PRODUCT SHOWCASE: Award-Winning “Learning Without Tears” Creates Pathways for Reading through Systematic Building of Foundational Skills

2023 Awards of Excellence back to school

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The Learning Without Tears pedagogical approach to reading readiness continues to be a classroom favorite because of its focus on solidifying foundational skills through research-based practices. Using the Learning Without Tears curriculum, children begin a path to literacy featuring a journey that moves through the following steps: readiness, handwriting, phonics, and literacy. 

Two of the Learning Without Tears collections recently won Tech & Learning’s Best for Back to School Awards: Handwriting Without Tears and Phonics, Reading, and Me. Read more about these award-winning products below.  

Handwriting Without Tears 

Learning Without Tears

(Image credit: Learning Without Tears)

“Handwriting Without Tears is an excellent product for a specific need within education today,” note the judges of the Tech & Learning’s Best for Back to School Awards. “With many schools and families utilizing technology more, learning to write correctly at an early age is developmentally appropriate and needed for learning.”

There is ample research that shows the importance of handwriting fluency to literacy success. When a child recognizes the lines they are drawing are letters that have names and a sound, the crucial phonemic connection is made. Using explicit, direct handwriting instruction, Handwriting Without Tears (HWT), a K-5 supplemental curriculum, builds foundational literacy skills to support reading automaticity and comprehension. 

HWT’s multisensory tools engage visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners while building vocabulary, fine motor, and alphabet knowledge prior to writing letters. The student editions foster success with a clean, simple, and intuitive design that is left-handed friendly. HWT includes a digital teaching tool that provides videos, demonstrations, student engagement, and teacher professional learning for handwriting success. 

“With 90% of teachers and OTs claiming that they are very satisfied with HWT, you can also see that educators like what this product provides,” the Tech & Learning judges note. “It uses technology, manipulatives, sensory, music, and more to learn the fundamentals of handwriting. It is a great tool for this niche in education.”

Handwriting Without Tears' student editions are designed to impart more than fluent writing skills. Embedded activities in each edition help students connect handwriting to grade-appropriate math, social studies, ELA, and science topics. The digital teaching tool helps to support effective handwriting instruction in the classroom. Many new teachers just entering the profession are not taught how to teach handwriting so the tool helps to support their instruction by providing consistent and proven effective instructional methodologies for handwriting success.

Watch a demo of Handwriting Without Tears 

Phonics, Reading, and Me 

Learning Without Tears

(Image credit: Learning Without Tears)

“I like that the teacher is the one offering explicit reading instruction with the help of PRM while also including the ability for digital lessons,” write the Tech & Learning judges.

Core instruction often does not include enough explicit, systematic phonics, and word study instruction, or students are not provided the opportunity to practice their new skills with authentic reading and writing experiences. Phonics, Reading, and Me helps solve this problem. 

Phonics, Reading, and Me (PRM) is a supplemental print and digital program that sequentially and systematically helps students acquire the range of skills they need to become proficient readers. It prioritizes phonics and word analysis skills that can be difficult to learn but make a big difference for students along the path to reading. It supplements the gaps in core literacy programs with foundational skills learned through rich, connected text. 

PRM can also support teachers who don’t have the time to differentiate and personalize the teaching of phonics. Using systematic, explicit reading instruction, PRM sequentially moves from simpler to more complex skills to lead to reading comprehension. Explicit instruction in each lesson efficiently integrates new skills instruction with recursive review. Decodable text sets are organized by theme to build knowledge and content vocabulary, including 50% non-fiction science and social studies topics.

PRM can also help teachers as schools shift from Balanced Literacy to Science of Reading. 

 Watch a Phonics, Reading, and Me demo