Peterson Directed Handwriting Resource Library

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Last Update: July 2007

We are working hard to provide you with information based upon our continuing research and product development efforts. The PDF files available here are provided in the interest of improving and supporting the instruction of skills needed for the fluent use of written language.

One of the most important items is the Scope and Sequence. A wealth of scientific research is indicating surprising new importance for the physical learning experiences associated with development of fluent handwriting skills. Indications of powerful impact on all learning are showing up again and again in study after study. If you have not yet looked at it, I hope that you will do so as soon as possible. Your strategy for instruction is critical. See "The Peterson Difference."

Please stop by occasionally to review the offerings. I will add new items as frequently as possible. Thank you for your interest in teaching physical language skills. If you have an idea to share or a request for something new, we want to hear from you. Please use the link below.
Rand H. Nelson, V. P.

Curriculum Items
Ideas And Correlation Activities

Research on Fluency - Free Materials - Learn about the project and how to participate.

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Curriculum Items
Click here to download a copy of our Program Administrator's Guide (PDF File, 28 pages, 260K).
This guide offers a wealth of helpful information for managing a successful handwriting program. While it is tailored to administrators using the Peterson program, materials and services, anyone can gain valuable ideas from these pages.
This document is currently being revised. Target date for the revision is December 2007.

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Click here to download the Scope and Sequence. (PDF File, 8 pages, 65K)
Putting thoughts onto paper requires the highest form of language skill development no matter what tool is used. In addition to a delineation of specific skills and behaviors by level, this eight-page document presents written language skill development from a new and unique perspective. If your students struggle to get "it" on paper, you should consider what this has to offer. You may better understand what is (or is not) going on inside those little heads and probably find reason to change the design of many of your learning activities.

The Left-Handed Writer - 2007
One of the most frequently asked questions, particularly from right-handed teachers, is how to coach a left-handed child. A revised and greatly expanded guide has been prepared in portable document format. This handbook is based upon the most comprehensive study ever done on left-handed writing process. Many pictures offer a much better understanding of the various approaches invented by left-handed children who are not coached to discover the most efficient approach called "side stroke." This manual provides understanding and suggestions for coaching the side stroke process as well as the best way to use an "overhand" approach to improve fluency and legibility. The Guide is free. There is also an animated presentation linked to our Information Directory page that will be most helpful.
(PDF 16.5 MB) Click here to download The Left-Handed Writer.

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Click here to download, The Peterson Difference - a three page illustration of how the Peterson Method, models and process differ from other publisher's programs. (PDF File)

Look at a comparison of models from various publishers from a unique perspective. Understand the cursive concept and process as presented by the Peterson Method. Learn how to look for qualities of legibility and consider process instruction as it relates to various models from different publishers. Learn why the teaching and learning strategy that includes fluent movement results in our use of models that exaggerate the process for children.
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Click here to download an article on preschool readiness. (PDF File, 65K)
This published, two-page article is designed for parents and teachers of preschool children. It makes a good addition to a registration package for parents. When a little one shows interest in making letters, getting started correctly can offer huge advantages once formal instruction begins.
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Click here to download an overview article on ABC's & 123's, our entry level instructional process for preschool and kindergarten. (PDF File, 33K)
ABC's and 123's is not a stand alone program. It is a series of physical learning activities to be correlated into your present curriculum.

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Click here to download Reading and Writing Readiness for Preschoolers and Kindergartners. (PDF File, 910K)
Thanks to the St. Vincent College Curriculum and Systems Design Mini Consulting Project conducted by Dr. Veronica Ent, this daily lesson outline was produced in cooperation with enthusiastic teacher/graduate students. Unique activities address directionality concepts, rhythmic movement and position skills. Help the little ones to learn up, down, top, bottom, left, right and relate the directionality concepts to their workspace. The 44 page file has not been compressed so be prepared for a little extra download time. It will be worth the wait.

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Click here to download an article on fluency. (PDF File, 33K)
This two-page published article addresses a topic that appears to be a "missing link" in the language arts curriculum of many schools. Many programs do not seem to include handwriting instruction at all. This may be due to the fact that a majority of commercial programs for handwriting instruction simply provide workbooks for drawing letters resulting in a perception that handwriting classes have more to do with developing an artistic talent than creating a practical, fluent tool for learning and communication. If you find yourself considering the use of a certain "style" of letter, as a means to solve student handwriting problems, please take a look at this article. Discover the objective of fluency first. Then look at your program to find out how it helps you to teach fluent movement.
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Click here to download an article on physical language instruction. (PDF File, 65K)
This two-page article provides a series of exerts with a focus on the brain and learning to use symbolic language.
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Ideas, Tools And Activities for Correlation

Click here to download a rubric for cursive handwriting evaluation. (PDF File)
This rubric was provided by Mrs. Faye Ward, Grade 4 Teacher at Ramsey Elementary School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. In combination with the Skill Posters (see below) this rubric can be used for any cursive application at any level.

Click here to download a great word integration activity. Word Challenge is a correlated activity designed to be used with your spelling or vocabulary instruction. Can your students meet the challenge?  Use it with Word Masters (sample below) or your own spelling/vocabulary words. Consider this question, "When does the child really know a new word and how do you know it has been learned?" (PDF File, one page)

Click here to download a simple tool for tracking handwriting fluency.

It is difficult to judge the effectiveness of the effort and the time spent to improve handwriting skills because judgment is usually totally subjective. This simple tool provides an easy-to-manage process for gathering objective data that relates to fluency in applied work. It can be understood by the "team" (your students) and presents fluency as a measurable goal they are working to improve.

Use you spelling or vocabulary test - any regular word writing activity where legibility is critical - to track the team's rate of production over time. It takes only a minute to do. You can then use the data in math class, or as part of your opening routine on test day, as a practical application for math skills like division and subtraction. How many words per minute is the team producing during the spelling test? Is the rate of production increasing or decreasing?

Use The Directed Lesson Strategy Instantly
A directed lesson using rhythm techniques is the key to unlocking fluency. Think of it as teaching a series of "Line Dances." Using "Action Words" we direct movement exercises that include a "how to move" challenge - move with the sound of your voice. It is the challenge of movement that keeps students engaged in the process and stimulates the brain to internalize rhythmic information that can lead to fluent legibility. The following files give you an easy to use reference for directing short practice lessons on the fly using three rhythm alternatives - Color Rhythm, Count or Action Words.

As your students work on any written activity and a problem (poor letter pattern) is discovered, you can take a minute to conduct a quick patterning session (even if it includes only airwriting) using this quick rhythm reference chart. Many teachers keep the leader chart posted on the wall for instant reference.

Click here to download the Cursive Rhythm Leader. (PDF File, One Page).

Click here to download the Vertical Print Rhythm Leader. (PDF File, Two Pages).

Click here to download the Slant Print Rhythm Leader. (PDF File, One page).

Apply Handwriting Practice to Language Arts with the Word Masters Strategy
Directed handwriting exercises could be one of the strategies you use to build language skills like spelling, vocabulary and word recognition. Word Masters employs a technique based upon the latest motor research in Vince Lombardi style. "Simple strategies, well executed, produce dramatic results." You can use handwriting practice as a tool for word integration - a correlated part of your language arts effort.

The objective is simple - improve fluency and legibility while integrating patterns for high frequency words. Once you understand the process you can  apply the technique to any word list to improve integration while working to improve both handwriting skills and word integration.

The research is complex but the strategy is simple. The sample files provided here contain only twelve pages - ten for your students and the instructions for you. The instructions explain the specifics of the technique for you. It is easy to understand but if you have questions please call.

Grade Three Sample - Click here to download. (PDF File, 12 pages).

Advanced Sample (4-8) - Click here to download. (PDF File, 12 pages).

The complete set for grade three provides over 600 high frequency words on 54 reproducible pages. The advanced set (4-8) provides nearly 1600 high frequency words on 64 pages. Please download the file and give the concept and techniques a try. We hope of course, that you will want the whole set. Your support of our effort through product purchases keeps our company alive. If your pupils are always asking if they can print, the Word Masters strategy will help.

Posters for Correlation of Specific Process Skills

Our instructional process is simple; Develop, Practice and Apply. We Write to Read is different from other programs in many ways but this is one of the most important. We develop and practice specific process skills in short handwriting classes and then apply the skills in your curriculum to elicit transfer of learning.

The files below allow you to print a set of posters that make specific correlation easy. Each set has six cards, one for each legibility subskill. With these posters on the wall correlating a specific skill goal, even individually, is as easy as placing the number of the skill in the student heading on the page. Let your student choose a specific goal to address in applied work. Focus on one process goal is much easier for the child to manage. Since movement relates all legibility skills, working to improve one - spacing or size for example, translates to improvement of all.

Click here to download skill posters for vertical print writing. (PDF File, 6 pages)

Click here to download skill posters for slant print writing. (PDF File, 6 pages)

Click here to download skill posters for cursive writing. (PDF File, 6 pages)

Recognition is motivating for all. This file will let you print a letter-size poster for recognition of three Neat Writers each month. (PDF File, 1 page)

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Please visit occasionally to check for additions to this new section of the library. I have a number of studies and references to add and will do so as time permits. 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, I 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.

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 new 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) Dr. Jerre Levy to Dr. Healy:
žI 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.Ó Dr. Levy goes on to say: ž...children need a linguistic (auditory) environment that is coordinated with the visual environment they are experiencing.Ó

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) žNeural Correlates of Motor Memory ConsolidationÓ Science Magazine, Vol. 277, 8 Aug. 1997.

Teulings, H. L., Arizona State University. Unpublished, proprietary, žBallistic Handwriting.Ó For an interpretation of the results, See žJohn and Jane are bright. Why canŪt they write?Ó Find the link to fluency on our Information Directory Page at:

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.

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Created by Rand H. Nelson, April 2002