Improving letter formation, even spacing, and overall legibility
Elementary grade students with illegible written work
The teacher distributes two worksheets each day. The first is a list of 28 cursive, grade-appropriate words which the student is to copy once. The second is a paragraph of appropriate reading text, written in cursive, for the student to copy. As needed, the teacher instructs and models self-instruction steps to the student. Steps include: 1) Say aloud the word to be written, 2) Say the first syllable, 3) Say each of the letters in the syllable three times, 4) Repeat each letter as you write it, 5) Repeat steps 2 through 4 for each successive syllable. The student should have a card listing the steps. Before beginning the daily tasks, the student should circle the errors from the previous day's work. The teacher should explain and assist with this self-correction procedure as needed.
Record the percent of correctly reproduced letters and punctuation marks.
Kosiewicz, M. M., Hallahan, D. P., Lloyd, J., & Graves, A. W. (1982). Effects of self-instruction and self-correction procedures on handwriting performance. Learning Disability Quarterly, 5, 71-78.
Greg Sommers and Jason Tied, UVA
Improving and maintaining the letter formation skills of students with learning disabilities with writing deficiences
three students with learning disabilities between the ages of ten and eleven
Over a ten day period the instructor completed a six step training process daily on the formation of a single manuscript letter. Step 1 : Teacher modeled proper writing of the letter three times while discusiing the letter aloud Step 2 : Teacher repeated step one until the student could verbalize the steps in unison with the instructor. Step 3 : Teacher wrote the letter while the student traced it with his/her finger until she/he could simultaneously trace the letter and verbalize the steps. Step 4 : Teacher repeated step two while verbally self-correcting, and she reinforcing her progress. The procedure was continued until imitation by the student was achieved. Step 5 : Teacher repeated previous step until student could complete the process successfully three consecutive times. Step 6 : Teacher verbally described the correct formation of the given letter while the student wrote it. This procedure was continued until the student could successfully write the letter three times from memory. The self-intruction procedure was them implemented for another single manuscript letter.
Measure the student's letter formation during the treatment on a scale from one (illegible) to five (very legible). (This particular study used the Bezzi Handwriting scale (1962)). Record the data witha multiple baseline across subjects graph design. Complete a follow up after six weeks from the last day of the interevention. Ask the student to write the given letter five times and evaluate according to the one through five rating system. Compare this data to the baseline and intervention data points.
Graham, S. (1983). The effect of self-instructional procedures on LD students' handwriting performance. Learning Disabilities Quarterly 6 (pp. 231-243).
Rebecca Kettinger and Betsey Kaestner, UVA
Improving students' handwriting skills and letter formation
Kindergarten and 3rd grade students learning handwriting
The teacher used perceptual prompts including visual demonstration, verbalization, and subject verbalization to improve students' copying ability. To introduce new letters, the teacher wrote the letters on the chalkboard while explaining what she was doing. As she wrote each letter, the teacher guided herself with statements describing what she was doing (e.g., "To make a 't,' I go up and up and then come back down the same way and then I go on the next letter, but I come back and cross the 't.'"). The students repeated the verbalized and written stroke sequences of the teacher. Finally, students individually copied and verbalized each form several times after the teacher-directed training.
Administer a letter form reproduction test. Record the percentage of correct reproductions or the percentage of accurate steps completed in the reproductions.
Hayes, D. (1982). Handwriting practice: The effects of perceptual prompts. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 15, 169-72.
Katy Linnenberg, and Rhonda Kalifey Aluise, UVA
forming letters correctly, spacing words appropriately, forming letters to a size relative to space provided
Elementary grade students with learning disabilities
The experiment took place in a small group setting, where the teacher was able to provide individual instruction. The participants wrote in journals for at least five minutes, and the teacher evaluated this writing sample according to a defined criteria. The student earned a point if the letter was no more than 1/16 inch below or above the line, if the letter was correctly formed according to "Building Handwriting Skills" (McDougal, Littell, & Co., 1982), if capital letters or lower case letters with ascenders were the correct height, and lower case letters were 1/2 the space tall. The students were scored by dividing their points by the total points possible, thereby creating a percentage that indicated their baseline performance level. The second portion of the experiment included a student self-evaluation, consisting of a card containing handwriting guidelines (such as paper and pencil position, letter placement, etc.). After completing a handwriting assignment, the student checked the guidelines he had met and placed an X by those he had not. Each day the teacher reminded the students to review their guideline cards, and the students were shown their progress on a graph. At the end of the experiment, the teacher reminded the students to keep the guidelines in mind, but they were not required to actually record their progress.
Tracking development by comparing baseline scores, task-card cued results, and self-cued results
Blandford, B. J., & Lloyd, J. W. (1987). Effects of a self-instructional procedure on handwriting. Journal of Learing Disabilities, 20, 342-346.
Amy Angelo, Melissa Register, and Kelley Smith, UVA
Improving handwriting and letter recognition skills
A six-year-old boy with handwriting and letter recognition problems
The procedure required two sets of index cards containing letters of the student's name. The letters were upper case for the student's first and second initial and lower case for the remaining letters. One set was pink with black lettering and the other yellow with letters made from orange yarn which were glued onto the index cards.
In phase 1, the student was instructed to verbally identify the letters on the pink cue cards; then he was instructed to print on a sheet of paper the model letters shown on the cue cards; last, he was instructed to print his name on a sheet of paper without using model letters. In phase 2, the student was instructed to verbally identify the letters in the yellow set of cue cards. If the student responded correctly, he was given a piece of candy as a reinforcer; if the student responded incorrectly, he was instructed to outline the shape of the letter on the cue card using his fingertip. Next, worksheets were used to improve handwriting skills and self-evaluation took place by laying transparancies over the letters previously completed by the student. Last, the student was required to print his name on a sheet of paper without using model letters. Verbal prompts were used to encourage self-evaluation. No reinforcers were used in phases 3 and 4. Phase 3 was the same as phase 1; phase 4 was the same as phase 2.
Record the percentage of correct verbal labelings of response letters; the percentage of correct written responses with model letters, and; the percentage of correct written responses without model letters.
Fauke, J., Burnett, J., Powers, M.A., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1973). Improvement of handwriting and letter recognition skills: A behavior modification procedure. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 6, 25-29.
Kathy Miner, and Gregory Wolf, UVA