Back to School 2022 Catalog

Programs & Products

Support Center/Programs & Products

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Get Set For School® (GSS)

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Q: Can this be used with 3-year-olds?

A: This program is designed for children ages 4-5, however, there are specific modifications in the teacher guide to adapt activities for younger children. Many of the multisensory manipulatives and music are appropriate for 3-year-old children.

Q: What is the typical length of a lesson?

The typical lesson length is 10-15 minutes.

Q Can you recommend options for scheduling lessons for half-day and full-day classes? 

See the scope and sequence section of the Get Set for School Pre-K Teacher’s Guide Vol 1 – pp 136.

Q: Do I need to purchase Get Set for School as an entire curriculum, or can I select only the components that I need?

A: Yes! Even though Get Set for School is considered a complete Pre-K curriculum that encompasses several research-based, developmentally appropriate learning areas for Pre-K, the components can be purchased separately as needed to complement or complete any existing programs you may be using with your students.

Q: Are the Get Set for School components available in Spanish?

A: ¡Si, por supuesto! All of the Get Set for School materials are available in Spanish, including Teacher Guides, student activity books, classroom and curriculum resources, manipulatives, and multisensory tools. Additionally, the digital components are offered in Spanish, including the school to home connection resources, digital Teacher Guides and student activity books, and interactive digital resources.

Q: Does Get Set for School offer differentiation for Pre-K students of all developmental levels and abilities?

A: Absolutely! The entire Get Set for School program is easily differentiated based on the intentional design of the curriculum. The easy-to-follow Teacher’s Guide has embedded supports and enrichments in each day’s lesson to meet the needs of all students regardless of their development or abilities. The hands-on manipulatives also provide the teacher with multiple opportunities to meet students’ needs including those with an IEP, 504 plan, or other accommodations.

Q: How does Get Set for School support the multilingual learners in my Pre-K classroom?

A: The Get Set for School program includes multiple multisensory experiences to encourage students’ understanding of the English language in a meaningful and engaging manner. Teachers are equipped with thematic strategies within each day’s lesson based on best practices for multilingual learners. The program materials and manipulatives provide students with visual, tactile, and auditory experiences to enhance and solidify the learning of English.

Q: What type of assessments are in Get Set for School?

A: Visit the Digital Products Page for information on getting started with assessments.

 

Emergent Writing/Readiness & Writing

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Q: Can this be used with 3-year-olds?

A: This program is designed for children ages 4-5, however many of the multisensory manipulatives and music are appropriate for teaching handwriting readiness to 3-year-old children.

Q: What type of assessments are in Readiness & Writing?

A: Educators can use the Readiness & Writing assessments three times a year.

Q: Why aren’t the letters in ABC order?

A: We recommend teaching letters in a developmental order starting with easier letters first. The vertical and horizontal lines make it easier for young children to write so we start with straight line letters first and end with diagonal lined letters as they are most difficult for three- and four-year olds to write. If our teaching order isn’t ideal for your program’s needs, it can be customized to fit any requirement.

Q: Why are capitals taught first?

A: Capital letters are easy! All capitals start at the top, occupy the same vertical space, and are formed with simple lines and curves. Lowercase letters occupy three different starting positions and are more difficult to form because they require a continuous stroke sequence. When children learn to write capitals first, they develop top-to-bottom and left-to-right formation habits that will set them up for success with lowercase letters.

Q: Why are the pages in the My First School Book in black & white instead of color?

A: We purposefully designed the pages with black and white images to promote fine motor development and creativity through crayon coloring. Crayons provide resistance and sensory feedback while coloring, drawing, and tracing.

Q: Are there Spanish resources for Pre-K?

A: ¡Si, por supuesto! Materials are available in Spanish, including the Teacher Guide, student activity books and curriculum resources, manipulatives and multisensory tools. Additionally, the digital components are offered in Spanish, including the school-to-home connection resources, digital teacher guides and student activity books, and interactive digital resources.

Q: How can I help my students with their grip?

A: Small tools, such as little crayons, pieces of chalk, and golf-size pencils are perfect for little hands as they facilitate a mature grip. The Teacher’s Guide provides strategies, including using music for teaching and remediating grip.

Q: When should I start teaching my child how to hold a crayon correctly?

A: Start when your child shows interest in coloring with crayons.

 

Handwriting Without Tears® (HWT)

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Q: Why is the Handwriting Without Tears teaching order different? How does it work? 

A: Our unique letter teaching order is successful because it follows a scaffolded developmental teaching sequence. We teach easy letters first, beginning with capitals, and then teach lowercase letters in groups of similar stroke sequence. When students master easier skills, they are better prepared to learn more difficult groups—those prone to reversals or having diagonal lines. The teaching order allows children to gain mastery and confidence more quickly and can focus on the content of their work rather than the mechanics of letter formation. This results in writing that is fluid, legible, and automatic. 
If our teaching order isn’t ideal for your school or district’s ELA needs, it can be customized to fit any requirement. 

Q: What is the typical length of a lesson?

The typical lesson length is 10-15 minutes.

Q: What level should students begin with?

Students should use the HWT or KWT grade level that matches their reading level.

Q: Your program emphasizes a vertical style of cursive. Will students still be able to develop their own style? 

A: Teaching a vertical style allows cursive instruction to be accessible for left and right-handed students. The simple vertical style of cursive means that letters look similar to print. The focus on cursive connections helps children develop speed and fluency quickly as they make progress to cursive mastery.  As we develop fluency, each of us will develop our own cursive style. 

Q: Your paper uses double lines. Our school uses three lines. Will this lead to confusion? 

A: The average classroom uses multiple styles of paper and we want to teach students how to write on all of them. Our double lines are designed to help students master handwriting and develop an internal sense of size and letter placement that eases the transition to other styles of paper. Our double line paper eliminates line confusion. Directions are plain and clear. The baseline keeps the writing straight, and the midline controls the size of the letters. (add link to double lines page)

Q: How can I use the HWT program for a left-handed student? 

A: All of our student editions are left-hand friendly! We have designed our student editions with models for students to copy on both sides of the page so that left-handed students don’t cover the model they are asked to copy. This alleviates the problem of left-handed individuals having to hook their wrists to see the models, enabling them to maintain correct positioning. 

Q: Is the HWT program appropriate for children with disabilities?

Yes!  The HWT Student Editions do not have grade levels printed on them which allows flexible use across ability levels.  Lesson plans include modification suggestions for children who need extra support.  The hands-on manipulatives and methods from the Readiness & Writing curriculum can be used with older children who need more foundation skill development and multisensory practice.

Q: What support is provided for teachers who are implementing the HWT program?

Each Teacher’s Guide provides easy-to-follow lesson plans.  The Interactive Digital Teaching Tool is simple to navigate with lessons, digital teaching tools, and family resources available at the click of a mouse.

Q: Does the HWT program meet the learning needs of multilingual learners?

A: HWT School program includes multiple multisensory experiences to promote understanding of letter formation. The program materials and manipulatives provide students with visual, tactile, and auditory experiences to enhance and solidify the learning of English. Lesson plans include teaching strategies for students who are multilingual learners or require additional support.


Q: Is the HWT program available in Spanish?

A: Si, ¡por supuesto! All of the HWT materials are available in Spanish, including Teacher Guides, all student editions, classroom and curriculum resources, manipulatives, and multisensory tools. Additionally, the digital components are offered in Spanish, including the school-to-home connection resources, digital Teacher Guides and student editions, and interactive digital resources. 


Q: Are the HWT curriculum materials only available for purchase by schools and districts? 

While the HWT curriculum can be purchased and implemented at the school or district level, each book and manipulative can be purchased independently in the web store.  HWT is often used by parents, occupational therapy professionals, and tutors.

Q: Does HWT offer options for writing practice outside of the handwriting books? 

Yes, there are several styles of paper and writing journals available for independent writing practice outside of the handwriting books.  Building Writers is a supplemental writing program in which students can practice handwriting while refining writing skills as they follow scaffolded narrative, opinion, and informative writing prompts.

Q: Can the HWT program be used with students older than 5th grade?

The 5th grade Can Do Cursive book is appropriate for older students who need to learn or refine cursive skills.  Can Do Print is a print remediation book for students in 5th grade and up. 
 

 

Keyboarding Without Tears® (KWT)

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Q. How do I know which grade level KWT license to assign to my students?

Most students can start at their corresponding grade level, as each grade has foundation activities. Therefore, a 3rd grade student can start in 3rd grade. However, if a child is in 3rd grade, but reading at a 1st grade level, we suggest starting in 1st grade.

Q: What level should students begin with?

Students should use the HWT or KWT grade level that matches their reading level.


Q: Can I switch license grade levels for a student in Keyboarding Without Tears?

Yes, to switch to a lower grade-level license as a Clever or ClassLink user, please complete our grade-level override form and email it to setup@lwtears.com. A Customer Care Team member will switch the license grade level(s) within 48 hours.  
As a bulk import or manual set-up, you can switch the grade level assignment by going to:
My Classes & Students > open the class tile > click on the 3 black dots on that specific student tile > Manage Student Licenses > change the grade level from the drop-down menu.
If you don’t have the grade level available that you want to assign, request it from your Digital Administrator, or contact Customer Care to swap out from one grade-level to another.

Q. How do students access Keyboarding Without Tears?

Clever and ClassLink users will click on the “K” icon from their applications portal:
Google SSO users will have an embedded link or this same icon in their applications portal
Bulk Import and Manual set-ups should bookmark the URL  kwtears.com for students. Upon initial login, they’ll need to input their teacher’s 6-digit PIN, then click on their class/name and input their secret code (available in the teacher’s roster information in +Live Insights.

Q. How long do my Keyboarding Without Tears licenses last?

Licenses are active for a full calendar year from the date of activation. You must activate your licenses within 3 months of receiving your activation code. If you haven’t activated your licenses after 3 months of purchase, the licenses will auto-activate.

Q. Is Keyboarding Without Tears available in Spanish?

Keyboarding Without Tears is not available in Spanish; however, the Digital Citizenship lessons from Common Sense Education are available in English and Spanish. When students use KWT, they will hear the word, and see the associated picture which will help 

Q. Can Keyboarding Without Tears be used on an iPhone or an iPad?

Keyboarding Without Tears is not accessible on an iPhone or Android. You may use KWT on an iPad and the KWT color-coded keys will appear on their iPad screen.

Q. Can Keyboarding Without Tears be implemented for children with disabilities?

KWT has been designed to help children progress through typing actual words, that they will see a corresponding picture along with the audio. This multisensory approach, will not only assist with learning keyboarding, but also help with letter and word recognition. 

A–Z for Mat Man® and Me

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Q. I am currently using a core literacy program. How can A-Z for Mat Man and Me support my classroom needs?

A–Z for Mat Man and Me is flexible enough to be used with any core literacy program. A-Z for Mat Man and Me has a systematic order for teaching the letters based on the program design. However, research tells us there is no one right order to teach this skill, so the program is also flexible enough to allow educators to alter the order based on their needs or the program used.

A–Z for Mat Man is also best taught in teacher-led small group which makes it a perfect fit for enhancing and supporting student instruction. 

Q. How is this program equitable for all children to be successful?

A–Z for Mat Man and Me supports all students in being successful by providing targeted letter instruction, two levels of differentiated practice, and detailed teacher guides to support learners at all stages. A–Z’s lesson design allows for flexible pacing that keeps with the Learning Without Tears belief in following the child’s lead. A–Z for Mat Man and Me uses culturally diverse books that feature familiar storylines and main characters that allow students to learn about people who look like them and others who do not. Every lesson in A–Z for Mat Man and Me includes scaffolds and extension activities to support learning for students at all levels, including multilingual learners and students that require either supports or extension activities.


Q. How does this program support multilingual learners?

To support multilingual learners, A–Z for Mat Man and Me provides ELL scaffolds embedded within each lesson. Our ELL scaffolds include relevant content in the student letter books, focus on the biggest blockers to language acquisition from the target letter, build reading comprehension skills, promote communication with classmates as well support the transfer of the primary language skills to English. 


Q. What is the typical length of a lesson in A-Z for Mat Man and Me?

It is recommended that A–Z for Mat Man and Me is used during small group rotations. Each lesson’s pacing is flexible and based on student outcomes. On average, the teacher will spend about 15–20 minutes in small groups with students. Learning Without Tears firmly believes in following the child so the lessons are designed to vary in length depending on student need. Not all letters will need the same attention, so we recommend that educators observe students and move on quickly when students are successful or stay on a letter longer when students need more support. 

Q. The program description states that it is for PreK – 1st grade. How does the program differentiate for these varying age groups? 

The program targets alphabet knowledge of capital and lowercase letters, their sounds and letter formation. The program is flexible enough to support a range of student levels and age groups. Each lesson features two instructional paths – Emerging Readers and Developing Readers – allowing you to adapt instruction to meet all student needs. There are also suggested activities and strategies for use with pre-emerging students that require more supports as well as enrichment activities for students that may be older or need more of a challenge. This differentiation allows teachers to structure their teaching easily based on student need using the embedded scaffolds within each lesson.

Q. How does A–Z for Mat Man and Me align with my state standards?

A–Z for Mat Man and Me align with state and national standards for English Language Arts and Literacy. Common Core and other related state standards, for example, Florida BEST standards, Texas TEKS standards, and Virginia SOL standards, are covered across different print and digital components of the program. 

Q. I see social emotional learning is part of A–Z for Mat Man and Me. What does that mean? 

Social emotional learning is woven into the Student Letter Books and Meaning Making lessons as children read, think, talk, and write/draw about five key social emotional learning habits which include problem solving, understanding feelings, persistence, cooperation, and kindness. The goal of our social emotional learning opportunities is to help students figure out feelings and broaden understanding of the characters in the story through book prompt conversations. 


Q. I am familiar with Mat Man from Get Set to School Curriculum. What is Mat Man’s role in A-Z for Mat Man and Me?

In the Get Set for School and Emergent Writing programs, students build Mat Man using our wood pieces to develop a child’s body awareness, drawing skills, and counting abilities. Our beloved Mat Man greets readers at the start of each Student Letter Book with a rhyme that introduces the letter sounds, names, and exemplar words they will learn.  He can also be found in Mat Man and the Great Alphabet Parade, an engaging read-aloud storybook where students can interact with illustrations and text to look for target words and pictures.

Q. What resources are available to support teacher success with the program? 

There are many resources available to support teachers with the use of A–Z for Mat Man and Me. The teacher guide not only provides explicit instruction for the letter learning lesson and the meaning making lessons, but also built-in teacher aids that include background information about the meaningful texts, differentiated scaffolds for emerging and developing readers, multimodal learning support, multilingual tips, and integrating social-emotional learning. In addition to the teacher guide, teachers will have access to on-demand professional learning to improve student outcomes. 
 

 

Phonics, Reading and Me™

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Q. I am currently using a core literacy program. How can Phonics, Reading, and Me support my classroom needs?

Phonics, Reading, and Me is flexible enough to be used with any core literacy program. Phonics, Reading, and Me is best taught in a teacher-led small group which makes it a perfect fit for enhancing and supporting phonics instruction. Any research-based curriculum is likely to move along a similar path for early literacy skills, but no two programs are identical. Use Phonics, Reading, and Me lessons and texts to introduce a skill if one comes sooner than your core program, or use Phonics, Reading, and Me content to reinforce what children have learned previously. How much time you spend and how deep you go into each skill is your choice. Aim to move sequentially to maximize the value of Phonics, Reading, and Me instruction while flexibly adjusting your daily, weekly, and quarterly pacing. 

Q. How is this program equitable for all children to be successful?

In Phonics, Reading, and Me, all children will read the same highly decodable multicriteria text and receive scaffolds and extensions based on their level and need. Teachers will also be able to monitor student progress in class and through digital learning which provides easy-to-read reports to aid in planning for flexible groupings. Built-in teacher aids enable all students to read rich, meaningful texts and include differentiated scaffolds for below-level, on-level and above-level groups, articulation and blending supports, and multilingual tips. 


Q. How does this program support multilingual learners?

Phonics, Reading, and Me supports multilingual learners through teacher-led small groups that provide a supportive space for listening and learning, a chance to mirror the models of their teacher, and focus on reading skills alongside others at similar stages of literacy development. Every Phonics, Reading, and Me lesson includes “If Needed-Multilingual Support” for before, during, and after reading. Use of these suggestions not only expands on the assets of multilingual learners and provides the steps they need to be successful, but also build teacher knowledge on the differences and similarities in language development between multilingual learners and monolingual students to help educators understand how they can support the language development of both groups. 

Q. What is the typical length of a lesson in Phonics, Reading, and Me?

Timing depends on the rest of your 90-to-120-minute literacy block and your district year-long goals. The full length of the program is 20–30 weeks. Each lesson’s pacing is flexible and based on student outcomes. The estimated about of time per lesson is 1–3 teacher-led sessions with the estimated time spent per lesson ranging from 15–20 minutes per session. Phonics, Reading, and Me also includes child-directed time for independent or partner work for an estimated amount of time of 15–20 minutes. Learning Without Tears firmly believes in following the child, so the lessons are designed to vary in length depending on student need. Some students may need more time articulating, blending, and segmenting skill words before they read or get involved in a story or topic and want to talk about it in more detail. 

Q. How does Phonics, Reading, and Me align with my state standards? 

Phonics, Reading, and Me align with state and national standards for English Language Arts and Literacy. Common Core and other related state standards for example, Florida BEST standards, Texas TEKS standards, and Virginia SOL standards, are covered across different print and digital components of the program. 

Q. How does Phonics Reading and Me work with A-Z for Mat Man and Me?

A-Z for Mat Man and Me teaches alphabet knowledge and leads into Phonics, Reading and Me, which builds high-utility phonics skills. Using A-Z for Mat Man and Me, children, mainly in kindergarten, acquire alphabet knowledge and letter-sound correspondence   with teacher-led reading to prepare them for Set A of Phonics, Reading, and Me where they decode, with short vowels, CV words, and consonant diagraphs. By Set B, students have a solid base of early phonics skills, which they are ready to apply in connected texts. 

Q. I have students at varying levels of proficiency. How do I know which set(s) to purchase for my classroom or school? 

We recommend purchasing the level that aligns with the student’s grade level. In our pilot, we found that students that worked with the on-level set made greater gains despite their current proficiency level. Phonics, Reading, and Me is designed to allow all students access to grade level materials and texts thorough scaffolds and supports. 

Q. What resources are available to support teacher success with the program? 

There is a plethora of resources available to support teachers with the use of Phonics, Reading, and Me. The lesson cards not only provide explicit instruction directions, but also built-in teacher aids that include background information about the meaningful texts, differentiated scaffolds for below-level, on-level and above-level groups, articulation and blending supports, and multilingual tips. In addition to the lesson cards, teachers will have access to on-demand professional learning that provides just-in-time support for ensuring a strong start of the program and continuous fidelity as well as providing suggestions for using Learning Without Tears tools, management of the program, and instructional strategies. The digital teacher dashboard also provides educators with access to resources and reporting to further support their work and drive student success.  The Teacher Digital Tool equips the teacher with resources for planning, teaching, assessing, and responding to student needs, as well as reporting on their progress. Teachers can also listen to recordings of students reading texts from each lesson.
 

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