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Handwriting instruction in elementary schools

by Asha V. Asher
American Journal of Occupational Therapy ()


OBJECTIVE: Classroom teachers teach handwriting, but when problems arise, students are referred to occupational therapy for remediation. This study, conducted by occupational therapists, reviews handwriting instruction by classroom teachers in one school district. METHOD: Teachers from kindergarten through grade 6 were asked to complete an open-ended questionnaire regarding handwriting instruction. RESULTS: Teachers differed in their methods of instruction, including in the programs and paper used, and practice provided. Teachers of grades 5 and 6 had to continue to review handwriting instruction, because all students could not fluently use handwriting as a tool of expression. CONCLUSION: Elementary students need structured instruction to develop the motor skill of writing. School-based occupational therapists can support effective handwriting instruction by interpreting information from motor learning theory pertaining to instruction and practice, which supports acquisition, transfer, and retention of handwriting skills. They also need to be cognizant of prior handwriting instruction when addressing handwriting difficulties.

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