Word Masters Fluency Study

We are looking for teachers of grades 4 - 6 (or higher), to test a theory supported by motor control science. It is widely accepted that the brain responds to challenges but may not respond when no challenge is presented.

The Theory:
Participation in a short daily movement challenge activity will result in improved cursive writing fluency in an applied writing situation.

The project will use a traditional Peterson technique recently validated by motor scientist Hans-Leo Teulings at Neuroscript Software, to work for improved fluency for each student in your class using high frequency words. A simple tracking process will collect data to reflect any effect on cursive writing fluency in a weekly spelling test. The materials are provided free to interested teachers. You will find links for download below.

Commitment:  12 Weeks
One activity each day will require less than ten minutes on average. Based upon data collected over the last few years, the time required each day will reduce as the effort progresses. This type of data has not been collected prior to this project, but research indicates that gains in fluency should be realized in all written work so you should actually gain teaching time by participating. Reporting teachers indicate great success. Your data will be combined with that of other classes to establish objective indicators for the future. You fax your data to us each week or so, using a simple form provided in the material.

Special reproducible pages will be provided for each participating teacher. These pages are used for writing high frequency words with a special technique developed decades ago by Peterson Handwriting and validated by recent motor research. The technique involves a directed format which is specifically designed to present a movement and processing challenge. The teacher will direct the writing of the words using a simple strategy. All students write each word moving in unison as the teacher guides the effort.

One page of words will be practiced each week - four words per day on each of four days. On day five a test will be given. The test will be a timed activity. Start time and end time will be recorded to gather data on fluency during the spelling test.

The study objective is to gather data on fluency for each class group and combine the data to establish norms that should be helpful for setting goals in the future.  A fluency quotient for the team will be established each week. Each class will be a team participating in an effort to improve the fluency quotient. As the weeks progress the data will provide an objective measure of fluency for the group that will reflect progress or the lack of it.

The data tracking page for each class can be submitted to Peterson Handwriting via fax for processing with data from all participating classes. Combining data from many classes will greatly increase the viability of the data for establishing reasonable expectations for each grade level.

Tracking Forms (both team and individual formats) and a Test Form are included in the printable PDF files which can be downloaded using the link at the bottom of this page.

The Weekly Test Procedure. (Team Format)

Students will write a heading including name and date. The start time will be marked on the tracking form as soon as all have completed the heading. The teacher will then dictate the words (16 each week) as quickly as writing time permits (see below). As soon as the last word is completed by the last student writer, the end time is marked on the tracking form. A team fluency score expresse as letters-per-minute is established. The form can then be faxed to the Peterson office. The fax number is: 724-836-4110. The fax answers 24/7.

Instruct students to raise a hand immediately as each target word is completed. As soon as all hands are up the teacher dictates the next word. This process will allow for optimal production for the team. The time data will also offer opportunity for practical application of math skills during the day. Students can figure out the team fluency quotient. Simple subtraction will establish the time needed for completion of the test. Students can then divide to establish the letters-per-minute (fluency quotient). The number of letters required for each test is provided on the tracking form. Comparison of the fluency quotient as weeks progress will allow the team to see if they are gaining in fluency.

If you plan to participate in the project, we would appreciate having some contact information. Please use the mail-to link provided below to send the following information:
Your Name
Grade you are teaching

School Name

Your email address at home or at school (your preference).

Please enter FLUENCY PROJECT in the subject line.

Because the exercises use common high frequency words, you can begin the effort at any time. Use the link below to download the Fluency Project file.

Click Here to download the Fluency Project file.

The project file contains a form for tracking team scores. You will probably quickly discover that you and your students will want to track individual fluency scores. The link below will give you a form for that purpose.

Click here to download the tool for tracking individual fluency.

Please Note:
You will need Acrobat Reader from Adobe to open and print the documents. If you do not have "Reader," it is available as a free download from www.adobe.com.

I hope to hear from you soon. Incidentally, if you have questions or would simply like to talk about the concept, we maintain an Adobe Connect meeting room which supports voice over internet and numerous other tools for live conferences and collaboration. We do want to support your efforts in every way we can. Group discussions are encouraged. Multiple people can join a live meeting using web browser software. You need speakers or a headset to hear the discussion. Keyboard chat is available but if you have a microphone or headset, you will be able speak with the the specialist as if on the telephone.



Randy Nelson

Peterson Directed Handwriting


Email your information to: Rand Nelson