Jane Case-Smith, Terri Holland, Beth Bishop; Effectiveness of an Integrated Handwriting Program for First-Grade Students: A Pilot Study. Am J Occup Ther 2011;65(6):670-678. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2011.000984.
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We developed and piloted a program for first-grade students to promote development of legible handwriting and writing fluency. The Write Start program uses a coteaching model in which occupational therapists and teachers collaborate to develop and implement a handwriting–writing program. The small-group format with embedded individualized supports allows the therapist to guide and monitor student performance and provide immediate feedback. The 12-wk program was implemented with 1 class of 19 students. We administered the Evaluation of Children’s Handwriting Test, Minnesota Handwriting Assessment, and Woodcock–Johnson Fluency and Writing Samples test at baseline, immediately after the Write Start program, and at the end of the school year. Students made large, significant gains in handwriting legibility and speed and in writing fluency that were maintained at 6-mo follow-up. The Write Start program appears to promote handwriting and writing skills in first-grade students and is ready for further study in controlled trials.
Can a cotaught, classroom-embedded handwriting program be implemented for 12 wk with high fidelity?
What effect does the program have on students’ legibility and writing fluency?
Are the handwriting and writing skills developed during the Write Start program maintained at 6-mo follow-up?
Each session was planned and implemented by a coteaching team of two teachers and an occupational therapist.
The teachers and therapist modeled letter formation and provided simple, consistent verbal cues for letter formation.
The students copied from the model and engaged in repeated practice.
The students were placed in groups of 6–7 that rotated through stations emphasizing complementary aspects of handwriting and writing.
The teachers and therapist provided frequent feedback that included correcting errors, encouraging self-evaluation, and praising the students’ efforts.
The team monitored and assessed students’ performance to guide their selection of handwriting instructional strategies.
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