Students are assessed weekly to monitor their handwriting progress through a two minute copying task. Assessment occurs during session two immediately following the recall of learning and letter review. The sample is used by the team to monitor performance and plan subsequent sessions.

Sentence Development

The handwriting sample is a sentence developed by the team during the collaboration meeting that emphasizes the letters of the week. It is important that the sentence be an appropriate reading level and length for a first grader. See the linked PDF for a list of sample sentences.

The sentence is typed on three lined paper using a font that matches the manuscript style used in the classroom. The sentence should be typed multiple times on the paper so that the students can copy from the line directly above the writing line. 

Copy Task Example


Prior to copying the sentence, students are given the following instructions as the adult instructor passes out the papers:

  • “I am giving you a piece of paper with a sentence printed on it. The sentence says [read the sentence]. When I say go, copy this sentence as many times as you can until I say stop. Do you have any questions?”

After answering the students questions, begin the timed writing assessment using the following directions:

  • “When I say go, write the sentence as many times as you can, until I say stop. Go.”

After two minutes, say stop and ask the students to turn over their papers and drop their pencils. Students may attempt to keep writing beyond the time limit in an attempt to finish the sentence. Dropping their pencil and raising their arms is a fun way to stop and allows the instructors to quickly see students who do not stop.


Writing samples are assessed for the number of legible letters written in two minutes, as well as the following components using the Handwriting Legibility Rubric:

  • Letter Legibility
  • Letter Spacing
  • Word Spacing
  • Letter Sizing
  • Letter Alignment

Results of the assessment are recorded weekly in a spreadsheet and shared with all team members. Assessment data and actual handwriting samples are used during the weekly team collaboration meeting to review student performance and to plan future instructional strategiesstudent supports, and station activities.