First Strokes

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What is the First Strokes Print Program?
The First Strokes Print Program is a multi-sensory print program designed for pre-K through 3rd grade children. The program is designed to be fun for children, and provides a way for parents, teachers, and others to effectively communicate and measure progress

How does First Strokes compare to Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) by Jan Olsen?
Both are multi-sensory
Both are therapeutic handwriting programs
Both are popular with schools
Both are easy to understand

FS Print immediately generalizes to Zaner -Bloser paper and then other forms of paper
FS Cursive immediately generalizes to cursive ruled notebook paper, then regular notebook paper
First Strokes is based on the "First Stroke" of the letter - therefore it is better for students who do frequent letter reversals
First Strokes Print has a computer tutorial - and once the kids learn the "First Stroke", they can be talked through any letter. They also learn that a "short line down" letter starts on the middle divider, as "tall line down" letter starts on the top line
First Strokes gives cognitive cues in letter groups/categories
First Strokes has a story book, in color, and also the storybook is narrated on the computer
The entire philosophy of First Strokes is multi-sensory handwriting. While HWT has some slates and the "wipe, dry, try " method is an excellent multi-sensory activity, the First Strokes program has a zillion creative multi-sensory methods outlined in the manual - designed to use during therapy, or to be set up in a writing lab where a teacher can use it for students who struggle.
HWT uses an adapted paper - 2 lines, and some teachers are not too fond of having to adapt handwriting to the 2 lines - they want the kids to be able to use regular paper, the lines in the curriculum (worksheets, books, etc..). Experience at The Handwriting Clinic has shown that kids who have moderate to mild handwriting dysfunction can generalize to regular paper - usually very quickly or at least by the end of an 8 or 16 week class. The First Strokes manual give lots of good info about generalizing to regular paper.

How can I order the First Strokes Handwriting Programs?
The First Strokes program can be ordered from the First Strokes website at

I am NOT affliated with First Strokes; however, have experience with the program and have found to be VERY effective in handwriting instruction and remediation! My fellow OTs in my school system also have worked with nearly all the handwriting programs out there and prefer this one the most. :)

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