REVIEW: Easy Street to Handwriting (Educational App)
If you’re a parent looking for answers when it comes to helping your children learn to write, you’re not alone.
Julie, director of Easy Street to Handwriting, knows your frustrations and your pain as you watch your child flounder. She was in your position when her own daughter was in primary school.
Disbelieving of the advice to just ‘practice’, Julie took matters into her own hands. Pursuing an education degree, she threw herself into figuring out how we can best help little learners become masters at forming letters and numbers. Over time, she developed strategies and came to realisations about how best to fit these lessons to small minds. Minds that were desperate to learn but disappointed and frustrated that they couldn’t do what other kids could do.
At Easy Street to Handwriting, all kids can do. And they can have fun while they do it!
What is Easy Street to Handwriting?
Easy Street to Handwriting is a deceptively simple looking game that’s fun to use and teaches real concepts in a contextually appropriate setting.
The game works using the metaphor of motorbike riding. You can one person riding on the bike (pointer finger), one in the side car (in this case, a monkey) and one underneath supporting the pencil (the thumb takes the form of a mechanic who is here to help if any trouble arise). This is to address grip issues that may be stopping children from being able to write.
The language and metaphor of TRAFFIC is applied to every stage of the game, be they writing numbers or letters. A policeman attends the scene if a crime is committed (going off track or the wrong way).
Your child may become frustrated in this game as there are rules to follow and remember. That’s okay – sometimes our kids work well when they’re challenged. Learning can be frustrating but it makes achievement all the sweeter.
What are the Easy Street to Handwriting apps?
There is the app that children use. It’s available on both Google and Apple in the App Stores. You’ll find a choice of 6 riders, the ability to personalise avatars and the chance to customise bikes. You can even build your own course in the motorbike fun park.
There is a subscription option for teachers wherein 30 riders can play. This also comes with a free trial period. You’ll also find posters of the alphabet as well as the digits that include the language used in the program. There’s no manual for these – they’re intuitive and you can just use them as reference points as your child progresses through the program.
The resources are in either Australian or New Zealand style ‘fonts’ which will correlate with what the children are learning in their classrooms.
How is this different than just practising?
Drawing letters again and again can feel like punishment to a child. And drawing numbers in isolation with no context can lack the kind of real and relevant context required to form meaning.
Turning handwriting into a fun game, complete with rewards, removes the punishment of the task for the child. They can remember the metaphor about the motorbike rider and his assistants (Monkey, Mechanic and Policeman) because this is knowledge and a reference point that they already had.
‘Like’ letters are grouped together using the same background theme. You can begin lowercase without lines (recommended) and then the game will introduce letters that are LIKE the ones you just mastered. (For example, can you make an r? Let’s turn it into an n!)
If you’re looking for help in this area, chances are you’ve already tried the options put forward by your child’s teacher. It’s worth taking a chance on something new. Julie, the creator, was a mum who was in your exact position. This solution has helped not only her own daughter but lots of kids just like yours! Easy Street to Handwriting is easy to use and it’s what both parents and children have been looking for.
The Prep Test
Little Mister Almost-Five tried out the Easy Street method. He’s been experimenting with numbers and letters for some time now and is excited about starting school. This reviewer wanted to ensure that his enthusiasm wasn’t quashed by ‘failing’ to do the things he already loved to do so he took on Easy Street as a new challenge. This was a chance for some gamification of learning.
He was instantly hooked by the use of cartoon-style images and the sweet, game-style music that backed his study. Being only 4 (nearly 5! Don’t forget! He doesn’t!), we elected to take a very simple approach to the app. I wanted him to have success rather than be intimidated.
Writing on the ipad with his finger in the correct position was one of the first things we looked at. Once he was ready to go, off he certainly went!
Numbers were first (he loves to count, mwah ha ha) and he tackled them with relish. There was the occasional issue with rounded numbers (he did ask for my help and modelling a number of times, but Monkey is happy to repeat instructions and show you the way – just press his button at the top of screen) and he celebrated in his small wins with each number completed.
We’re using the game in little bursts in an effort to keep the ‘delight’ side fresh. Writing and letter formation is taking place both on the game and in real life and he likes practising what he learned in the ‘motorbike game’ on his pieces of paper at his desk.
Would Families Magazine recommend Easy Street to Handwriting?
In a word? Yes! We love to see educational approaches that are fresh and exciting. This is a great, REAL way to get kids used to writing and it’s presented in a fun game format. Two well poised thumbs up! Download your copy here: www.easystreeteducation.com.au/app.htm
*This editorial featured in our print issue 32; February/March 2019