What is most important in handwriting instruction?
Written by Cheri Dotterer
Consistency of the language that you and the staff in your school use is the most important factor in teaching and remediating handwriting.
Size Matters Handwriting Program states, “Focus on size, form will follow.” The manual states that “meaningful practice, immediate, and task-specific” practice is required to have an effective handwriting program. Learning without Tears states, “Good handwriting skills result from your thoughtful attention and instruction. Students require deliberate instruction to develop good habits and overcome bad ones.” Fundations provides “step-by-step verbalizations for lowercase and uppercase cursive letter formation.” And, The TV Teacher uses a “video modeling approach” for handwriting instruction.
Although I have highlighted four programs here, there are many more handwriting programs. Each of them unique in their own way. What each of them and the research states is that consistency with vocabulary to teach handwriting is a must.
Each program has its own unique language related to handwriting. Consistency in using the same language to align auditory, visual, and kinesthetic principles maximizes the student’s carryover from handwriting instruction to internalizing it.
But what if the student is not capable of internalizing the language, then find another program and be consistent with that vocabulary. Not all children learn the same way. Some students need a different language. That’s why it is great to have multiple programs on the market. Once you have deciphered how the child learns best, be consistent in your vocabulary.
Part of the consistency is how you are teaching letter formation. The other aspect of consistency is handwriting paper. However, determining the paper that the student will internalize the easiest is sometimes the most difficult part of being consistent. Good luck staying consistent. Be the dysgraphia authority in your school. Reform Literacy!