Need New Evidence-Based Ideas for Handwriting Instruction?

This is the second in a series of blogs from Michele Parkins and Carrie Davis.
The first post can be found here

Guided practice has been identified as one of the eight most effective, research-based instructional handwriting practices.  This practice also enhances working memory – which has been found to be equally if not more important to success in handwriting.  *see references link below.

Here are some fun ways to incorporate this into your practice:

  • Use visual landmarks to identify the important spatial concepts for the letter i.e. top, bottom, over, under
  • Use whole body movements to form the letters of the alphabet. Stand in front of the child and model the movements reaching all the way to the ceiling and down to the floor, all the way to the left and right.  This will further facilitate motor learning through observation.
  • Encourage the child to practice forming letters with movements of one part of their body – arms, fingers, legs, feet.
  • Tape letters on the floor and have the child move along the letters – jumping, side stepping, crawling, rolling, etc.

Medwell, J. & Wray, D. (2007). Handwriting: what do we know and what do we need to know? Literacy, 41(1), 10-15.

Berninger, V. W. and Graham, S. (1998) Language by hand: a synthesis of a decade of research on handwriting. Handwriting Review, 12, pp. 11–25.

Berninger, V. W. (1994) Reading and Writing Acquisition: A Developmental Neuropsychological Perspective. Dubuque, IA: Brown and Benchmark.

Christensen, C. A. and Jones, D. (2000) Handwriting: an underestimated skill in the development of written language. Handwriting Today, 2, pp. 56–69.

Graham, S., Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Abbott, S. and Whitaker, D. (1997) The role of mechanics in composing of elementary school students: a new methodological approach. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89.1, pp. 170–182.

For more references:

Michele Parkins MS, OTR & Carrie Davis MS, OTR
Co-founders of Connect Experience Write, a developmental handwriting program using music and movement to teach pre-writing skills and letter formation

We are excited to introduce Michele Parkins and Carrie Davis, two new members of our faculty who will be presenting at our Annual Therapies in The School Conference in November: “Using Sensory Motor Integration and Visual Spatial Strategies to Facilitate Success in Handwriting”.