Effectiveness of a structured handwriting program
Pontello, Karen Marie
Master of Education
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The purpose of this study was to assess the use of a structured multi-sensory handwriting program with grade one students. This study utilized a multiple-group time series design and included a pre-test. A standardized assessment of handwriting skills, the Minnesota Handwriting Test was used for this baseline measurement and subsequent measurements throughout the school year. Two experimental classes received instruction using the Handwriting Without Tears method and a control class used traditional methods. Subsequent testing of handwriting skills was conducted each month from December until June. A one-way Analysis of Variance was used to compare the results. The experimental classes using the structured multi-sensory handwriting program improved significantly in handwriting skills specifically, in overall printing skills, alignment of letters on the baseline and size of letters in comparison to the control class. The girls in both experimental classes mirrored the above results and demonstrated improvement in overall printing skills, alignment and size when compared to the girts in the control class. The boys in the experimental classes demonstrated significant changes in the areas of legibility and spacing. Although the experimental classes demonstrated more improvement than the control class in overall handwriting skills, the students in the control class were fester writers. Further research including an assessment of handwriting skills into grade two would be helpful to further explore the speed and legibility issue and consolidation of handwriting skills. A longitudinal study would assist in exploring handwriting issues.