There are so many apps, activities, and worksheets available to help beginning writers, but what is available for upper elementary students who struggle with handwriting? Students who form poor handwriting habits early in kindergarten or elementary school may have a hard time overcoming them. Still other students perform well with printing but struggle when it comes to cursive. Whether it’s a physical or occupational difficulty or effort, students can get more practice using these free or low-cost handwriting apps for upper elementary.
Free & Low-cost Handwriting Apps for Upper Elementary
Practice upper and lower case letters, a variety of words, sentences, and numbers with this free iPad app to help your students improve script writing. Many students struggle with cursive as it’s not taught as extensively in some curriculums. There is only so much time in the day, and this “lost art form” is often pushed to the side in favor of additional work toward other key standards. However, this app will give your kiddos a chance to practice cursive writing without taking away a ton of teaching time.
Perfect for individual intervention (research shows that cursive is especially beneficial for students with dyslexia) or as a whole class literacy station while you are working with small groups.
Need an app that can help support your teaching…or provides clear models for independent work? This cursive handwriting app is a great option for your classroom.
This app is great because it helps students practice both upper and lowercase cursive letters with arrows to model correct letter formation. If your district's cursive models include the lead-in stroke, this app is perfect for you. When paired with a stylus, it can really help support correct pencil grip (which is a common issue associated with poor handwriting).
Amazing animation and multi-sensory practice opportunities make this app one of my favorites for student's needing extra practice with handwriting. Unlike many of the other apps on this list, this app offers music and stories to help students internalize the correct formation for letters so it is a great instructional tool vs. just a tool to build handwriting fluency.
The app gives students details to help support correct letter formation without making them feel like this is another boring handwriting practice activity. It really is super fun!
This is another great low-cost app for helping students develop their cursive writing skills. With colorful graphics and models for helping students develop correct letter formation, this app offers digital stickers as reinforcement for practicing.
My favorite part about this app is you can add your own word lists so students can be practicing their spelling words or academic vocabulary while working on their cursive.
Recommended by OTs for use across a broad range of ages (all the way from preschool to adulthood, in fact), this app is great for helping students who struggle with fine motor skills. While it can be difficult to support intervention efforts for these skills in the busy classroom, this app gives students opportunities to pinch, tap, and write with three different sets of fine motor activities.
Currently, this app costs $4.99, but the activities included are research-based and can be included as part of a documented Tier 1 intervention plan for students demonstrating difficulties with handwriting or fine motor skills.
Sometimes while we are working on improving handwriting students will benefit from some accommodations. This app will allow your students to use their iPhone or iPad and create notes combining text, handwritten notes, and images.
By requiring some of the notes to be written with a stylus, your student will get real-world practice with handwriting in a low-stress format. The ink flows smoothly and is like writing with a regular pen.
Students who struggle with writing on paper may find this free app will help get the writing flowing, literally!
One of the best features of this $9.99 app is the handwriting to text conversion. As your students practice writing, the app will recognize their printing or script and convert it into typewritten notes.
Other features include the ability to input PDFs and DOC files to annotate. Upload paper templates to help your students practice writing vocabulary words or difficult letters in print or cursive. As students transition to reading for information, this will app will allow them not only to practice handwriting skills but also organize and convert their notes.
While many students struggle with writing because they struggle to generate ideas (see my blog post on helping struggling writers generate writing ideas for more about that), many others struggle with the physical process of getting the words on the page legibly.
If you notice students in your class struggling to improve their writing in either print or cursive, these free or low-cost handwriting apps for upper elementary will assist them in overcoming that handwriting battle! Try a few out in your classroom as a skill-building opportunity for all students or to differentiate your instruction and provide needed interventions.
I hope this article helped you find some new apps to support your struggling writers. If you’d like more ideas, be sure to follow me on: