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Abstract

Handwriting has a low status and profile in literacy education in England and in recent years has attracted little attention from teachers, policy-makers or researchers into mainstream educational processes. This article identifies a substantial programme of research into handwriting, including studies located in the domains of special needs education and psychology, suggesting that it is time to re-evaluate the importance of handwriting in the teaching of literacy. Explorations of the way handwriting affects composing have opened up new avenues for research, screening and intervention, which have the potential to make a significant contribution to children's progress in learning to write. In particular, the role of orthographic motor integration and automaticity in handwriting is now seen as of key importance in composing. Evidence from existing studies suggests that handwriting intervention programmes may have a real impact on the composing skills of young writers. In particular, they could positively affect the progress of the many boys who struggle with writing throughout the primary school years.
Handwriting: what we know and need to know?
Jane Medwell and David Wray
University of Warwick
To appear in Literacy, Vol. 41 (1), February, 2007
Abstract
Handwriting has a low status and profile in literacy education and in recent years has
attracted little attention from teachers, policy makers or researchers into mainstream
educational processes. This article identifies a substantial programme of research into
handwriting, including studies located in the domains of special needs education and
psychology, which suggest that it is time to re-evaluate the importance of handwriting in the
teaching of literacy. Explorations of the way handwriting affects composing has opened up
new avenues for research, screening and intervention, which have the potential to make a
significant contribution to children’s writing progress. In particular the role of orthographic
motor integration and automaticity in handwriting is now seen as of key importance in
composing. Evidence from existing studies suggests that handwriting intervention
programmes may have a real impact on the composing skills of young writers. In particular,
they could positively affect the progress of the many boys who struggle with writing
throughout the primary school years.
Key words: Boys, handwriting, literacy, writing
1
Introduction
There has been little significant educational research into handwriting in England since the
work of Sassoon et al (1986) and Alston and Taylor (1987). Even the available research
reviews (Graham & Weintraub, 1996) were written over a decade ago and include little
evidence from a British context. The way handwriting is taught in English mainstream
schooling is based on research and writing undertaken during the mid-1980s and early 1990s.
During the eighties and early nineties a number of changes affected the teaching of
handwriting. Firstly, a very significant experiment took place in schools in England,
involving a fundamental change in the handwriting script taught to children in the primary
years. Peters’ research into spelling (1985) emphasised that English spelling provided a high
degree of visual regularity and highlighted the link between visual and kinaesthetic learning
of spellings. A strong theoretical case was thus made for a link between correct spelling and
the use of fluent, joined up handwriting. By learning the movements of common spelling
patterns by hand (kinaesthetically) as well as by eye, it was suggested (Cripps & Cox, 1989;
Peters & Smith, 1993) that writers improved their chances of producing correct spellings. The
popularisation of this theory in schools through spelling and handwriting schemes coincided
with (or caused) a change in the handwriting of children all over the country as handwriting
schemes based on this theory advocated the use of an alphabet including exit strokes right
from the beginning of writing teaching, and the joining of letters as early as possible (Cripps,
1988). Interestingly, there has been almost no empirical research to examine the claims about
the contribution of handwriting to correct spelling, to measure the effects of beginning
writing using different scripts or to examine the effects of early joining.
2
The importance of handwriting: writing assessment
Whilst handwriting style streamlined across schools in England during the late 1980s and
early 1990s, it was also put firmly in its place in terms of its importance relative to other
aspects of writing. The National Curriculum for England (DfEE/QCA, 2000), for example,
treats handwriting succinctly and deals with the development of movement and style, with no
mention of speed or efficiency. The attainment target for writing at level 4 (the target for 11
year olds) demands only that: “Handwriting style is fluent, joined and legible”. No mention is
made of speed.
Handwriting is statutorily assessed as part of the Standard Assessment Tasks and Tests
(SATs), the marking schemes for which allocate up to 40 marks for writing at age 7 (Key
Stage 1) and 50 marks at age 11 (Key Stage 2). At both ages, up to 3 marks can be awarded
for handwriting. The assessment for these three marks is made on a sample of handwriting
done during a composition assessment and is a product analysis. Fluency is taken to mean
evidence of the effective joining of letters and speed of writing is not included in the
assessment. In short, this is a very imprecise assessment of handwriting style, not of
handwriting efficiency.
The National Literacy Strategy also gives minimal attention to handwriting. It was included
in the word level objectives in the NLS Framework for Teaching (DfEE, 1998) from
reception year (age 4-5) until Year 4 (aged 9), after which handwriting does not appear as an
objective. The assumption that handwriting will have been mastered by this time is common
across publications about writing (e.g. Wyse, 1998; Medwell et al, 2001; Nicholls et al,
1989). In the light of research in the areas of neuroscience, cognitive psychology and special
3
needs education, it is time to question this assumption and examine how research into
handwriting can offer clues to improving composition.
The importance of handwriting: teaching writing
One reason for such a lack of attention to handwriting has been the perspectives on writing
that have been popular in schools and the emphasis (or lack of emphasis) these perspectives
have placed upon handwriting. In early years education, evidence that children can write
meaningful texts before they have mastered the writing system (Teale & Sulzby, 1986)
changed the way researchers and teachers looked at children’s early attempts at writing
(Temple et al, 1982). Analysis of children’s early writing for evidence of understandings
about the language system (Clay, 1975,), spelling (Gentry, 1981) and audience (Hall, 1987;
Czerniewska, 1992) shifted attention away from the teaching of writing through copying,
with its emphasis on correct letter formation and legibility.
Emergent writing (Hall, 1987; Teale & Sulzby, 1986), placed the focus of attention firmly on
the meanings children were able to create in their writing. Children were encouraged to write
freely and to use their emerging, but incomplete, understandings of language and writing
skills to express themselves in writing. This was a corrective to earlier emphasis on neatness
and correct letter formation, which undoubtedly hindered the composition of beginning
writers.
The teaching of writing to older children has been strongly influenced by theoretical
perspectives that emphasise the difference between composing text and transcribing text.
Graves’ (1983) account of the writing process as a series of stages has been highly significant
for theorised pedagogies of writing, even if these theories have not quite had the practical
4
effects that have been claimed for them (Medwell, 1998). Cognitive models of the writing
process, such as that of Hayes and Flowers (1980), also stress the planning and self-
monitoring required by the writer, but these too have had limited influence on mainstream
school practice. More recently, a genre focused approach to writing, emphasising the direct
teaching of the structures of socially significant texts, was popularized by the work of Wray
and Lewis (1997) and included in the requirements of the National Literacy Strategy (1998).
In none of these perspectives on writing and its teaching does handwriting play a significant
role. Indeed, current perspectives often explicitly assign handwriting to a peripheral role in
writing success.
A composition-led view of the writing process is very much part of the mainstream culture of
literacy teaching in England. The National Curriculum for English (DfEE, 2000) requires that
children be taught to plan, draft, revise, proof-read and present their work, a direct reflection
of the process approach, and this is sustained in the National Literacy Strategy (DfEE, 1998).
Emphasis upon composing may, at times, have drawn attention away from handwriting.
The importance of handwriting: the research evidence
Despite its empirical rigour and replication, and its central concern with how children learn to
write, the substantial body of cognitive psychological research on the writing process has had
little impact on classroom practice. This may be because the largely experimental and non-
naturalist design of such research makes its direct classroom application problematic.
However, in psychology, neuropsychology and special needs education the substantial
research into handwriting that has taken place in the last decade may offer insights into the
composing processes of mainstream children. It may also ensure that the role of handwriting
in composition is reconsidered and even the nature of handwriting itself reconceptualised.
5
A considerable amount of this research has focused on explorations of the role of working
memory in writing. Working memory denotes the temporary storage of the information
necessary for carrying out tasks. Long-term memory can store virtually unlimited amounts of
material for many years, but working memory can hold only a few items for a short time - it
is a limited resource. Kellogg (1996; 1999; 2001) and Hayes (1996) have both given a central
role to working memory in their very influential models of the writing process.
Understanding the ways in which different writing processes draw on the same limited
working memory resources could explain why some writing processes are more difficult than
others and how these processes may interfere with each other.
Identifying the role of working memory in writing may help us to understand the interference
among memory processes that contend for the same scarce memory resources, in this case,
the way handwriting may actually affect composition. The findings of Gathercole et al (2004)
suggest that working memory is particularly associated with the literacy scores of younger
children. If young writers have to devote large amounts of working memory to the control of
lower-level processes such as handwriting, they may have little working memory capacity
left for higher-level processes such as idea generation, vocabulary selection, monitoring the
progress of mental plans and revising text against these plans.
Individuals can generally conduct only one cognitive task requiring attention at a time
(Sweller, 1988; Sweller & Chandler, 1994). This means that the way an individual manages
cognitive resources to facilitate all the different, attention-requiring aspects of a writing task
is crucial to their success at writing (Saada-Robert, 1999). Christiansen (2002) identifies two
main strategies to limit the demands on working memory. The first is to sequence tasks so
that only one task is undertaken at a time. This has been a popular way to manage writing
6
processes in classrooms and planning, drafting, revising etc. have been sequenced as steps in
the writing process for many children, in an attempt to reduce their competing demands on
young writers. However, models of writing (e.g. Hayes & Flower, 1980) suggest that writing
processes are recursive and that writing is not a step-by-step linear process at all. In this case,
sequencing tasks so that only one is undertaken at a time is unlikely to be a successful
strategy for limiting demand on working memory at a cognitive level, since writing simply
does not proceed that way. Moreover, in writing it is hardly possible to isolate or defer the
handwriting element, since without it, nothing would actually be written!
An alternative solution to the problem of limited working memory capacity is to make some
processes, such as handwriting, automatic, in order to free up cognitive resources to deal with
higher level processes. La Berge & Samuels, (1974) define automaticity as having been
achieved when a process can be effected swiftly, accurately and without the need for
conscious attention. The development of skill in writing may require the automatisation of
lower-level skills so that they use less of the available working-memory resources.
A major programme of research undertaken over the last ten to fifteen years (e.g. Berninger
et al, 2006; Berninger, 1994; Berninger & Graham, 1998) has investigated the role of
handwriting in writing and its findings are extremely interesting. Firstly, it has been
established that handwriting is far from a purely motor act. Berninger and Graham (1998)
stress that it is “language by hand” and point out that their research suggests that orthographic
and memory processes (the ability to recall letter shapes) contribute more to handwriting than
do motor skills (Berninger & Amtmann, 2004).
Orthographic-motor integration of handwriting - that is the ability to call to mind and write
letter shapes, groups of letters and words efficiently and effectively without allocation of
7
cognitive attention, appears to be a very significant part of writing that has been largely
overlooked in education. It involves mentally coding and rehearsing visual representations of
these patterns and integrating them with motor patterns (Berninger, 1994). There is a growing
body of research which suggests that handwriting is critical to the generation of creative and
well-structured written text and has an impact not only on fluency but also on the quality of
composing (Berninger & Swanson, 1994; Graham et al, 1997). Lack of automaticity in
orthographic-motor integration can seriously hamper the ability of young children to express
ideas in text. (Berninger & Swanson, 1994; De La Paz & Graham, 1995; Graham, 1990).
Studies in this area have experimented with the removal of some of the competing demands
for children’s cognitive attention during writing. De La Paz and Graham (1995), for example,
found that when the children were able to dictate their texts to an adult, thus freeing them
from the task of handwriting, the quality of their composition significantly improved. Other
studies have confirmed this effect in primary aged children (e.g., Hidi & Hidyard, 1983;
McCutchen, 1996, 1998; Scardamalia et al, 1982).
Research suggests that orthographic-motor integration accounts for more than 50% of the
variance in written language performance in children. Christensen and Jones (2000) put this
as high as 67% for the 7-8 year old children they studied. Some studies have suggested that
the influence of orthographic-motor integration declines with age (Berninger & Swanson,
1994), but there are suggestions that it continues to exert an influence on writing in secondary
school pupils (e.g. Christensen & Jones, 2000) and even in adults (Bourdin & Fayol, 2002).
If handwriting can have such an impact on writers’ abilities to generate sophisticated text, it
appears critical that children develop smooth and efficient handwriting. This raises two
important questions. Firstly, for how many, and for which, children might inefficient
8
handwriting be affecting their composition? Secondly, what evidence is there that teaching
can make a difference to children’s performance in handwriting and in composition?
The importance of knowing who may have problems
Ascertaining the numbers of children for whom lack of automaticity is a problem is difficult
in Britain. Statutory assessments do not assess handwriting speed and there is no national
screening for handwriting problems. Graham and Weintraub (1996) estimate that between 12
and 20% of school aged children experience handwriting difficulties, and other estimates
have been as high as 44% (Alston, 1985; Rubin & Henderson, 1982), although these figures
are based on teacher estimates and must be viewed with caution. Barnett et al (2006) suggest
a figure as low as 5% for schools in south east England, but this is based on teacher report in
a very small survey and again must be treated with caution. But if these figures are even
approximately correct, it suggests that lack of handwriting automaticity may affect a
significant number of primary and secondary aged children. Such an unrecognised lack of
automaticity may interfere with the composing processes of these children. There is no
evidence of concern about, screening of or intervention in this aspect of writing in the British
system.
Although we do not have enough evidence to estimate what proportion of children may be
experiencing handwriting difficulties in Britain, the research does suggest a strong gender
effect. Boys are more likely to be identified as having handwriting problems than girls
(Hamstra-Bletz & Blote, 1993; Rubin & Henderson, 1982) and research in the 1980s and 90s
confirmed that girls are generally better handwriters than boys (Graham & Miller, 1980) both
on measures of overall quality and of letter formation (Hamstra-Bletz & Blote, 1990; Ziviani
& Elkins, 1984). Girls also tend to write faster than boys (Berninger & Fuller, 1992;
9
Biemiller et al, 1993; Ziviani, 1984). This is an important detail if handwriting does have an
impact on children’s ability to compose. If boys are less likely to obtain the necessary
automaticity in handwriting at the expected age, it may be that this interferes with their ability
to compose.
At present, there is considerable concern in Britain about boys’ underachievement in writing
(UKLA/PNS, 2004). In the annual Standard Assessment Tests and Tasks, boys consistently
do worse than girls at writing (Bearne & Warrington, 2003) but the data that is collected
cannot reveal how handwriting is implicated in this. The issue of boys’ handwriting has not
been a focus of the projects aimed at addressing underperformance in writing by boys. A
recent project in this area (UKLA/PNS, 2004) did not mention handwriting at all, despite the
fact that the aspects of writing most often cited by the boys in the study as a reason for
disliking writing were technical – including handwriting and spelling.
For children who are slow to develop handwriting automaticity (as opposed to neatness),
handwriting is slower and demands more effort. This creates what Stanovich (1986) has
called, in reading, the “Matthew effect” whereby those who are more able, (given the above
evidence in handwriting - usually girls) achieve more successful practice and, in the case of
orthographic-motor integration, have more attention available for composing processes. In
turn, the less able handwriters have less opportunity to engage with higher order composing
processes and to make progress in writing.
The importance of interventions
If a lack of orthographic-motor integration can have such serious consequences for the
development of composing skills, it is important to know whether intervention can prevent
10
these difficulties. There have been some studies of orthographic-motor integration to try to
ascertain the effects of focused handwriting practice. Two studies undertaken in Australia
(Jones & Christensen 1999; Christensen, 2005) used a relatively simple alphabet writing task
designed by Berninger et al (1991) to measure orthographic-motor integration and to identify
children with automaticity problems. One study measured the orthographic-motor integration,
reading and written expression of 114 children in Year 2 (aged 7) before and after an eight
week long handwriting programme. The children undertaking the programme showed
significant improvement in their handwriting and, crucially, in their composing skills. More
than half the variance in scores on written expression was accounted for by orthographic-
motor integration, even when reading scores were controlled. Christensen also reports a study
of 50 older children (year 8 and 9 in secondary school) whose orthographic-motor integration
and written expression were measured before and after an intensive handwriting programme.
A matched control group did journal writing for a similar period. Although both the journal
and handwriting groups were equivalent at pre-test, the scores for the handwriting group after
eight weeks of intervention were significantly better on all post-test measures, for example,
70% higher in orthographic-motor integration and 46% higher in quality of written text than
the journal group. The handwriting group also wrote approximately twice as much text as the
journal writers. These are startling findings at a secondary level, where it might be expected
that children who have not achieved automaticity would already have experienced
demoralizing failure. These studies offer strong evidence that handwriting intervention can
make a difference to the handwriting and, more importantly, the composition of children with
poor automaticity. By improving their ability to produce letters automatically, these young
writers freed up their attention for other writing processes.
11
Conclusion
The research suggests that the role of handwriting in writing has been underestimated in
mainstream education. The concentration has been on the benefits to spelling of well formed,
joined handwriting, and the necessity for speed and automaticity has been neglected in our
handwriting pedagogy. Educators have prioritised composing processes in writing, in itself
not necessarily a bad thing. But in doing so we may have neglected a skill which makes a
strong contribution to the composing we so value. The research suggests that it is time to re-
consider.
Handwriting, and in particular the automaticity of letter production, appears to facilitate
higher order composing processes by freeing up working memory to deal with the complex
tasks of planning, organizing, revising and regulating the production of text. Research
suggests that automatic letter writing is the single best predictor of length and quality of
written composition in the primary years (Graham et al, 1997) in secondary school and even
in the post-compulsory education years (Connelly et al, 2006; Jones, 2004; Peverley, 2006).
Enshrined in our pedagogic theory, practice and policy is the assumption that handwriting
becomes automatic relatively early on in writers’ development. This assumption
unfortunately remains untested, as national testing does not assess handwriting speed or
fluency and addresses only writing style and neatness. We may be assessing the wrong
aspects of handwriting and failing to assess an aspect which is crucial.
We know that a significant number of children experience handwriting difficulties throughout
their schooling, although for most these are probably not judged as sufficiently serious to
justify remedial action. More of these children are boys than girls and their handwriting
12
difficulties are likely to impact upon their ability to compose written language. There is
evidence that intervention to teach handwriting can improve not only the handwriting of these
children, but also their written composition.
There are a number of ways forward. We need to examine in more detail whether the findings
about orthographic-motor intervention can be generalised to the British context, where the
extent of handwriting difficulty is unknown and children are taught a simpler, more efficient
script than those generally taught in America. One small study (Connelly and Hurst, 2001)
has suggested such generalisation is likely but a much larger sample and range of age groups
is necessary. We need to assess the extent and distribution of handwriting difficulties by
looking at levels of automaticity in primary and secondary school pupils. Establishing some
bench-marks for orthographic motor-integration through the school years would be the first
step towards looking for a simple screening instrument that could identify those children with
handwriting difficulties who might benefit from interventions to improve their automatic
production of letters. For such children, a short handwriting programme may be what they
need to improve their composing. A research programme to consider what intervention might
be most effective could then be undertaken. Such a programme has the potential to benefit
young writers, particularly boys, who struggle to compose throughout their primary and
secondary schooling.
Handwriting has not been an important aspect of literacy for teachers in the last decade, but it
has been the subject of important research. It is time for the research in this area to be made
more accessible to educators and for it to be considered in the planning of pedagogies for
struggling writers.
13
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... Past research has repeatedly demonstrated that DYS children struggle with all writing activities that are carried out every day in school, such as copying tasks [8,9], dictation tasks [10] and text composition [11]. Beyond school, writing difficulties can negatively impact children's development in all aspects as poor writing abilities can have far-reaching consequences for children's self-esteem and academic achievement [12,13]. Despite the importance of mastering writing and the severity and persistence of DYS-related writing impairment, current research on dyslexia focuses substantially more on reading difficulties than on writing difficulties. ...
... In the same line, adding an evaluation of the emotional variables in relation to writing would have been interesting. Indeed, our results highlighted altered RSFC with the limbic system, which suggested the importance of emotional factors during writing development [13]. Knowing that significant influences exist between motivational factors and writing performances [83,84], we can postulate that a vicious cycle exists between writing abilities and emotional factors. ...
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Aim: Handwriting abilities in children with dyslexia (DYS) are not well documented in the current literature, and the presence of graphomotor impairment in addition to spelling impairment in dyslexia is controversial. Using resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC), the present study aims to answer the following question: are there markers of graphomotor impairment at rest in DYS children? Method: The participants were children with DYS and typically developing (TD) children (n = 32) from French-speaking primary schools (Mage = 9.3 years). The behavioural evaluation consisted of spelling and handwriting measures. Participants underwent a resting-state fMRI scan. Results: Analyses of RSFC focused on a brain region responsible for graphomotor processes-the graphemic/motor frontal area (GMFA). The RSFC between the GMFA and all other voxels of the brain was measured. Whole-brain ANOVAs were run to compare RSFC in DYS and TD children. The results demonstrated reduced RSFC in DYS compared to TD between the GMFA and brain areas involved in both spelling processes and motor-related processes. Conclusions: For the first time, this study highlighted a disruption of the writing network in DYS. By identifying functional markers of both spelling and handwriting deficits at rest in young DYS participants, this study supports the presence of graphomotor impairment in dyslexia.
... In contrast, there is a lack of objective and sensitive measures of legibility (Barnett et al., 2018), which presumably explains why it has been overlooked compared to speed. However, it is essential to take an interest in legibility since poor handwriting can have far-reaching consequences for children's self-esteem and academic achievement (Feder and Majnemer, 2007;Medwell and Wray, 2007). The few studies focusing on legibility used criteria that are commonly related to letter formation and to spatial organization within and between words (e.g., unusual letter shapes, size fluctuation, bad letter alignment, abnormal space between letters; Graham et al., 2006;Caravolas et al., 2020). ...
... Throughout their experience, children progressively automate their handwriting movements, which lightens cognitive constraints and frees up resources for other processes (Graham et al., 1998;Chartrel and Vinter, 2004;Overvelde and Hulstijn, 2011). The positive key role played by handwriting automatisation has been demonstrated for various processes of writing either at the text level on composition quality (Medwell and Wray, 2007;Alves and Limpo, 2015) or at the word level on spelling accuracy (Abbott et al., 2010;Pontart et al., 2013). However, there is no consensus about the age at which this automatisation of handwriting occurs, with data suggesting it would already occur at the end of Grade 1 (Overvelde and Hulstijn, 2011) or after Grade 7 (Alves and Limpo, 2015). ...
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Aim: Longitudinal studies are rare in the field of writing research, and little is known about the concurrent development of the two transcription skills: spelling and handwriting. This study was designed to provide a comprehensive picture of the development and the longitudinal relations between spelling, handwriting speed, and handwriting quality at the word level. Method: Over a period of 3 years (coh1: Grades 2–4; coh2: Grades 3–5), 117 French-speaking children were assessed on a single-word dictation task. At each testing time, measures of spelling accuracy, handwriting speed, and handwriting quality were collected on 40 words. Words varied in both orthographic and graphic complexity, making it possible to investigate the influence of these levels of complexity on transcription abilities. Results: Linear growth analyses using cross-classified Bayesian structural equation modeling (CC-BSEM) revealed that spelling and speed continued to improve until Grade 5, while handwriting quality reached an early plateau in Grade 2. In the younger cohort, graphic complexity had a significant influence on the pace of development of handwriting speed and on spelling and handwriting quality performance in Grade 2. In the older cohort, a positive relation between spelling and speed and a negative relation between handwriting speed and handwriting quality were found, indicating that fast handwriting is associated with high spelling ability and that fast handwriting is detrimental to handwriting quality. By providing a better understanding of writing development, this study yields innovative findings not only regarding the development of transcription skills but also regarding how spelling, handwriting speed, and handwriting quality can influence each other's performance throughout primary school.
... Handwriting difficulties could be considered one of the important factors in learning problems that affect children in academic and school-related tasks (Milone 2007). In the relevant literature, the reported prevalence of children having handwriting difficulties across the world ranges between 5-35% (Brossard-Racine et al. 2012;Duiser et al. 2020;Feder & Mejnemer 2007;Medwell & Wray 2007;Overvelde & Hulstijn 2011;Volman, Van Schendel & Jongmans 2006). The effect of handwriting difficulties was reported to be associated with poor academic performance (Barnett et al. 2009;Feder & Mejnemer 2007;Rosenblum 2019), low self-esteem (Biotteau et al. 2019;Rosenblum 2019), low motivation (Brossard-Racine et al. 2008;Waelvelde et al. 2012;Whalen, Henker & Finck 1981), reduced life skills (Resta & Eliot 1994) and behavioural problems (Sandler et al. 1992;Waelvelde et al. 2017). ...
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Handwriting difficulty is one of the main issues among school children, especially for those with motor coordination issues. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions in handwriting components for children with motor coordination issues. Current research articles were systematically searched according to the PRISMA guidelines. Two hundred and sixty-eight (n=268) research articles were identified; however, only ten (n=10) were eligible to be evaluated for this study. Studies were appraised by using McMaster Critical Review Form-Quantitative Studies. Descriptive synthesis was executed due to the heterogeneity of included studies. The review found various types of intervention conducted by occupational therapists to have a positive effect on handwriting performance components among children with motor coordination issues. Types of intervention used were visual, motor, perceptual, sensory, activity of daily living skills, training device and assistive technology and specific handwriting programs. Most handwriting intervention showed effectiveness to improve handwriting performance in motor function, visual and perceptual components. Future research should focus on homogeneity of Occupational Therapy (OT) intervention to improve handwriting performance by using specific handwriting programmes and similar standardised evaluation instruments. Practitioners of OT intervention should consider collaboration with teachers, parents and other health professionals to expedite effectiveness of intervention in handwriting performance components.
... However, achieving fast and legible handwriting is a major concern during primary school, as most learning activities and evaluations are performed through writing. Research has shown the importance of handwriting for children's development, as difficulties in handwriting can have far-reaching consequences on children's self-esteem and academic achievement (Feder & Majnemer, 2007;Medwell & Wray, 2007). Handwriting is predominantly a motor skill (Caravolas et al., 2020) involving a wide range of psychomotor-related processes, such as motor planning, coordination and execution (Van Galen, 1991). ...
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Aim Children with dyslexia (DYS) have a deficit in spelling (i.e., central processes of writing), and past experiments have suggested that they also frequently experience difficulties in handwriting (i.e., motor peripheral processes of writing) compared with typically developing children (TD). However, the presence of handwriting difficulties in dyslexia is controversial. This experiment aimed to better understand the writing difficulties in DYS children, investigating both the central and peripheral processes of writing and combining cognitive and neuroimaging data. Method Participants were 14 DYS and 14 TD (Mage = 9.5) children. They were assessed on behavioural measures (i.e., spelling, handwriting and manual dexterity). Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were collected. The fMRI task was a word-dictation task performed using pencil and paper and a head coil mirror providing visual feedback. Results Behavioural results revealed a clear spelling deficit and poorer handwriting in DYS than in TD. DYS and TD performed equally in handwriting speed and gross manual dexterity. fMRI data were analysed with an ROI approach using nine central ROIs and 10 peripheral ROIs, which constitute the writing network identified in past literature. fMRI results revealed less brain activation in both central and peripheral ROIs in DYS. The main peripheral differences were located in right lobule VI of the cerebellum. Structural data strengthened the presence of bilateral cerebellar abnormalities in dyslexia. Conclusion The present findings constitute a first piece of evidence that children with dyslexia's writing difficulties are not limited to the central processes of writing (i.e., spelling) and that they extend to the peripheral processes of writing (i.e., handwriting). This experiment is the first study to use an fMRI handwriting task to investigate DYS's writing abilities. These results encourage researchers to continue investigating DYS's spelling and handwriting difficulties with a neuroimaging approach. Future experiments are needed to determine whether the functional and structural anomalies observed are consequences of deviant literacy development or whether they could have a causal role in dyslexia.
... Verbal communication occurs in the forms of listening, speaking, reading and writing. It is considered to be the most successful mean of social influence as it can most completely express thoughts, the most diverse and complex contents and present the most complete and precise ideas and knowledge [4]. ...
Article
Introduction. Writing is the most complex human ability and the most direct form of communication. Auditory discrimination is the ability to distinguish different sounds of language. After the age of seven, difficulties in auditory discrimination, even of similar sounds, are considered a pathological phenomenon. The aim of the research was to determine whether difficulties in auditory discrimination of phonemes are related to the manifestation of dysgraphia in children of younger school age. Methods. The research was conducted at the Elementary School "Vuk Karadzić" in Priboj, during 2020, with the previous consent of the school principal, as well as the students' parents. The research sample included fifty children of the third and fourth grade, aged 9 and 10. For the purpose of this research, two tests were used: the Phonemic Discrimination Test (Kostić, Vladisavljević, Popović, 1983) and the Dysgraphic Handwriting Assessment Test (Ajuriaguerra, Auzias. 1971). Results. There was no significant difference in achievement in the Phonemic Discrimination Test between boys and girls. Half of the tested students achieved the maximum score in the Phonemic Discrimination Test and they were fairly equal in their achievement in the Phonemic Discrimination Test. Girls generally had harmoniously developed handwriting, while more than half of the boys in the categories had inconsistent handwriting or dysgraphic handwriting when it came to the forms of dictation, free topic and transcription. No statistically significant correlations were found between the results in the Phonemic Discrimination Test and the Dysgraphic Handwriting Assessment Test, p > 0.05. Conclusion. Based on the assessment of writing ability and auditory discrimination in young school children, no statistically significant association was found between auditory discrimination of sounds and manifestations of dysgraphic handwriting in all three forms of written expression (dictation, free topic, transcription).
... Πιο συγκεκριμένα, όπως έχει ήδη προταθεί στη σχετική βιβλιογραφία (βλ. Berninger et al., 1998. Graham et al., 2002. McCutchen, 2006. Medwell & Wray, 2007, η συστηματική εξάσκηση στις διαδικασίες μεταγραφής (ευχέρεια στη γραφή, ορθογραφημένη γραφή, χρήση σημείων στίξης) θα μπορούσε να οδηγήσει στην αυτοματοποίησή τους, κάτι που θα μπορούσε να διευκολύνει την απελευθέρωση γνωστικών πόρων προς όφελος των υψηλότερου επιπέδου διαδικασιών (π.χ. κειμενική οργάνωση). Επίσης, ένα σύνολο ερευνητικ ...
Article
Full-text available
The difficulties in writing among children with dyslexia are equally severe as and certainly more persistent than those they face in reading. In the present study, we compared the performance of 22 elementary school children (3rd and 5th graders) with dyslexia and 22 typically developing children, matched on gender, age, and non-verbal intelligence, on a picture-elicited narrative task. Participants’ written samples were evaluated in terms of productivity, complexity at the sentence and text levels, punctuation and capitalization, spelling accuracy, and text organization (cohesion and coherence). Groups differed chiefly in terms of spelling accuracy and cohesion, as nondyslexic participants performed better. Qualitative analyses of the narratives produced allowed us to compare further and gain insight into the children’s spelling and text organization abilities in each group. Coherence appeared to be the domain in which children with and without dyslexia demonstrate the greatest similarities. More specifically, all of them face difficulties in controlling the macrostructure of their narratives, namely how the contents of the pictures may be interrelated, an ability that is necessary for the construction of textual meaning. Results are discussed in relation to the limited so far research findings regarding written language production, especially concerning children with dyslexia. Also, directions of future research are indicated, along with implications for educational practice. Οι δυσκολίες που αντιμετωπίζουν τα παιδιά με δυσλεξία στην παραγωγή γραπτού λόγου είναι εξίσου σοβαρές και σίγουρα πιο επίμονες από αυτές που αντιμετωπίζουν στην ανάγνωση. Στην παρούσα έρευνα συγκρίνονται οι επιδόσεις 22 ελληνόφωνων παιδιών σχολικής ηλικίας (Γ΄ τάξης και Ε΄ τάξης του δημοτικού σχολείου) με δυσλεξία και ισάριθμων παιδιών τυπικής ανάπτυξης, εξισωμένων ως προς το φύλο, την ηλικία και τη μη λεκτική νοημοσύνη, σε ένα έργο παραγωγής αφηγηματικού λόγου με βάση εικόνες. Τα γραπτά τους κείμενα αξιολογήθηκαν ως προς ένα σύνολο παραμέτρων: παραγωγικότητα, πολυπλοκότητα σε επίπεδο πρότασης και κειμένου, χρήση των σημείων στίξης και πεζών-κεφαλαίων, ορθογραφική ακρίβεια και κειμενική οργάνωση (συνοχή και συνεκτικότητα). Οι δύο ομάδες διαφοροποιήθηκαν κυρίως ως προς την ορθογραφική ακρίβεια και τη συνοχή, με τα παιδιά χωρίς δυσλεξία να υπερέχουν. Ποιοτική ανάλυση των κειμένων μάς επέτρεψε να συγκρίνουμε περαιτέρω και να εμβαθύνουμε στις ορθογραφικές στρατηγικές και τις στρατηγικές κειμενικής οργάνωσης που υιοθέτησαν τα παιδιά της κάθε ομάδας. Ο τομέας της συνεκτικότητας του κειμένου φάνηκε να είναι αυτός στον οποίο τα παιδιά με και χωρίς δυσλεξία παρουσιάζουν τις μεγαλύτερες ομοιότητες. Πιο συγκεκριμένα, όλα τα παιδιά δυσκολεύονται στον έλεγχο της μακροδομής του κειμένου, δηλαδή στη σύνδεση του περιεχομένου των εικόνων ώστε να οικοδομηθεί το νόημα της συνολικής αφήγησης. Τα αποτελέσματα της μελέτης συζητώνται σε σχέση με τα περιορισμένα ακόμα ερευνητικά ευρήματα για την παραγωγή γραπτού λόγου, ιδιαίτερα μάλιστα σε παιδιά με δυσλεξία. Διατυπώνονται, τέλος, προτάσεις για μελλοντική έρευνα και πιθανές εφαρμογές στον χώρο της εκπαίδευσης.
... Πιο συγκεκριμένα, όπως έχει ήδη προταθεί στη σχετική βιβλιογραφία (βλ. Berninger et al., 1998. Graham et al., 2002. McCutchen, 2006. Medwell & Wray, 2007, η συστηματική εξάσκηση στις διαδικασίες μεταγραφής (ευχέρεια στη γραφή, ορθογραφημένη γραφή, χρήση σημείων στίξης) θα μπορούσε να οδηγήσει στην αυτοματοποίησή τους, κάτι που θα μπορούσε να διευκολύνει την απελευθέρωση γνωστικών πόρων προς όφελος των υψηλότερου επιπέδου διαδικασιών (π.χ. κειμενική οργάνωση). Επίσης, ένα σύνολο ερευνητικ ...
Article
Full-text available
The difficulties in writing among children with dyslexia are equally severe as and certainly more persistent than those they face in reading. In the present study, we compared the performance of 22 elementary school children (3rd and 5th graders) with dyslexia and 22 typically developing children, matched on gender, age, and non-verbal intelligence, on a picture-elicited narrative task. Participants’ written samples were evaluated in terms of productivity, complexity at the sentence and text levels, punctuation and capitalization, spelling accuracy, and text organization (cohesion and coherence). Groups differed chiefly in terms of spelling accuracy and cohesion, as non-dyslexic participants performed better. Qualitative analyses of the narratives produced allowed us to compare further and gain insight into the children’s spelling and text organization abilities in each group. Coherence appeared to be the domain in which children with and without dyslexia demonstrate the greatest similarities. More specifically, all of them face difficulties in controlling the macrostructure of their narratives, namely how the contents of the pictures may be interrelated, an ability that is necessary for the construction of textual meaning. Results are discussed in relation to the limited so far research findings regarding written language production, especially concerning children with dyslexia. Also, directions of future research are indicated, along with implications for educational practice.
Article
Objetivo: comparar a velocidade e a legibilidade da escrita manual de escolares disléxicos e com bom desempenho acadêmico em duas tarefas de cópia. Métodos: Participaram 64 sujeitos, sendo 7 disléxicos provenientes de um centro especializado em reabilitação, com idade entre 9 anos e 13 anos e 1 mês (GI), e 57 sujeitos com bom desempenho acadêmico (GII), pareados com GI. Como procedimento, foram utilizadas duas tarefas de cópia do Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH), denominadas de Melhor Cópia e Cópia Rápida de uma frase. Ambas as tarefas consistem em escrever uma frase com a melhor caligrafia durante dois minutos. Foram consideradas a quantidade de palavras escritas, quantidade de palavras legíveis escritas e quantidade de palavras ilegíveis escritas. Resultados: Os resultados revelaram que os disléxicos apresentaram desempenho inferior aos escolares com bom desempenho acadêmico nas duas tarefas solicitadas. Na Tarefa 1 apresentaram uma quantidade inferior de palavras legíveis/minuto (GI – 7,79; GII – 12,72) e quantidade superior de palavras ilegíveis/minuto (GI – 1,64; GII – 0,04). Já na Tarefa 3, GI apresentou 7,64 PLPM e 4,29 PIPM, enquanto GII apresentou 16,39 PLPM e 0,07 PIPM. É possível acrescentar que os disléxicos perderam a qualidade da escrita, apresentando índices maiores de PIPM na Tarefa 3, quando comparados na Tarefa 1. Conclusão: Por meio deste estudo foi possível confirmar a hipótese de que o desempenho em velocidade e legibilidade da escrita de disléxicos é inferior ao dos escolares com bom desempenho acadêmico.
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Received: 04 Jul 2020 Accepted: 16 Jul 2020 Published: 31 Jul 2020 ABSTRACT The present study was carried out to assist the students of Junior Primary Section of an International Indian School in Saudi Arabia to improve upon their handwriting. Thirty- Seven students with poor handwriting were selected for the study. Interviews and their responses were analysed. Observation and evaluation of note books were also conducted to collect the information about the students’ handwriting. Interventions which were put in place were,firstly, monthly activities in teaching handwriting were put in place andsupervised by the researcher. The work was checked and those who improved a little were given the needed practice. Moreover, it was recommended that, in teaching handwriting, teachers should employ different approaches, techniques and use varied models in teaching and learning of handwriting especially at the primary level. KEYWORDS: Writing, Handwriting, Evaluation, Intervention, Primary
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The present study is an intervention conducted among two children aged 8 and 10, with writing difficulties (spelling and handwriting). The treatment, composed of seven lessons, was exclusively targeted at handwriting. Its effects were measured at posttest. The results revealed a positive impact of the treatment on the handwriting outcomes (speed and quality), as well as a positive transfer effect on spelling performance. Key words : graphic gesture, handwriting, spelling, dyslexia, intervention study La présente étude consiste en une intervention auprès de deux enfants de 8 et 10 ans en difficultés en écriture (orthographe et geste graphique). Le traitement, composé de sept séances, était centré exclusivement sur le versant graphomoteur de l’écriture. Les effets de cette intervention ont été évalués au post-test. Nos résultats démontrent un effet positif de l’intervention sur le versant graphique de l’écriture (vitesse et qualité), ainsi qu’un transfert positif sur les performances en orthographe. Mots-clés : geste graphique, écriture, orthographe, dyslexie, étude d’intervention El presente estudio consiste en una intervención con dos niños de 8 y 10 años con dificultades con la escritura (ortografía y gesto gráfico). El tratamiento, consistente en siete sesiones, se centró exclusivamente en la grafomotricidad en la escritura. Los efectos de esta intervención fueron evaluados con un test posterior. Nuestros resultados mostraron un efecto positivo de la intervención en la grafomotricidad en la escritura (rapidez y calidad), así como una trasferencia positiva en las actuaciones ortográficas. Palabras clave: gesto gráfico, escritura, ortografía, dislexia, estudio de intervención
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This chapter examines the penholds of pupils of 7–15 years. It showed that a systematic description of penholds was workable and revealed several significant findings. There are two main differences among the penholds used by school children. The first difference is that in over 60% of children, the distal interphalangeal joint of the index finger was hyperextended, thereby suggesting that the majority of children hold their pens too tightly. The other was the surprising number of children (65%) who write with their thumbs closest to the pen tip (writing manuals usually suggest that the index finger should lead). There are two points of the evolution of grip with age: index finger less often on the side and middle finger less often on the top/touching side. One implication of the relative lack of effect of penhold, at least on writing speed, is that a child writing with an unconventional penhold would not necessarily do better to adopt a more conventional grip.
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This paper reports a test among Australian schoolchildren of earlier international findings on handwriting speed and legibility. No significant differences in speed were found on the basis of laterality, however, girls wrote faster than boys. Speed clearly increased with age. As independent skills, the abilities to write quickly and legibly were positively correlated.
Article
This study was designed to compare, on a qualitative and quantitative level, oral and written production in two genres. Children in Grades 3 and 5 were given a short introduction to a narrative and an opinion essay and asked to continue the discourse either in writing or by speaking into a tape recorder. The discourse protocols were then compared with respect to the semantic well‐formedness, cohesion and structure of the discourse, and the number of words produced.The data indicate that children's discourse production is organized according to a schema which is discourse specific, but modality general. Thus, clear differences were obtained between the narratives and the opinion essays on measures of semantic well formedness and structural quality. However, these differences did not occur in a comparison of the oral with the written productions: children's written productions were essentially identical to the oral productions in terms of semantic structure. Thus, children's difficulties with writing can be traced not to the process itself, but to the nature of the discourse that the children are being required to produce.