Bottom Line: Simply an amazing app for kids to learn cursive writing. Cursive Writing Wizard allows customization, keeps data (including actual copies of student tracing!) for multiple individual accounts and is fun to use. It’s a must-have app for any kids learning cursive.
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When I reviewed Writing Wizard in August, I made it a five-star app and sang its praises. I literally squealed when I got this assignment and realized it’s the cursive writing version of Writing Wizard’s awesomeness. Developer L’Escapadou has another five star app.
Cursive Writing Wizard has all of the features that made me fall in love with the manuscript version. It’s a little tempting to suggest everyone just go read that review, but for the sake of those who want nothing to do with manuscript (cursive snobs, maybe), I’ll extoll the virtues of this wonderful app.
The first time the app is opened, it asks the user to choose the cursive style to use. There are currently four style choices: Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian, and two French cursive varieties. The style can easily be changed in the settings at any time.
For use of this app with more than one child, parents and teachers may want to immediately set up individual profiles. It’s easy to do by tapping the Reports and Profiles tab at the top of the screen, and allows the app to keep data for individual users. These reports include the date and time used, the activities completed, and a tracing history of each attempt.
There are plenty of other settings to customize, too. Each account can be set up for specific sounds, time limits on the games after each tracing, the font size used, and even the parameters required for each successive tracing on five star mode. In this mode, each letter is traced five times with increasing difficulty, but this level of difficulty can be personalized for individual needs. It can be made harder for students looking for mastery, or easier for students still exploring cursive without strong motor skills.
Free mode is also an option, for kids to explore without having to master each letter. There are even more options—the user can trace with animated stickers or with a standard pen line and the recorded sound for each letter and word can be changed (Australians can even change the American “zee” to “zed”!).
It’s the tracing history that really won me over. While parents and teachers are sometimes directly supervising all iDevice usage, there are definitely times where devices are used independently. The tracing history shows exactly how the child wrote each letter, and includes the option of a replay, showing with different colors where the pen or finger was stopped and started. This allows the adult to monitor exactly how a student is doing with the app, and provide the appropriate amount of support on the next use. These tracing histories can even be emailed.
There are five different options for the actual writing. Beginning learners are best to start with the lines and shapes. They follow the needed stroke development for learning cursive. It’s also a lot of fun — there are zig-zags, patterns, and even animal faces!
After exploring lines and how they fit together, the child can then learn upper case, lower case, numbers, and finally connected words. This last phase, the connected words, is especially important in an app to teach cursive, since a major distinctive feature is how the letters fit together. There is one built-in list of 25+ three-letter words, and lists of any kind can be added. The other sample list simply includes lowercase b, p, and q, letters that are often confused. Custom lists could be added for spelling words, for letters that seemed more difficult for a child, for learning a name, or anything else desired.
After every tracing, the pen line or the stickers become interactive. There are several different ways that these stickers respond, and it’s a fun reward without taking the focus off of the point of the app.
There’s also a great parent information section in Cursive Writing Wizard, accessible behind a parent lock from the main screen. The information about the app’s features and how to use them is clearly presented in this section, along with some great information on how children learn to read and write.
Overall, this app is a win for kids learning cursive, especially for the ability to view all the tracing histories. Teachers can assign work with this app and monitor how well children do, even if working independently. And it’s still a lot of fun! The ability to add in any words desired (with a recording) is also very noteworthy. Cursive Writing Wizard is a Top Pick, and a must-have for kids learning cursive!
Heather H. attempted to learn her name in a French cursive style. She still has a lot of pratice to get 5 stars. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.