Jane Case-Smith, Terri Holland, Alison Lane, Susan White; Effect of a Coteaching Handwriting Program for First Graders: One-Group Pretest–Posttest Design. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(4):396-405. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.004333.
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We examined the effects of a cotaught handwriting and writing program on first-grade students grouped by low, average, and high baseline legibility. The program’s aim was to increase legibility, handwriting speed, writing fluency, and written expression in students with diverse learning needs. Thirty-six first-grade students in two classrooms participated in a 12-wk handwriting and writing program cotaught by teachers and an occupational therapist. Students were assessed at pretest, posttest, and 6-mo follow-up using the Evaluation Tool of Children’s Handwriting–Manuscript (ETCH–M) and the Woodcock–Johnson Writing Fluency and Writing Samples tests. Students made large gains in ETCH–M legibility (η2 = .74), speed (η2s = .52–.65), Writing Fluency (η2 = .58), and Writing Samples (η2 = .59). Students with initially low legibility improved most in legibility; progress on the other tests was similar across low-, average-, and high-performing groups. This program appeared to benefit first-grade students with diverse learning needs and to increase handwriting legibility and speed and writing fluency.
Do students improve significantly in handwriting legibility, speed, writing fluency, and written expression immediately and at 6 mo following the Write Start program?
Do groups of students categorized by baseline handwriting legibility demonstrate differences in handwriting and writing progress immediately and at 6 mo following the Write Start program?
Low-performing group (<50% legibility), 11 students (9 boys, 2 girls; 3 with IEPs)
Average-performing group (50%–80% legibility), 15 students (8 boys, 7 girls; 1 with an IEP)
High-performing group (>80% legibility), 10 students (2 boys, 8 girls; 1 with an IEP).
Handwriting instruction for first-grade students that includes adult modeling of letter formation, use of consistent visual and verbal cues, repeated practice with immediate adult feedback, peer modeling and support, and self-evaluation results in significant gains in legibility, speed, and fluency.
Integrating occupational therapy handwriting interventions into the classroom using a coteaching model allows students with poor handwriting to receive services while remaining in their learning environment and promotes handwriting performance among all students.
First-grade students across ability levels may benefit when coteaching teams of occupational therapists and teachers collaboratively plan and implement handwriting instruction that is linked to students’ writing instruction.
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