I have found to be very motivating in my house.
What good is an app that does all of that if it won’t perform well? I have no idea because this app worked seamlessly from top to bottom in that respect. When users go off the beaten path with their lines, the app makes them go back to the start of that particular line and gives hints. This was created in such a way to prevent children from getting discouraged and it works as it should. Is it missing anything? That depends on what you’re looking to have an alphabet cursive app do. There are four layers of learning with each character in each set, in two different fonts and the ability to track progress of three users and it does it without issue and with a lot of enjoyment. It does not have the ability to write words, so if that’s what users are looking for, it’s not here. This will give children all the necessary skills for forming those letters, but putting them together will have to come from another source, which the Letterschool website says they are working on creating.
Overall, I was happy to review an alphabet app with a twist. It worked well, did what it claimed to do and did it seamlessly with no bugs.
Cynthia has been meticulously researching, buying and reviewing apps since 2011 when her son got his first iPad. *Smart Apps for Kids was paid a priority review fee for this post.