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Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated the superiority of a Simultaneous Oral Spelling method for young children beginning to learn to spell words. In this technique, children learn words by repeating a word spoken and written for them, writing the word while pronouncing the name of each letter, and then repeating the whole word again. In two experiments, we manipulated the motoric element of this training and obtained results indicating that having first-grade children write words leads to better spelling performance than having the children type them on a computer or manipulate letter tiles to spell them. The superiority of handwriting was maintained even under conditions where post-training spelling assessment was done on the computer and with tiles. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Journal of Educational Psychology
1990,
Vol. 82, No. 1, 159-162Copyright 1990 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
0022-O663/90/$00.75
Early Spelling Acquisition: Writing Beats the Computer
Anne E. Cunningham
University of California, BerkeleyKeith E. Stanoyich
Oakland University
Previous research has demonstrated the superiority of a Simultaneous Oral Spelling method for
young children beginning to learn to spell words. In this technique, children learn words by
repeating a word spoken and written for them, writing the word while pronouncing the name of
each letter, and then repeating the whole word again. In two experiments, we manipulated the
motoric element of this training and obtained results indicating that having first-grade children
write words leads to better spelling performance than having the children type them on a
computer or manipulate letter
tiles
to spell them. The superiority of handwriting
was
maintained
even under conditions where the post-training spelling assessment was done on the computer
and with tiles.
In a series of studies, Hulme and Bradley (Bradley, 1981;
Hulme & Bradley, 1984; see also Prior, Frye, & Fletcher,
1987) demonstrated the superiority of the Simultaneous Oral
Spelling method, in which children learn to spell a word by
pronouncing a word written and spoken for them, pronounc-
ing the name of each letter while writing the word, and then
repeating the whole word again (see Bradley, 1980, 1981).
In a test of the efficacy of the components of the Simulta-
neous Oral Spelling method, Hulme and Bradley (1984) found
that for a normally achieving group of young children, the
motoric element of the method seemed to be the important
factor (children performed better when writing the words than
when using letters on cards to spell them); whereas for an
older group of reading-disabled children, the combination of
writing and letter naming seemed to be critical.
Hulme
(1981;
Hulme, Monk & Ives, 1987) has carried out
an extensive series of studies demonstrating that the motoric
activity involved in tracing or writing various stimuli can
facilitate young children's memory performance (see also
Endo,
1988). These results are congruent with the work on
word learning and led Hulme et al. (1987) to tentatively
conclude that "It is, perhaps, not unreasonable to speculate
that the motor activity involved in learning to write may be
beneficial to the development of basic reading
skills"
(p.
306).
The advent of the enormous interest in the educational
uses of computers (Webb & Shavelson, 1985) has heightened
the importance of evaluating Hulme's conjecture. As younger
children spend more time on the burgeoning number of
computer-based classroom activities, a shift in the distribution
of motoric activities associated with early word learning may
be occurring (Cunningham & Paris, 1985). For example,
keyboard activity is often recommended as a substitute for
early handwriting because the former is deemed less frustrat-
ing.
We would like to thank Barbara Villre and Ruth Baldwin and the
children of Camino Real Elementary School, Moraga, California. We
gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Laurie McGarry, Susan
Hiscox, and Brian Rich in data collection.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Anne E. Cunningham, Graduate School of Education, University of
California, Berkeley, California 94720.
This ongoing shift in the ecology of classroom activities
during early schooling makes it all the more important for
researchers to examine whether there are any differential
cognitive consequences associated with the motoric activities
involved in writing and keyboard typing. In the experiments
to be reported, we compared spelling performance of early
readers when they were writing and when they were using
letter tiles to spell words (a comparison similar to that used
in the studies by Hulme and Bradley, 1984); furthermore, we
investigated a condition where children spelled words by
typing them on a computer keyboard (a new motor condition
not investigated in previous research). In Experiment 1, the
efficacy of simultaneously saying the names of the letters, as
specified in the Simultaneous Oral Spelling technique (Brad-
ley, 1980, 1981), was also investigated.
Experiment 1
Method
Subjects. Twenty-four first grade children (10 boys and 14 girls)
were recruited from a predominantly middle-class elementary school.
The mean age of the children in December was 6 years, 10 months,
and the ages ranged from 6 years, 3 months to 7 years, 6 months (SD
= 4.4 months). All testing took place in late November and early
December.
Procedure
and
design.
The children received training under six
experimental conditions defined by a 3 x 2 factorial design that
involved three
types
of motor activity (typing on the computer, sorting
letter tiles, or writing) and the presence or absence of letter naming.
The variables were manipulated within subjects, as in Hulme and
Bradley (1984).
The children were trained individually in sessions that lasted
approximately 30 min each day. In all of the conditions, the children
were shown a word on a 3 x 5-in. card as the experimenter named
the word, and asked the children to repeat the name. After a child
had repeated the training word out loud at the experimenter's request,
he or she was instructed to reproduce the word via one of the three
motoric conditions. Once the child had formed the word correctly,
the child was asked to repeat the name of the word out loud.
Before training began, the children were told that they were going
to be shown a series of words and would be spelling the words in
three different ways: Some of the words would be spelled using the
letter
tiles,
some would be spelled by writing with a pencil on paper,
and some would be spelled on the computer. In the tile condition, a
159
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160ANNE E. CUNNINGHAM AND KEITH E. STANOVICH
pile of plastic letter
tiles
with two sets of the complete alphabet (lower
case) were scattered in front of the child. After the child had repeated
the training word at the experimenter's request, the child was in-
structed to reproduce the word using the letter tiles. If the child had
difficulty locating the correct tile after 30 s, the experimenter pointed
in the direction of the correct tile. The experimenter scrambled the
letter tiles after each spelling. The experimenter helped the child if
the child had difficulty naming the letters or the word. In the
handwriting condition, the child was asked to copy the word by
writing it on a piece of paper. In the computer condition, the word
was placed above the keyboard of an Apple lie microcomputer. The
child was asked to reproduce the word on the computer by finding
the appropriate letters on the keyboard and typing each letter. If the
child had difficulty locating the correct key after 30 s, the experimen-
ter pointed in the direction of the letter on the keyboard.
The second factor entailed the children's saying the individual
letter names out loud as they spelled each word or not naming the
individual letter names. In the no-naming condition, the children
were instructed to hum as they spelled each word.
If the child made a mistake in producing the word, the experimen-
ter showed the child the location of the error and then reproduced
the word for the child, demonstrating how it matched the stimulus.
Similarly, if the child could not remember the word when it was to
be repeated, the experimenter named it again. This procedure was
followed for all of the conditions. In general, a trial in the tile
condition took somewhat longer than a trial in the computer condi-
tion, which in turn took somewhat longer than a trial in the writing
condition. Although the children spent more time forming the word
in the tile and computer conditions, it is possible that they spent
more time in the writing condition actually processing the correct
letters. However, at least in the case of the computer condition, the
presence of abstractor letters is a real and ecologically valid part of
the keyboard stimulus array that a child must use.
The stimuli consisted of the 30 words
(real,
came, type,
calf,
eat,
ache,
small, buy,
walk,
soup, our,
check,
shelf,
earth, man, sign, toe,
help,
cute,
house,
tribe,
sugar,
won,
fence,
tell,
half,
tear,
suit,
car,
and
sew).
The children received training over the course of 4 consecutive
days.
The 30 words were randomly split into two groups of
15
words.
One group of 15 words was presented to the children in a fixed
random order on Monday and Wednesday, and the second group of
15 words was presented on Tuesday and Thursday. On each day, 5
of the 15 words were presented in each of the three motor activity
conditions (tiles, computer, and handwriting). Each word was coun-
terbalanced across motor condition and naming. The order of the
motor activity conditions was the same on each day for a particular
subject and was counterbalanced across subjects. The order of the
levels of the naming factor was counterbalanced across the Monday/
Wednesday versus Tuesday/Thursday sessions.
On the fifth day of the week (Friday), the children were tested
individually on their ability to spell the 30 words in sessions that
lasted approximately 20 min. The child was given a piece of paper
numbered from 1 to 30. The experimenter told the child that he or
she
would
be
spelling a
series
of words. The
words were
then presented
in a different fixed random order from the training conditions. The
experimenter said the name of each word out loud, used the word in
a sentence, and asked the child to spell the word to the best of
his
or
her ability. The child wrote the words on a sheet of
paper.
The child
was
given as much time as he or she needed to spell each word. If the
child requested it, the word was repeated by the experimenter. The
child did not receive feedback regarding his or her performance.
Results and
Discussion
The mean number of correctly spelled words for the tile
condition was 1.50 (SD = 1.77) when children named the
letters and 1.29 (SD = 1.55) when children did not name the
letters. The mean number correct for the computer condition
was 1.75 (SD = 1.85) when children named the letters and
1.38 (SD - 1.44) when children did not name the letters. The
mean number correct for the handwriting condition was 3.13
(SD = 1.70) when children named the letters and 3.00 (SD =
1.25) when children did not name the letters. The maximum
score for each cell was five.
A 3 (tile, computer, handwriting) x 2 (letter naming
vs.
no
letter naming) analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that the
effect of motor activity was statistically significant, F(2,46) =
21.77,
p <
.001,
MSC = 1.86, whereas the effect of the letter-
naming factor was not significant. The Motor Activity x
Letter Naming interaction did not approach significance. A
posteriori tests on the effect of motor activity collapsed across
the letter naming factor were conducted with the use of
Tukey's HSD procedure. These analyses indicated that the
writing condition resulted in performance significantly supe-
rior to that in both the tile and the computer condition (p <
.05);
the performances in those conditions did not differ
significantly from each other.
The results of Experiment 1 confirmed Hulme and Brad-
ley's (1984) finding that training involving writing results in
better spelling performance than that attained when training
was carried out with tiles and did not involve handwriting. In
our study, naming did not enhance this effect as it did for the
severely disabled readers studied by Hulme and Bradley. Our
results are similar to those Hulme and Bradley obtained with
the subject population that was most similar to ours—non-
disabled 6-year-olds. In their study and in ours, naming the
letters did not enhance the facilitative effects of writing for
this group.
Our study, however, revealed a further critical outcome
that goes beyond the findings of Hulme and Bradley (1984).
Training conducted on the computer was no better than that
conducted with tiles and was significantly inferior to training
involving handwriting. This finding, if replicable, may have
important implications for theories of early spelling develop-
ment, and it may also have some indirect educational impli-
cations. For example, precise knowledge of the cognitive
consequences of different types of training may lead to a
better understanding of the trade-offs involved in various
distributions of
early
learning activities.
Experiment 2
Before strong conclusions can be drawn from the pattern
of results obtained in Experiment 1, the generality and ro-
bustness of the findings must be assessed. Specifically, the
issue of the match between training and test conditions is
raised by the design of Experiment 1. Because the spelling
performance was assessed by having the children write the
spelling, it could well be that the superior performance in the
writing condition was not due to the effects of training with
handwriting per se, but was merely the result of the closer
match between training and test situations.
Experiment
2 tests this
alternative explanation of the results
by training children under the same three conditions of Ex-
periment 1 but tested their retention of the spellings on the
computer and with tiles. If the superiority of handwriting
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EARLY SPELLING ACQUISITION161
observed in Experiment 1 disappears or reverses when the
children are tested in situations more similar to the training
received in the other two conditions, then we would have to
conclude that nothing is inherently special about cognitive/
motor activity of writing. In contrast, if the superiority of
writing is maintained when the testing situation is more
similar to that in the other two training conditions, then this
would be impressive evidence that the cognitive consequences
of writing are uniquely facilitative of spelling acquisition.
Experiment
2
differed from Experiment
1
in two additional
ways.
The naming versus no naming factor was eliminated
because of the null results in the previous experiment, and
word reading as well as spelling was assessed.
Method
Subjects. Twenty-four first-grade students (12 boys and 12 girls)
were recruited from the same middle-class elementary school used in
the first study. The mean age of this group in March was 7 years, 3
months. The ages ranged from 6 years, 4 months to
8
years, 3 months
(SD = 4.9 months). All testing took place in February and March
of the school year. None of the children had participated in Experi-
ment 1.
Stimuli and procedure. In Experiment
2,
the same set of
30
words
was used. The training procedure was identical to that used in
Experiment
1.
Children received training for 4 days (Monday through
Thursday) and were tested on the fifth day (Friday). The 30 words
were presented in two groups of IS words, one group on Monday
and Wednesday, the second on Tuesday and Thursday. On each day,
5 of the 15 words were presented in each of the three motor activity
conditions (tiles, computer, and handwriting). Each word was coun-
terbalanced across motor condition. The order of the motor activity
conditions was the same on each day for a particular subject and was
counterbalanced across subjects.
On Monday, prior to the training, the children were assessed on
their ability to read the 30 words when they were presented on 3 x
5-in. cards. On Friday, following the 4 days of training, the children
were again assessed on their ability to read the 30 words. In both of
these testing periods, the children were shown a fixed random order-
ing of the words on 3 x 5-in. cards and were asked to name the
words. On Friday, the children's spelling performance was assessed
after they attempted to read the words. The children spelled half of
the words by sorting the letter tiles and spelled the other half of the
words by typing them on the computer. The order of the two types
of spelling assessment was counterbalanced across subjects.
The experimenter told each child that he or she would be spelling
a series of
words.
The words were then presented in a fixed random
order different from that of the training
conditions.
The experimenter
said each word out loud, used the word in a sentence, and asked the
child to spell the word to the best of
his
or her ability. The child was
given as much time as he or she needed to spell each word. At the
child's request, words were repeated by the experimenter. The chil-
dren did not receive feedback regarding their performance.
Results
The mean number of correctly spelled words in the tile
condition was 2.50 (SD = 1.93) when performance was as-
sessed via the computer and 2.38 (SD = 1.38) when perform-
ance was assessed via tile sorting. In the computer condition,
the mean number correct was 2.83 (SD = 1.69) when per-
formance was assessed via computer and 2.50 (SD = 2.21)
when performance was assessed via tile sorting. For the hand-
writing condition, the means were 3.29 (SD = 2.33) for
performance assessed on the computer and 3.29 (SD = 1.55)
for performance assessed via tile sorting.
A 3 x 2 ANOVA indicated that the effect of motor activity
was statistically significant, F(2, 46) = 8.48, p <
.001,
MSC =
1.11. Neither the effect of test condition nor the Test Condi-
tion x Motor Activity interaction was significant. A posteriori
tests on the effect of motor activity collapsed across test
conditions were conducted with the use of Tukey's HSD
procedure. These analyses indicated that the writing condition
resulted in performance significantly superior to that of both
the tile condition and the computer condition (p < .05);
performances for these conditions did not differ significantly
from each other.
The mean number of words read correctly on the pretest
and posttest were 4.04 (SD = 1.83) and 8.21 (SD =
1.84),
respectively, for the tile condition, 4.54 (SD = 2.55) and 8.58
(SD = 1.84) for the computer condition, and 4.45 (SD =
2.28) and 8.08 (SD = 2.21) for the handwriting condition.
An analysis of covariance was performed on the posttest
reading scores with pretest reading scores as a covariate. This
analysis indicated that the three motor activity conditions did
not differ significantly, F\2, 45) = 1.43, p < .10, MS, = 1.07.
Discussion
Experiment 2 replicated the important finding of Experi-
ment 1: that training using handwriting was superior to both
training with tiles and training using a computer. Thus,
regarding the importance of writing movements and manual
tracing, the wisdom of such master teachers as Montessori
(1915) and Fernald (1943) seems to have been confirmed.
The replication contained in Experiment 2 is particularly
impressive because handwriting maintained its superiority
under conditions that were strongly biased against it. Specifi-
cally, spelling was assessed by the other two methods (tiles
and computer) but not by having the children write. To put
it
another
way,
one half of the words in the
tile-
and computer-
training conditions were tested under conditions similar to
those under which they were taught, but no words in the
handwriting condition were tested in a manner similar to the
writing training. Nevertheless, as regards the children's reten-
tion of the spellings, handwriting maintained a significant
superiority over the other two conditions.
This superiority did not, however, extend to the children's
reading of the words, for which there were no significant
differences among the three training conditions. There are a
number of ways of interpreting this null result. First, it is
possible to view it in the context of the positive results
obtained for spelling and to conceptualize this pattern as
another of the dissociations between reading and spelling
among early readers that other investigators have proposed
(e.g., Bryant & Bradley, 1980). Although the existence and
interpretation of these dissociations has been disputed
(Gough, Juel, & Griffith, in press), it is possible to view our
results as another instance of a spelling/reading dissociation.
Specifically, an experimental manipulation appears to have
had differential effects on spelling and reading performance.
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162ANNE E. CUNNINGHAM AND KEITH E. STANOVICH
Alternatively, the results can be viewed simply in terms of
differential task discriminability. That is, spelling is usually
conceived of as a task that requires a more complete and
precise orthographic representation than that required by
reading (see Ehri, 1987; Stanovich, in press). Thus, it may be
that reading does not expose subtle differences in the quality
of the orthographic lexicon in the same way that spelling
does,
perhaps because the advantages of redundancy are greater in
the former task and thus the existence of precise orthographic
representations
is
less critical. Additionally, locating the effect
of the motoric activity in the quality of the orthographic
representations induced by the training is at least consistent
with Hulme et al.'s (1987) conclusion that the locus of the
effect of manual tracing in their paired-associate learning
experiments was in the stimulus recognition stage of process-
ing rather than the verbal response-retrieval stage.
Finally, it is important not to overinterpret our results.
Clearly, we do not intend to argue that early word-learning
tasks for children that are centered on computers and key-
board responses are bad. Perhaps the computer is a motiva-
tional tool that spurs children to practice more with words
and letters than they otherwise would. Any increase in the
amount of practice could well outweigh the more lasting
cognitive consequences of handwriting. Also, keyboard work
might help overcome any early motor difficulties that inhibit
handwriting practice, and this might have positive motiva-
tional effects.
Thus,
our experiment is a first step in examining this
complex educational problem. What has—and has not—been
established
is
determined
by
the methods
we
used.
The unique
strength of an experiment is its isolation of a variable for
study and removal of the confounding complexities of the
natural environment. Using such a method, we have shown
that—other things being equal—handwriting beats the com-
puter. However, much more work by researchers and dedi-
cated teachers will be necessary to determine if other things
are,
indeed, equal.
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Received January 12, 1989
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Accepted August 29, 1989
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
... The dominance of digital typing in place of handwriting in written communication is suggested to be the most important factor contributing to character amnesia (Almog, 2019;Du & Zhang, 2013;Lan, 2013;Pyle, 2016;Xu & Zhou, 2013). Indeed, children are worse at spelling (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990) and letter recognition (Longcamp et al., 2005) if they learn a word via typing it on a computer than via handwriting it on paper. Similarly, lowachieving students learn to handwrite Chinese characters less effectively by typing them than by handwriting them ; they also learn to handwrite Chinese characters less effectively through electronic materials than through traditional materials (Chou et al., 2014). ...
... In addition, these results are consistent with findings on learning to handwrite Chinese characters: lowachieving students benefit less from the pinyin keyboarding practice than from the handwriting practice, and benefit less from electronically assisted learning than from traditional learning (Chou et al., 2014). In addition, these inhibitory effects of digital exposure are also consistent with previous demonstrations that people are less efficient in learning via typing practice than via handwriting practice, both in children (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990;Longcamp et al., 2005) and in adults (Longcamp et al., 2006). ...
... Our results show that pen exposure positively impacts TOP and character amnesia: participants were less likely to have TOP and character amnesia if they had more pen exposure. These results, as mentioned above, are consistent with findings showing that handwriting training, compared to typing training, leads to greater improvement in learning letters (Longcamp et al., 2005), words (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990), and characters (Longcamp et al., 2006). Such results are also in agreement with previous observations that training involving visual-motor integration and hand-eye coordination leads to greater improvement in handwriting quality (Bara & Gentaz, 2011;Vinter & Chartrel, 2010) and to a better intervention effect for children with developmental language disorder (van Reybroeck & Michiels, 2018). ...
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In the past decades, Chinese speakers have suffered from difficulties in handwriting, which include tip-of-the-pen (TOP) states (knowing a character but failing to fully handwrite it) and character amnesia in general (a general inability to handwrite a character despite being able to recognize it). The current study presents a systematic empirical investigation of the effects of character-level lexical characteristics and handwriter-level individual differences on TOP, character amnesia and partial orthographic access in TOP states. Using a spelling-to-dictation task, we had 64 participants to handwrite 200 simplified Chinese characters. We showed that, at the lexical level, participants experienced more TOP and character amnesia in handwriting if a character was less frequent, was acquired later in life, was embedded in a less familiar word, or had more strokes; TOP but not character amnesia was additionally affected by phonetic radical order and spelling regularity. At the handwriter level, people also experienced more TOP and character amnesia if they had more digital exposure, less pen exposure, or less print exposure. In a TOP state, partial orthographic access was more likely if a character was acquired later in life, had fewer strokes, or had a left-right or top-down composition or if a handwriter had less digital exposure.
... However, notwithstanding consistent findings on the greater advantage of handwriting in letter recognition, investigations into the writing modality effect on lexical-orthography learning have yielded inconsistent findings. Some studies showed that handwriting led to greater performance in lexical recognition (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990), whereas others revealed no significant differences between handwriting and typing (Stainthorp, 1997;Vaughn, Schumm, & Gordon, 1992). ...
... C: Consistent findings were identified in Chinese-language studies. lexical orthography in the English-language studies (see Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990;Stainthorp, 1997;Vaughn et al., 1992), the Chinese-language literature yielded rather robust findings regarding handwriting's capacity to boost orthographic-semantic mapping ability (e.g., Guan & Wang, 2017;Guan et al., 2011Guan et al., , 2015Zhang & Li, 2010). The consistent finding of the positive effects of handwriting on Chinese character recognition is understandable. ...
Article
The differential effects of typing and handwriting on language performance have attracted much research attention, including literature reviews and meta-analyses in the field of English-language education. However, how these two modes of language production interact with the unique characteristics of Chinese characters and the various dimensions of Chinese language learning and performance remains an open question. The present study therefore presents a synthetic review of empirical studies examining the effects of typing and handwriting on Chinese language performance. The study found that typing has a greater effect on Chinese learners' phonology recognition and phonology-orthography mapping than handwriting, and this advantage was more salient in Chinese than in English. Unlike in English, where it only benefited orthographic recognition of letters, handwriting had positive effects on Chinese learners' orthography recognition and orthography-semantic mapping at both the character and lexical levels. Moreover, in contrast with consistent findings concerning the positive effect of typing on English writing performance, the effects of typing on Chinese writing performance were mixed. The findings suggest that the effects of typing and handwriting might manifest differently in the two languages , calling for differential theorization of the cognitive impact of typing on English and Chinese language processing.
... These devices (e.g., tablets and mobile phones) may improve a student's ability to take notes, but they may also hinder learning in different and unknown ways (Stacy and Cain, 2015). Most educators acknowledge note-taking as an important factor of classroom learning (Stacy and Cain, 2015), and keyboard activity is now often recommended as a substitute for early handwriting as this type of activity is less demanding and frustrating for children (Cunningham and Stanovich, 1990). ...
... On the other hand, critics of computers in the classroom have found computer use to have a negative impact on course grades (Patterson and Patterson, 2017), lower class performance (Fried, 2008) as well as being distracting in the way that students habitually multitask (Sana et al., 2013). Compared to typewriting training, handwriting training has not only been found to improve spelling accuracy (Cunningham and Stanovich, 1990) and better memory and recall (Longcamp et al., 2006;Smoker et al., 2009;Mueller and Oppenheimer, 2014), but also improved letter recognition (Longcamp et al., 2005(Longcamp et al., , 2008. These benefits have not only been found in traditional handwriting using an ink pen, but also in handwriting using a digital pen (Osugi et al., 2019). ...
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To write by hand, to type, or to draw – which of these strategies is the most efficient for optimal learning in the classroom? As digital devices are increasingly replacing traditional writing by hand, it is crucial to examine the long-term implications of this practice. High-density electroencephalogram (HD EEG) was used in 12 young adults and 12, 12-year-old children to study brain electrical activity as they were writing in cursive by hand, typewriting, or drawing visually presented words that were varying in difficulty. Analyses of temporal spectral evolution (TSE, i.e., time-dependent amplitude changes) were performed on EEG data recorded with a 256-channel sensor array. For young adults, we found that when writing by hand using a digital pen on a touchscreen, brain areas in the parietal and central regions showed event-related synchronized activity in the theta range. Existing literature suggests that such oscillatory neuronal activity in these particular brain areas is important for memory and for the encoding of new information and, therefore, provides the brain with optimal conditions for learning. When drawing, we found similar activation patterns in the parietal areas, in addition to event-related desynchronization in the alpha/beta range, suggesting both similarities but also slight differences in activation patterns when drawing and writing by hand. When typewriting on a keyboard, we found event-related desynchronized activity in the theta range and, to a lesser extent, in the alpha range in parietal and central brain regions. However, as this activity was desynchronized and differed from when writing by hand and drawing, its relation to learning remains unclear. For 12-year-old children, the same activation patterns were found, but to a lesser extent. We suggest that children, from an early age, must be exposed to handwriting and drawing activities in school to establish the neuronal oscillation patterns that are beneficial for learning. We conclude that because of the benefits of sensory-motor integration due to the larger involvement of the senses as well as fine and precisely controlled hand movements when writing by hand and when drawing, it is vital to maintain both activities in a learning environment to facilitate and optimize learning.
... For alphabetic languages, letters and phonemes are the respective orthographic and phonological units that beginning readers first acquire and associate. The acquisition of letters is not difficult given the small grapheme inventory, and children can successfully identify most, if not all, of the letters before entering elementary school (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990;Gibson, Gibson, Pick & Osser, 1962;Kiefer et al., 2015), although some children may not acquire letters properly because of deficits in visual perceptual skills (Orton, 1925;Stein, 2001). Identifying phonemes and learning how graphemes map onto phonemes and vice versa are challenging tasks, especially for young children, as phonemes are units that are abstract, hard-to-detect, not purely acoustically defined, not explicitly expressed in the spoken domain and, consequently, not readily available in their phonological repertoire. ...
Article
While phonological skills have been found to be correlated with reading across different writing systems, recent findings have shown that developmental dyslexia in Chinese individuals has multiple deficits, and no single factor has ever been identified as crucial for learning this writing system. To examine whether a deficit in the phonological or another cognitive domain is a necessary or sufficient condition for Chinese reading disability, this study examined the cognitive profiles of 521 good readers and 502 dyslexic readers in Chinese primary schools using a battery of behavioral measures covering phonological, visual, orthographic, visual-motor coordination and working memory skills. The results showed that among all cognitive measures, phonological skills correlated more strongly with character reading performance but that poor phonological skills did not necessarily or sufficiently lead to poor reading performance in Chinese.
... Mastery of alphabet knowledge is typically not acquired naturally, or by exposure only (Castles et al., 2018), and for 30% of kindergartners, difficulties in establishing these links have been resistant to targeted reading instruction (Paige, Rupley, Smith, Olinger, & Leslie, 2018). Studies in early literacy instruction have shown that the motor-perceptual links and sensory integration involved in writing letters enhance spelling (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1990) and support letter recognition through repeated exposure to letter variants (Li & James, 2016). Despite the fact that the beginning stages of both reading and writing require this same kind of alphabet knowledge, the sciences of reading and writing have typically been conducted separately, and there is a need for integrated research investigating how reading and writing can support each other (Graham, 2020). ...
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The ultimate goal of reading is to comprehend written text, and this goal can only be attained if the reader can decode written words and understand their meanings. The science of reading has provided compelling evidence for the subskills that form the foundation of decoding. Decoding words requires understanding of the alphabetic principle and letter–sound, or grapheme–phoneme, correspondence. In the first year of formal schooling (kindergarten), this same understanding is also required for young learners who are learning to write the letters of the alphabet. In this article, we examine the effectiveness of a handwriting intervention, Write Start–K, that emphasizes the recall, retrieval, reproduction, and repetition (the 4Rs model) of grapheme–phoneme relations. We conducted a two‐group, pre/posttest study at two Australian schools across four kindergarten classes (n = 77 students). One school received the intervention, and the other continued with standard teaching. Participants (mean age = 5 years 8.45 months, standard deviation = 4.18 months) at both schools were assessed at baseline, immediately after the eight‐week intervention period, and at 12 weeks following the end of the intervention (follow‐up). We used linear mixed models to determine the statistical significance of effects over three time intervals. We identified statistically significant Group × Time effects for letter name knowledge and word reading, whereas changes in letter sound knowledge and nonsense word–reading fluency approached statistical significance. These results indicate that a handwriting intervention, incorporating repeated practice in recalling and reproducing letter forms, had a statistically significant impact on early reading skills.
... While the use of paper-and-pencil seems to be increasingly less common today, handwriting is known to play an important role in literacy development. Namely, a body of behavioral studies with young children indicates that handwriting practice facilitates visual letter/word recognition across different languages [3][4][5][6][7][8] . Such facilitatory effects are thought to arise because learning while writing can effectively activate neurocognitive systems required for reading, i.e., cognitive control, attention, visuospatial analysis, and phonological processing 8 . ...
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Handwriting is thought to impede vocabulary learning in sighted adults because the motor execution of writing interferes with efficient audiovisual processing during encoding. However, the motor memory of writing may facilitate adult word learning when visual sensory inputs are severely restricted. Using functional MRI, we show that late-blind participants, but not sighted participants, learned novel words by recruiting the left dorsal premotor cortex known as Exner’s writing area and its functional coupling with the left hippocampus. During later recall, the phonological and semantic contents of these words are represented in the activation patterns of the left hippocampus as well as in those of left frontotemporal language areas. These findings suggest that motor codes of handwriting help blind participants maintain word-form representations during learning and retrieval. We propose that such reliance on the motor system reflects a broad architecture of the cerebral language network which encompasses the limb motor system as a hardwired component.
... A recent systematic review (unpublished, in review) summarized studies investigating the effects of bodily movement on early first language word recognition and spelling skills in children and found that only few studies of limited quality focused on interventions founded in the embodied learning theory, i.e. involving activities with a close coupling between the movement and the academic task. The identified studies mainly focused on handwriting [17,46,61,69,84,85], copying or tracing letters/words [6,37,46,50,85,91] and only four studies included wholebody movements (i.e. embodying letters, walking the outline of letter) [4,7,19,52]. ...
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Background Results from previous studies suggest that bodily movements, spanning from gestures to whole-body movements, integrated into academic lessons may benefit academic learning. However, only few studies have investigated the effects of movement integrated into reading practice. The PLAYMORE study aims to investigate the effects of two interventions focusing on a close and meaningful coupling between bodily movement and academic content on early pre-reading and word recognition skills in children. Further, the study aims to compare two interventions involving either hand movements (i.e. using arms and hands) or whole-body movements (i.e. using the whole body). Potential mediating factors underlying the link between bodily movement on early pre-reading and word recognition skills will be explored. Methods/design The PLAYMORE study will be conducted as a three-armed randomized controlled trial including children aged five to six years recruited from four schools in the Copenhagen area, Denmark. Stratified by class, children will be randomly allocated to one of three 8-week intervention/control periods: 1) teaching involving whole-body movements, 2) teaching involving hand movements (i.e. arms and hands) or 3) teaching involving minimal motor movements (i.e. seated on a chair using paper and pencil). Outcome measurements, including pre-reading and word recognition skills, will be collected before and after the intervention period to assess the intervention effects. This study protocol follows the SPIRIT guidelines. Discussion The PLAYMORE study will add to the current knowledge concerning the link between bodily movement and academic performance with important details about pre-reading and word recognition skills in preschool children. If effective, evaluation of the implementation of the PLAYMORE program should be conducted in order to investigate whether the effects can be transferred into standard school settings. The PLAYMORE study will lay the foundation for future research that have the potential to inform the political and scientific debate and importantly, to provide teachers with detailed information of how to implement movements effectively during teaching in order to support and motivate children in the process of learning to read. Trial registration The study was retrospectively registered in ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT04618822 ) the 5th of November 2020.
... These linguistic skills provide a foundation for one's reading ability [3][4][5] . While knowledge acquisition and electronic modes of communication have led to increased reliance on typewriting over handwriting in the digital age, it is critical to evaluate the effect of digital technology on reading development [6][7][8][9][10][11] . Unlike alphabetic writing systems that map graphic forms onto phonemes, logographic writing systems map graphic forms onto meanings. ...
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Communications through electronic devices require knowledge in typewriting, typically with the pinyin input method in China. Yet, the over utilization of the pronunciation-based pinyin input method may violate the traditional learning processes of written Chinese, which involves abundant visual orthographic analysis of characters and repeated writing. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the influence of pinyin typing on reading neurodevelopment of intermediate Chinese readers (age 9-11). We found that, relative to less frequent pinyin users, more frequent pinyin users showed an overall weaker pattern of cortical activations in the left middle frontal gyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, and right fusiform gyrus in performing reading tasks. In addition, more frequent pinyin typists had relatively less gray matter volume in the left middle frontal region, a site known to be crucial for Chinese reading. This study demonstrates that Chinese children's brain development in the information era is affected by the frequent use of the pinyin input method. npj Science of Learning (2020) 5:3 ; https://doi.
Article
Although computer-assisted vocabulary acquisition tools have been widely applied to English as a foreign language learning, the kinesthetic and tactile potential of such tools has not been fully utilized. Embodied cognition suggested that the change of practice modality (from handwriting to keyboarding), involves different sensory-motor experiences and arguably influences language learning result. The present study is a quasi-experiment investigating the effect of using keyboard-based computer application on English vocabulary acquisition in a naturalistic vocational school setting. Over the course of an academic year, the experimental group (N = 35) used the application to practice English words, whereas the control group (N = 34) practiced words through traditional approaches (listening, reading and writing). The results indicated that the participants using keyboarding application achieved significantly higher vocabulary learning performance than the control group. The attitude questionnaires and interview data also exhibited enhanced interest, motivation, and engagement for the experimental group participants.
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This article introduces the Special Issue on Computers and Education. The papers in this special issue focus on the potential contribution of technology to education. The involvement of educational psychologists is critical for understanding how the new technology develops and shapes cognitive functioning and intelligence, and for determining how to adapt instruction to individual differences and how to create instructional settings to realize technology's potential.
Chapter
It is now well established that there are a number of children who, despite adequate general intelligence, experience inordinate difficulties in learning to read and to write (Rutter, Tizard, & Whitmore, 1970; Clark, 1970). A considerable amount of research in recent years has been directed towards defining and understanding the nature of these children’s reading difficulties (for reviews, see Vellutino, 1979; Hulme, 1981; Rutter & Yule, 1973). It is clear from this body of research that in many cases reading retardation is associated with subtle impairments of language function and deficits in verbal memory. In contrast to this, however, deficits in visual perception and memory can be ruled out as a cause in the majority of cases.
Article
Learning to read and spell words is a central part of becoming literate. During text reading, most words are processed, and skilled readers are able to do this effortlessly. How they become skilled at processing graphic cues has been the focus of our research. Findings indicate that prereaders do not acquire graphic skill by learning to read signs and labels in their environment. Rather, mastery of letters is required. Whereas prereaders use visual or context cues to identify words, as soon as children move into reading they shift to letter-sound cues. Initially, words are read by accessing remembered associations between a few letters in spellings and sounds in pronunciations. Later, when decoding skill matures, complete spellings are analyzed as phonemic symbols for pronunciations and are stored in memory. Various studies indicate that having a visual picture of speech in memory is an important part of a person's information-processing equipment. Spellings may influence how words are pronounced, what sounds people think are in words, how quickly people judge spoken word rhymes, how rapidly pronunciations change over time.
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present some conclusions and speculations about the cognitive mechanisms that underlie individual differences in reading acquisition [in children] / in addition to drawing some general conclusions about causal mechanisms in early reading, I devote equal attention to some of the implications that failing at early reading acquisition—and failing for particular reasons—has for later academic achievement and for cognitive development in general (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Investigated the effects of manual tracing on visual–verbal paired-associate learning. In Exp I, 16 preschoolers were taught the names of letters of the alphabet; tracing the letters facilitated this learning. This effect was explored further in Exps II–IV where 38 children (aged 7 yrs 2 mo to 8 yrs 8 mo) were taught letter names paired with abstract letterlike forms. Tracing improved the learning of the names for these forms, and this improvement seemed attributable to improvements in visual recognition of the forms produced by tracing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
discuss the distinction between logographic and alphabetic word reading / propose that children learn to read their first few words by selecting some attribute of each word that distinquishes it from the other words that they know / to be successful readers, . . . children must learn the alphabetic cipher / reading and spelling are fundamentally similar because knowledge of the cipher is at the heart of both skills (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Dedicated to the proposition that no child of normal intelligence need become educationally handicapped, nor need remain that way, particularly as regards word-blindness, the book is mainly a summary of the remedial work done by or under the supervision of the author. Primary emphasis is placed on the hand-kinesthetic method in reading, with a chapter each on spelling and arithmetic. Handwriting is dealt with only as incidental to reading and spelling. Two short chapters are devoted to the application of remedial techniques to the mental defective, and one chapter is devoted to case studies in which the chronological ages range from 8 to 26 years. In both, these latter case studies and those cited throughout the book, considerable emphasis is placed upon the emotional aspects of the cases before, during, and after remediation. The book concludes with a brief discussion of individual differences in imagery; short summaries of remedial work done by Gates, Monroe, and Dearborn; and a bibliography on the subject. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A controlled training study is reported in which children backward in reading and spelling were taught to spell words by three different methods. 16 words were selected and were divided into groups of four, each group of words being taught by a different method. As a control, one of the four groups of words was not taught by any method. An adaptation of Simultaneous Oral Spelling was found to be the most successful method. It is argued that these results demonstrate that the ability to spell correctly is dependent upon the organisation of the correct motor patterns for writing the words.
Article
The effectiveness of Bradley's modification of the method of Simultaneous Oral Spelling (SOS) remedial training for both spelling and reading was assessed in this study. Subgroups of disabled readers, 'Chinese' (dysphonetic) and 'Phonecians' (dyseidetic), received six remedial sessions and were assessed immediately after treatment and then two months later on spelling of the training words and on general reading measures. Compared with a non-treated group, the two experimental groups showed significant but different general gains in reading. SOS training appears to be more effective for the teaching of regular words, as opposed to exceptional ones.
The role of motoric aspect of representation: Spontaneous writing-like behavior in Japanese
  • Y Endo
Endo, Y. (1988). The role of motoric aspect of representation: Spontaneous writing-like behavior in Japanese. In M. Gruneberg, P. Morris, & R. Sykes (Eds.), Practical aspects of memory (Vol. 2, pp. 459-463). New York: Wiley.