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HISTORY

In 1977, Jan Olsen set out on a mission to make handwriting easier to learn for her son, John.  

The Learning Without Tears story began in 1977 at the kitchen table of a mother whose son struggled with handwriting.

 

Jan Olsen, an occupational therapist, used her expertise to develop a revolutionary new approach to handwriting that helped her son succeed. The developmentally appropriate, hands-on instruction she developed became Handwriting Without Tears and has helped millions of students.  

The passion of this one entrepreneur grew to a team of hundreds. New programs have evolved from the foundational core of Handwriting Without Tears, specializing in Pre-K readiness, keyboarding, writing, and reading—reaching more than 4 million students each year.  

By expanding the scale of our mission to help every student master the foundational skills critical to academic success, we became Learning Without Tears. After more than 40 years, we remain a family-owned education company dedicated to helping all students build foundational skills with confidence, leading to lifelong success. 

1977

Jan begins tutoring her son in handwriting, using her occupational therapy training to develop new strategies for handwriting. These ideas are assembled into a book to help occupational therapists with struggling children: Handwriting Without Tears. 

1988

Jan begins tutoring her son in handwriting, using her occupational therapy training to develop new strategies for handwriting. These ideas are assembled into a book to help occupational therapists with struggling children: Handwriting Without Tears. 

1996

Handwriting Without Tears books are shipped nationwide, direct from Jan’s basement. A full product line is developed for K–5, including teacher’s guides, workbooks, and student editions. 

1996

GET SET SCHOOL

Get Set for School launches as a Pre-K readiness program

2012

Wet-Dry-Try, the digital version of the popular handwriting activity, launches on the iTunes App Store. 

2013

First Spanish edition of Handwriting Without Tears is published. The company also launches +Live Insights, a digital dashboard connecting its learning products

2014

KEYBOARDING 
WITHOUT TEARS

a digital program for typing and digital citizenship, is released 
 

2017

Company is renamed to Learning Without Tears, an early education company that helps students develop foundation skills necessary become successful learners for life.  

2018

INTERACTIVE
TEACHING TOOL

The Handwriting Interactive Teaching Tool, a digital solution for teaching handwriting lessons, launches.  
 

2019

 Pre-K Interactive Teaching Tool launches 

2020

Handwriting Without Tears launches an Integrated Print and Digital Solution, and Get Set for School adds new components, making it a complete Pre-K program. 


 

2021

 A–Z for Mat Man and Me, a supplemental early literacy program, releases in September. 

2022

Phonics, Reading, and Me, a supplemental phonics and reading program, is set to be released in September. 

We’re here to help you get to the heart of every letter and inspire a love of learning!