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Teacher Support: Research

Please visit occasionally to check for additions to this section of the site. The goal is to provide easy access to studies that offer important information relative to development of symbolic language skills. If unable to get permission to provide a copy of the actual publication in PDF form, or in the case of referenced textbooks, we will list the reference to assist you in locating the information directly via your school or public library. In some cases newspaper articles will be referenced also. Advances in technology are producing information on brain function that indicates powerful and unrecognized potential for directed motor learning experiences in handwriting lessons.

A History of Handwriting Instruction Since 1900

Seton, Elizabeth, Loyola University Maryland, Advanced Studies In Education.
History is supposed to help us avoid repetition of mistakes by allowing us to learn from others who are no longer here to share experiences with us directly. This paper reveals a great deal about the arguments that occurred relative to grade-school school curriculae and handwriting instruction during the last 100 years. Many will say that it reveals some big mistakes that continue to cause our current education system to fail so many of our children. Learn about the studies done when progressives began to push for manuscript writing in our schools. This is a presentation useful for anyone who is debating between cursive and manuscript for entry-level children.

Click Here To Download The Paper.

Reading Acquisition: A Call For Cursive Handwriting

Seton, Elizabeth, Loyola University Maryland, Advanced Studies In Education.
The paper makes a very strong case for using cursive at the entry level and includes many references. If you are contemplating the idea for your school or for your own children, this paper will be very helpful and lead you to many additional sources of information.

Click Here To Download The Paper

Click here to read, a 1983 study on handwriting improvement achieved by providing movement feedback. (PDF File)

Soevik, N. and Teulings, H. L. REAL-TIME FEEDBACK OF HANDWRITING IN A TEACHING PROGRAM, Acta Psychologica 54 (1983) 285-291. Dr. Teulings was kind enough to provide this PDF file as a start. If you want to access many more, search Pub Med for Teulings, HL.

Click here to download a study (2004) providing objective data showing a strong link between handwriting fluency and reading skill development in kindergarten and grade one. Robert V. Rose, MD (retired), "The Writing/Reading Connection" Unpublished due to the apathy surrounding handwriting instruction.

The possible relationship between practice printing alphabet letters and learning to read in the earliest grades has not been adequately explored. The present article describes preliminary evidence that this relationship may be important, and that reading difficulties may relate directly to inadequate printing practice in kindergarten and first grade.

Click here to download a study offering movement analysis data on handwriting with block print and cursive.

Teulings, H.L., Van Gemmert, A.W.A. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Conference of the International Graphonomics Society (IGS2003), 2-5 November 2003, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.

Pen movements were recorded in healthy adults during learning of a sequence of vertical down strokes, a zigzag pattern, or a cursive-script pattern. The strokes had to be performed by moving the pen from target to target while visual feedback was offered via a computer monitor. The movement patterns were segmented into up and down strokes. Each stroke was segmented into primary and secondary submovements, i.e., a preprogrammed, ballistic part and a feedback controlled part, respectively. Results show that learning takes place during the course of 16 trials as the stroke duration decreased. Submovement analysis confirmed the usual increase in the relative duration and size of the primary submovement. However, this increase was observed only in the zigzag and the cursive writing patterns, which are continuous patterns, but not in the vertical down strokes, which is a discontinuous movement. This suggests that submovement analysis can be used to show learning effects in multi-stroke, continuous movement patterns.

Reference List:

(From Endangered Minds, 1991) Dr. Jerre Levy to Dr. Healy:
I suspect that the normal human brains are built to be challenged and it is only in the face of an adequate challenge that normal bihemispheric brain operations are engaged. Dr. Levy goes on to say: ...children need a linguistic (auditory) environment that is coordinated with the visual environment they are experiencing.

Babcock, M. K. & Freyd, J. J. (1988) Perception of dynamic information in static handwritten forms. American Journal of Psychology, Spring, Vol 101, pp. 111-130.

Shadmir, R. and Holcomb, H. (1997) Neural Correlates of Motor Memory ConsolidationĂ® Science Magazine, Vol. 277, 8 Aug. 1997.

Seminar on teaching written Language. Dr. Louisa Moats, Houston Health Science Center.

References cited by Dr. Moats:
Bain, A., Bailet, L., and Moats, L. (2002). Written Language Disorders (2nd Edition). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Berninger, V., Vaughn, K., Abbott, R., Brooks, A., Begay, K., Curtis, G., Byrd, K., and Graham, S. (2000). Language-based spelling instruction: Teaching children to make multiple connections between spoken and written words. Learning Disability Quarterly, 23, 117-135.

Berninger, V. (1999). Coordinating transcription and text generation in working memory during composing: Automatic and constructive processes. Learning Disability Quarterly, 22, 99-112.

Berninger, V. (1998) Process assessment of the learner: Guides for intervention. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.

Berninger, V. (1994). Reading and writing acquisition: A developmental neuropsychological perspective. Madison, WI: WCB Brown & Benchmark.

Graham, S. Berninger, V., Abbott, R., Abbott, S., & Whitaker, D. (1996). The role of mechanics in composing of elementary school students: A new methodological approach. Journal of Education Psychology , 89, 170-182.

Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. S. (1980). Identifying the organization of the writing processes. In L. W. Gregg & E. R. Steinberg (eds.), Cognitive processes in writing (pp. 3-30). Hillsdale, NJ: Eribaum.

McCutchen, D. (1996). A capacity theory of writing: Working memory in composition. Educational Psychology Review, 8, 299-325.

Moats, L. C. (1995). Spelling: Development, Disability, and Instruction. Baltimore: York Press.

This sophisticated software works wonders. Leading motor scientists all around the world are using Movalyzer to collect and chart movement data automatically. A 12-minute presentation compares movement data collected by Movalyzer when tracing a model word with the pen, writing the word with the pen and finger-tracing the model word. It is a very simple example of Movalyzer capabilities when recording pen movements on a digital tablet. The charts were created automatically by the software. The Tracing Presentation is a narrated slide show. Speakers are needed for the sound.

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