- For most children need specific instruction to develop automatic, legible handwriting, .
- Students can better focus on writing content and composition when the mechanics of handwriting become automatic, .
- Linking handwriting instruction to authentic writing and writing practice is an important step in students becoming fluent and competent writers.
- Students must learn that the purpose of handwriting is communication and that it is important for their handwriting to be readable by others.
- Handwriting Programs with demonstrated efficacy include the following instructional elements:
- Teacher modeling of letter formation
- Visual/verbal cueing that is faded as students progress
- Copying from a model
- Self-direction (verbal self-talk)
- Repeated practice
- Self check for own handwriting
- Frequent assessment and feedback are critical to learning handwriting and writing. This includes:
- Adult correction of errors
- Recognition for student’s effort
- Visual motor integration, dexterity, and hand movement sense are important to the development of effective and automatic handwriting skills.
- Manuscript handwriting using a continuous, vertical stroke appears to be easiest for students with motor planning and visual motor integration problems to learn.
- The application of cognitive interventions such as visual cueing and memory retrieval improves handwriting fluency.
- Instruction that is engaging, motivating, and relevant improves student’s writing performance
Feedback and Reinforcement
- Monitoring and frequent assessment of student’s performance guides instructor/therapist’s selection of handwriting instruction methods.
- Providing frequent individualized feedback about a student’s work helps to maintain his or her engagement in writing activities.
Approach to Instruction
- When co-teaching models are used, students benefit from the skill sets of multiple instructors. The evidence to date indicates that student achievement is the same when co-teaching and regular teaching models are compared.
- Integrating occupational therapy services into the classroom allows students to receive services while remaining in their learning environment, enables the occupational therapist to understand the curriculum and classroom rules, and provides the teacher and occupational therapist to opportunity to benefit from observing each other.
- Co-teaching allows the entire class to benefit from occupational therapy services for handwriting instruction.