Peterson Directed Handwriting Evaluation and Coaching

The Peterson Method is a unique movement-based strategy that teachs skills for fluency and legibility. It has always been evidence-based instruction. Teachers and parents who are trying to develop handwriting skills face several problems. One is knowledge about how to evaluate for needs. The other is knowledge about how to coach toward changes that result in improved skill. A number of presentations offering solid background information are linked below. They are designed to help you better understand the teaching objectives. You will also find links for download of a number of special tools and techniques you can use to establish evidence-based evaluation of specific skills that are all part of the movement process.

The Self Evaluation Guide will show you how to put the plan in place. The various tools will guide needs assessment and selection of specific legibility sub skills for practice that can lead to improvement of legibility through understanding and thoughtful application. You will find a simple technique to guide critical thinking that your child can use and understand. You will learn how to measure and track fluency with objective data that can be gathered easily.

Will you evaluate writing or drawing?
The motor system can successfully guide an automatic handwriting process when we provide regular opportunity for that system to practice. You can easily  include fluent movement as a goal in your handwriting lessons. The video linked below demonstrates how easy it is to teach fluent movement using the Peterson strategy. It demonstrates how to use the kindergarten student book to teach print letters, but the teaching process is the same at any level. The YouTube video will open in a new window. Simply close that window to find this page again.

How To Use The ABC's and 123"s Pupil Text

We hope these presentations and coaching tools will bring you back to find our materials for teaching fluent movement. If you are interested to learn more, please stop by our welcome page and contact us. We can meet with you live to answer questions, suggest materials based upon your specific situation and and help you develop a plan for teaching. We hope these gifts will lead to a long friendship and successful handwriting skill development for your students.

More Presentations

The Impact Of Handwriting Fluency On Language Skills
This narrated slide show presents and explains the potential connections between handwriting training and your language arts efforts. You will learn how to measure handwriting fluency and learn why position skills like pencil and paper holding are more important than you might think. Learn about the "Instant Word Concept," and how to combine two spelling activities you already use to enhance the learning of spelling and vocabulary.


Web Presentation - LEARN WHY TRACE AND COPY ACTIVITES FAIL SO MANY CHILDREN. If your child labors to put thoughts on paper this 12-minute slide show will show you one probable source of the problem. Learn why Peterson does not recommend tracing of models with a pencil or crayon and find out how we use our unique, color/rhythm models to teach fluent movement.

Holding the Pencil
This short video addresses the impact of a pencil grip, explains the goals and illustrates a good relaxed grip posture while teaching The Pencil Song.

Holding The Paper - Right-Hander
This short video explains the impact of good paper holding and a simple technique for determining the position of the paper relative to the writing arm.

Coaching A Left-Hander
This presentation uses video to illustrate and explain the two best approaches for writing with the left hand and how to coach your student to improve fluency and reduce the negative effects of poor process on spelling. The presentation is about 17 minutes long. The video buffering time will cause some waiting on a slow connection. You need speakers or a headset for the sound.

Mr. Pencil's Grip Exercise
A good pencil grip is more important than many people realize. But, it is not easy for children to learn to hold the pencil properly when they have a debilitating habit. The reason is simple. When they try a new grip posture, they suddenly use a lot of muscles that have no experience. They don't feel they have control. We need to get them to practice the new grip long enough for the brain to establish connections with these new muscles. This simple exercise stimulates the brain to make those connections. The video is designed for use with the children and teaches them how to do the exercise. The run time is about two minutes.

Web Presentation - The link below will take your browser to a presentation that will run automatically in your browser. The program runs just under twenty minutes. You will need speakers or a headset for the sound. The presentation provides an overview of the teaching task, specifics on each step in the method for instruction and tips on correlation that will help with transfer of learning into applied work.


Self Evaluation Guide - (PDF 612 KB) Click here to download.

Position Skill Assessment - (PDF 476 KB) Click here to download

Measure and Track Fluency - (PDF 32 KB) Click here to download

A Rubric for Cursive Evaluation - (PDF 452 KB) Click here to download.

Letter Tops Evaluation - (PDF 344 KB) Click here to download.

Movement Exercises - This PDF file contains printable pages with movement exercises designed to provide opportunity for a student to adjust to a new grip posture and good paper holding by using them for activities that do not demand precise movement control. The document contains multimedia to demonstrate and explain. Pictures for preschool/kindergarten coloring and long-line target games for all ages are included. A video demonstrates the target games. Sound files explain some exercises. You will need Acrobat Reader Version 9 to take advantage of the multimedia content. (PDF 22.2MB) Click here to download.

Legibility Skill Posters - The tools for evaluation provided above allow us to choose practice goals to improve legibility of student handwriting. Each of the links below offer a set of letter-size posters which highlight each of the six process skills that combine to create legible handwriting (Form, Slant, Size, Spacing, Smooth Rhythm and Control).

Skill Posters for Cursive - Click here to download.

Skill Posters for Slant Print - Click here to download.

Skill Posters for Vertical Print - Click here to download.

Here are some awesome extras that will likely change your handwriting teaching strategy along with your design of spelling and vocabulary lessons. Learn how motor learning can be a tool for language skill development while simultaneously improving handwriting fluency and legibility.

Learn about the movement based strategy that lets you teach, and your student practice, fluent movement. Supporting research is referenced in the strategy paper.

The Peterson Method - (PDF 548 KB) Click here to download the strategy paper.

The Muscle Memory Story - (PDF 376 KB)
Written for a grade four student, the story translates recent motor science revelations about handwriting movement into lesson objectives a student can understand. Learn about the real goal for practice activities. Do they ask why practice is necessary - moan and groan when you suggest it? This story should make a difference and it describes a way to make practice fun. Click here to download.

Click here to visit our welcome page. Please bookmark it for the future.

Created by Rand Nelson
Peterson Directed Handwriting
November 2007
Last Update April 2011