• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting
 

What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting

on

  • 9,000 views

The secrects for teachers to help students write amazing!

The secrects for teachers to help students write amazing!

Statistics

Views

Total Views
9,000
Views on SlideShare
8,996
Embed Views
4

Actions

Likes
2
Downloads
191
Comments
0

1 Embed 4

http://www.slashdocs.com 4

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting Document Transcript

    • WHAT EVERY TEACHER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HANDWRITING by Ramon Abajo, Downhill Publishing CEO & Founder Diego Uribe, Ph.D, Downhill Publishing CMO For more Information on handwriting, please visit www.Fonts4Teachers.com or www.Fonts4Teachersblog.com
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingResource Guide1.Introduction .....................................................................................................................4 1.1. About Handwriting Worksheets 4 Teachers .............................................................52.Why Handwriting? ........................................................................................................6 2.1. Good handwriting instruction is important for several reasons ................................7 2.2. Interesting facts about Literacy & Handwriting ........................................................83. Choosing a Handwriting Program: Vertical vs. Slanted. Manuscript or D´Nealian alphabets? ......................................................................................................................9 3.1. Interesting facts about Handwriting .......................................................................124. Letter Form Anatomy..................................................................................................13 4.1. Boundaries ...............................................................................................................13 4.2. Letter form parts ......................................................................................................135. Abc of GoodHandwriting ............................................................................................14 5.1. Correct letter formation ...........................................................................................14 5.2. Uniform letter size ...................................................................................................15 5.3. Uniform letter alignment .........................................................................................16 5.4. Uniform letter slant .................................................................................................17 5.5. Uniform letter spacing .............................................................................................176. Postures: Right-handed ...............................................................................................19 6.1. Body posture for right-handed students ..................................................................19 6.2. Paper position for right-handed students .................................................................20 6.3. Pencil position for right-handed students ................................................................20 6.4. Body posture for left-handed students ....................................................................21 6.5. Paper position for left-handed students ...................................................................22 6.6. Pencil position for left-handed students ..................................................................227. Strategies for Teaching Handwriting: Practical Decisions ......................................23 7.1. Before teaching handwriting ...................................................................................24 7.2. During handwriting practice....................................................................................26 7.3. After the handwriting session ..................................................................................27 7.4. At Any Time ............................................................................................................28 7.5. Interesting facts about Handwriting ........................................................................29 7.6. To write well, children should mature the following areas .....................................30 7.7. Techniques which may be utilized to teach correct letter formation: visual, auditory and kinesthetic techniques ......................................................................32 7.8. To teachers and parents ...........................................................................................33 7.9. To the student ..........................................................................................................34 2
    • 8. Left-handed ..................................................................................................................35 8.1. Interesting facts about Handwriting ........................................................................379. Handwriting Problems: Dysgraphia ..........................................................................38 9.1. Dysgraphia. What is Dysgraphia? ...........................................................................38 9.2. Interesting facts about Handwriting ........................................................................39 9.3. Why Dysgraphia? ....................................................................................................39 9.4. What are the sings of Dysgraphia? ..........................................................................40 9.5. What strategies can help? ........................................................................................41 9.6. Interesting facts about Handwriting ........................................................................4210. Resources ....................................................................................................................4311. Books and Articles of interest ...................................................................................43 3
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting1. IntroductionCongratulations! You have purchased a wonderful program for teaching handwritingskills in one easy-to-use package. You now have the opportunity to use the student andteacher-friendly exercises to establish a solid foundation for handwriting success.The main purpose of HandwritingWorksheets4Teachers is to assist teachers, specialeducators and parents teaching neat traditional Manuscript (also called Print) andDNealian-Print, and to provide students with a really creative and positive handwritingexperience.HW4T (Handwriting Worksheets4teachers) not only gives you more than 500 pages ofrelevant and fun activities on each style, assisting students to develop pattern movementsand other basic motor skills, proficiency in letter formation and shaping, appropriateletter size, spacing and slope, an ergonomically relaxed posture and confidence in 4
    • writing. It also offers valuable and useful tips and ideas to guide students throughout thelearning process.With the free Adobe Reader® software included on this CD-ROM you will get advancedcontrol over the handwriting templates, as you can easily view and print them. Choosebetween the two different handwriting styles, Manuscript or D’Nealian- Print. Select theappropriate language, English or Spanish.1.1 About Handwriting Worksheets 4 TeachersA major advantage of this program is its flexibility. As with any new skill, children willlearn to handwrite at different speeds. As a teacher you can choose to follow thesuggested order or you can take any exercise and teach it as an independent lesson.Students will perform early literacy exercises matching their level of competency andachievement, ranging from beginner to advanced. Activities include: tracing, tracking,copying and practicing patterns, fun games and activities such as cut and paste, matchingwords, associating letters with sounds, and searching words. Concepts include: thealphabet, numbers, capital letters, lower case and the following vocabulary words: colorwords, numbers words, days of the week, months of the year and animal names. Eachexercise is available in Manuscript and D’Nealian-Print style, and both in English and inSpanish!As a teacher, you will derive great satisfaction from seeing your students’ progress andgain confidence while using HW4T.Handwriting Worksheets4teachers gives you more than 500 pages of relevant and funactivities on each style and language! Manuscript D’Nealian-Print Manuscript D’Nealian-Print English English Spanish Spanish 5
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting2. Why handwriting?Although computers are everywhere in these technological times, handwriting continuesto be an important activity. Certain tasks, such as taking notes, filling out forms, orwriting letters are best performed using handwriting.With the introduction of the typewriter in the late 19th century, the importance ofhandwriting began to diminish and, of course, the personal computer has accelerated thatdecline. It is therefore somewhat ironic that HW4T should use computers to teach anddevelop handwriting skills."Handwriting is for writing….Handwriting is the vehicle carrying information on its way to a destination. If it isillegible, the journey will not be completed. Handwriting, like skin, shows the outside of aperson. But beneath the skin beats the living organism, the lifes blood, the ideas, theinformation… for a person who has poor handwriting, the road ahead is difficult. In spiteof the high quality of ideas and information, the writer will bear a life-long burden…when handwriting flows, the writer has a better access to his own thoughts andinformation.Donald Graves (1983)**Dr. Donald Graves, Professor of Education at the University of New Hampshirehe is ahighly respected authority on the writing processDo you remember when you learned to write? Not long ago, a student`s goodhandwriting was a clear sign of good teacher. Fluent, legible handwriting, perfectlyformed letters, of the correct size, slope and spacing was a reflection of a good education.Nowadays many students struggle to produce neat, legible written work, whether or notthey have accompanying physical or cognitive difficulties. This is due in part to the factthat teachers focus on writing to the exclusion of handwriting. There are so many higherorder needs and curriculum standards to be achieved that teachers very often cant affordthe luxury of time for handwriting practice.Young children have a great desire to write well, but they are often frustrated because oftheir lack of coordination and because they find that it is far from easy to produce finehandwriting. As a result, many children nowadays regard handwriting as unimportant andrather boring and they try to avoid it as much as they can. Handwriting has to be regardedas a major activity. If we are to help students to become good writers we must start toteach them handwriting when they are in early grades. It needs to be a continuousprocess, with specific, clearly defined objectives being targeted. We should praise themfor their efforts, schedule regular practice work and let them see how importanthandwriting is by closely supervising them and monitoring their work. Through regularpractice we improve all our skills and HW4T achieves that end by providing activities 6
    • which are stimulating and enjoyable. Not only that, it also makes life easier for hardworking teachers!2.1. Good handwriting instruction is important for severalreasons:1. "Handwriting provides an educationally relevant manual, visual, kinesthetic and tactile reinforcement for the basics of learning to read, write and spell." (Kate Gladstone)**2. Handwriting is not an isolated activity, but rather a complex perceptual-motor skill that involves the maturation of a number of cognitive and motor skills. Young children who are learning handwriting are also learning to write, read and spell. Having difficulty in letter recognition, which is one of the most critical skills for early learners, can have a damaging impact on all 3 other areas. 7
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting3. Research shows that students who approach written tasks with confidence gain more from them. Students who have learnt to handwrite efficiently can better employ their mental energy focusing on content and other higher thinking skills. In this way written tasks become enjoyable and enriching experiences.4. Studies show that legible papers receive higher grades than illegible ones.5. Good handwriting is a pleasure to read and the sign of a good education. Bad handwriting is the sign of a poor education.** Kate Gladstone The Handwriting Repairwoman. She has developed the HandwritingRepair method.2.2. Interesting facts about Literacy & Handwriting2.2.1. Handwriting and History1. Although writing has only been around for about 5,000 years, people have spoken for at least fifty to one hundred thousand years!2. In the 15th Century only a privileged élite in Europe could read or write. By the year 1800 literacy had reached the ordinary people.3. Statistics show a direct correlation between the growth of a countrys GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the demand for paper. By 1913 Japan, although not yet economically advanced, was publishing more books than Britain and almost twice as many as the United States. By the early 20th Century Japan had achieved near-100% literacy and this clearly influenced the subsequent economic growth of the county.4. Napoleons handwriting was so atrocious that notes he sent to his commanders look like maps of the battleground.5. George Washington, on the other hand, had excellent handwriting. As a boy he practiced copying the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation. The 110 rules were a model for good behavior and manners. Washington copied these rules from a translation of a work produced in the 1500s by Jesuits. One of the copies written when he was about 12 years old is kept in the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Here are the first ten rules:Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior 1. “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are Present." 8
    • 2. When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually discovered. 3. Show nothing to your Friend that may affright him. 4. In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet. 5. If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside. 6. Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop. 7. Put not off your Cloths in the presence of others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed. 8. At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Comer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary. 9. Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it. 10. When you sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.3. Choosing The Right Program: Vertical vs.Slanted Manuscript or DNealian alphabets?When teaching handwriting there are questions that need to be answered before choosingthe method of instruction: is it better to teach Traditional Handwriting letter forms, or isit better to teach using the slanted alphabets? Good samples of Traditional (also calledManuscript, Print, or Vertical alphabet) are Zanner-Bloser©, Palmer, A Reason ForHandriting© McDougal-Littell© and Harcourt Brace©. Samples of slanted alphabets(also called Italic) are DNealian© and Betty-Dubay©. Other programs are Abeka©,Peterson Directed© and Handwriting Without Tears©What are the differences and how do these differences affect children when learning towrite? The debate on vertical versus slanted handwriting instruction has gone on sinceslanted handwriting instruction first begun in 1968. There are no easy answers to thequestions of which alphabet is easier to read, is easier to write, easier to teach or whichalphabet leads on more easily to the transition to cursive writing. There are manydifferent styles of handwriting, but in HandwritingWorksheets4Teachers we have focusedon two of them: Traditional Print and DNealian-Print, without getting involved in thedebate. We have developed hundreds of activity sheets in both styles. You are free tochoose the option which is most appropriate to your needs. To gain a betterunderstanding of the differences and correlation between Traditional Print & Cursivehandwriting on the one hand and D’Nealian-Print & D’Nealian-Cursive on the other, letsexamine the two alphabets: 9
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingTraditional Manuscript alphabet:Traditional Cursive alphabet:The popularity of the Traditional Handwriting (Manuscript) alphabet is due to the factthat it can easily be learnt by initial learners. Letters look more like the typeface lettersfound in books, on children’s TV programs, signs, highways and other public places.Children can easily recognize them. Letters are composed of only 4 single strokes:Vertical lines: Horizontal lines:Diagonal lines: Circles and semicircles:Detractors of this method of instruction say that vertical, horizontal and round strokes aredifficult for most children to learn, and, what is even worse, by third grade the studentshave to completely abandon this method and start learning an entirely different system-Cursive writing.In the Cursive writing alphabet, letters are connected to form words; letters are slanted,each starting from the guide-line or the baseline. There are very few reversible letters.Cursive writing gives words a rhythmic flow. It is more complex for beginners but,paradoxically, cursive writing has advantages of print for students with dysgraphia. 10
    • The DNealian handwriting alphabet was designed by teacher Don Neal Thurber and isnamed after him. His idea was to create an alphabet similar to cursive. In fact, it was seenas a kind of bridge between traditional print and cursive. DNealian uses unconnectedletter forms like traditional manuscript, but its letter forms are slanted, like in cursive, andit uses continuous strokes. The idea behind the DNealian handwriting alphabet was forchildren to learn a simple, slanted alphabet, with continuous strokes. Being similar tocursive, students would not be required to learn two completely different alphabets.DNealian Print:DNealian Cursive:Given this reasoning, the teaching of a slanted alphabet such as DNealian would appearto be the option of choice, but even though they were designed in such a way as to makethe transition to cursive both quick and easy, the slanted styles still have many opponents.After several years of use in some schools, research has found amazing answers to somesignificant questions in the ongoing debate of vertical versus slanted styles. Studies by(Graham 1992), (Kuhl and Dewitz 1994), (Hakcney 1991) and (Berninger and Graham)make a more detailed examination in terms of the ease of transition and the degree ofstudent satisfaction. Here are two amazing conclusions from a study carried out byBerninger and Graham***: 1. Children who use a mixed style of writing, i.e. using elements from both Print and DNealian alphabets, wrote as legibly as or more legibly than students who wrote in only one style. 2. Both alphabets function well but the idea that "Print is Print and DNealian is DNealian, and never the twain shall meet" appears to be false. Mixed writing has superior results in terms of speed and at least equal results in terms of legibility 11
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting***(Check Berninger and Graham research link at the end of this section for moreinformation.)3.1. Interesting facts about Handwriting3.1.1. Handwriting and Entertainment:Illegibility can be hilarious. Woody Allen, playing an inept bank robber in his 1969movie Take the Money and Run, thrust a letter to a bank teller.– The note says: "I am pointing a gun at you."– The teller says: "I cant read this. What does this say?–"I am pointing a gun at you" –replies the bank robber.– "That looks like "gub", –says the teller As they argue over the illegible word, cops arrive and arrest him.3.1.2. Handwriting and Medicine: 1. Poor and illegible handwriting is identified as the principal cause of medication error. According to the MER Program (Medication Errors Reporting Program) 93% of prescriptions are read by the pharmacist only with difficulty, and even in hospitals-some 10% of prescriptions cannot be deciphered. 2. According to the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices) more than two million cases of prescription errors caused by poor handwriting are reported annually in the United States. To remedy this situation there are services designed to help doctors write and send prescriptions via Wireless Application Protocol - enable cell phones and digital devices. One of these services, OnCallData is priced at about $30.00 per month per physician. 3. It has been shown that illegibly written drug prescriptions are factors in medical mistakes and account for over 100,000 deaths annually in the nation. Data suggest that over 25% of medical errors result from mistakes in writing prescriptions. 4. The Washington State House of Representatives attempted to pass an original bill recently that would have required medical prescriptions to be printed, typed or computer generated. But Bill 2798, a substitute, scrapped that in favor of a bill that simply requires that a prescription for a drug must be legible to the pharmacist…legible means capable of being read and understood. 5. Doctors have a reputation for terrible handwriting. It is Barbara Betsys job (a teacher and handwriting specialist who developed the Getty-Dubay handwriting program in conjunction with Inga Dubay) to make sure doctors handwriting can 12
    • be deciphered. She teaches lessons in legibility at a class run by Kaiser Permanente, a health maintenance organization, in the Portland, Oregon area.4. Letter Form Anatomy4.1. Boundaries:Baseline: the imaginary horizontal line over which the letters restCapline: the imaginary horizontal line resting over the tops of the uppercase lettersMeanline: the imaginary horizontal line resting over the tops of the lowercase lettersX-height: the height of a lowercase letter; traditionally the height of the letter "x"Leading: the distance from one baseline of text to the next, or the space added betweensuccessive rows of textLetter spacing: the distance between single letters and words4.2. Letter form parts:Ascender: the portion of a lowercase letter that extends over the x-height (e.g., b, d, l).Descender (or downstroke): the portion of a lowercase letter that extends below thebaseline (e.g., g, p, q).Slant: when letters slope to the right. The cursive alphabet is an example. 13
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingSerif: small decorative horizontal lines added at the terminations of the vertical letterform (stem) to improve readability (e.g., f, h, k,)San-serif: without serifs or small horizontal lines at the end of the vertical part of theletter (e.g. h, I, k).Ligature: when letters are connected. Cursive alphabet it is a sample of it (e.g. ligature).5. ABC of Good HandwritingThere are five vital components to handwriting, regardless of whether the child islearning print handwriting, cursive handwriting, or slanted handwriting: 1) Correct letter formation 2) Uniform letter size 3) Uniform letter alignment (staying on the line) 4) Uniform letter slant 5) Uniform letter spacingDifficulty in some of these areas results in poor legibility. Children should focus on oneobjective at a time: first correct letter formation, then letter size, and finally letteralignment, slant and spacing.5.1. Correct letter formation:QUICK EFFICIENT AND CLEAR handwriting results from direct monitoring andfrequent practice. Teaching the basics of letter formation is the first step in teachinghandwriting; this means showing the correct letter formation and shape, and supervisingstudents until they have achieved mastery. There are some special handwriting fonts thatcan help at this stage ( www.fonts4teachers.com )It takes time to learn proper letter formation, but the effort is rewarding. Whenever astudent forms a letter using strokes that minimize unwanted and unnatural movements,his/her hand muscles will be protected and mental fatigue will be avoided. Students whohave mastered letter formation efficiently use more efficient movements, gaining inwriting speed and clarity, and are better able to focus on the higher-level skills ofspelling, content and expression. 14
    • General tips on correct letter formation:1. Print alphabet: all lower case letters start at the top:2. Cursive and slanted alphabets: 1. Letters finishing at the top join horizontally: 2. Letters finishing at the bottom join diagonally: 3. All lowercase letters start at the baseline (guide-line):5.2. Uniform letter size:Once a student has mastered letter formation, he/she should practice with wide guidelinesin order to learn to control size and to develop uniformity of size.At first, children make their letters too big, too small or inconsistent. Practicing suchactivities as pattern sequences, tracking, tracing and copying, enables students to developcorrect letter size, shape and formation. It also enhances their stroke control.Downhill Publishing has developed unique activity sheets and school fonts with specialcharacters to assist teachers in helping students to develop uniform letter size.General tips on uniform letter size: 15
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting 1. Letters that are similar have the same height: 2. Ascenders and descenders are no more than twice the height of the x-height (lowercase letters): 3. Capital letters are the same height as ascenders:5.3. Uniform letter alignment (staying on the line):It is also very common for beginners to write letters that float above or dip below thebaseline (guide-line). In these circumstances, legible handwriting is dependent upon thedevelopment of good fine-motor skills, such as precision, balance and hand-eyecoordination. To develop these skills use activities such as tracing games, dot to dotdrawing, playing with clay, small blocks, Legos© and puzzles.General tips on letter alignment: 1. All letters (upper and lower case) sits on the baseline (or the very top of the guide-line): 16
    • 2. All ascenders and descenders sits on an imaginary line parallel to the baseline:5.4. Uniform letter slant:Once proper letter formation and size has been achieved, it is time to focus on letter slant.Manuscript or Print handwriting do not require slant. Cursive and DNealian writing oftenlook sloppy just because the letters do not all slant uniformly.General tips on uniform letter slant: 1. Neat handwriting is based on patterns of ovals (or circles) and parallel lines: 2. All the downstrokes, ascenders and descenders are parallel: 3. Draw a straight vertical line through the center of each letter. These lines should all be parallel. Slant may therefore be improved by drawing straight parallel lines through the center of each letter as a guide.5.5. Uniform Letter spacing:Neat and legible handwriting requires the same spacing between single letters and words.Omitting or leaving extra spaces between single letters and words is a common mistake,which can make writing hard to read. A child will learn uniform spacing by placing aPopsicle stick or one or two fingers between words. 17
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingGeneral tips on letter spacing: 1. The space between words is about the size of letter "n": 2. Uniform and proper leading: ascenders and descenders from two different lines should not touch each other. Allow enough space between lines so that the ascenders and descenders do not touch each other:On the HandwritingWorksheets4teachers CD-ROM accompanying this manual you willfind plenty of activity sheets which are designed to help students attain proficiency inletter formation and shaping, size, slant, spacing and alignment.In addition, Downhill Publishing LLC has developed Fonts4Teachers, another programcontaining a collection of handwriting fonts which are able to print special tracingcharacters, lines, dots, arrows or a combination of all three. This wonderful software willhelp you create professional-looking activity sheets in just a few minutes. Here are someexamples of the fonts contained in this CD-ROM (see page &&& for furtherinformation): 18
    • Handwriting sequence:1-2-3-4.... 1. Begin practicing lines, shapes and patterns, and then shaping the strokes into letters. Encourage children to draw all vertical lines from the top to the bottom, and horizontal lines from left to right. Circular shapes should begin at the 2 oclock position, moving around counter clock-wise, like letter "c". 2. Teach first the letter, then the corresponding sound. Later on teach how the letter is formed (use visual, auditory and kinesthetic input). 3. Children should practice writing the letters on unlined paper, without arrows. 4. Later, they should practice on lined paper with arrows. This will develop correct letter formation, size control and size uniformity. 5. Work on forming letters, then words, and then sentences. 6. It is also important to show children the correct posture and how to hold their pencil and paper.6. Postures: Right-Handed6.1. Body posture for right-handed students: 1. A child should sit on a small table with a chair of the correct height. The writing surface should be near the bottom rib when the child is seated. 2. The child should sit straight and have both feet flat on the floor. 3. Both arms should be placed on the table. A strong and stable trunk is vital for good handwriting. The trunk provides thestability necessary for fine motor tasks like writing. Signs of poor trunk control happenwhen a child leans his arms or body on the table, or rests his head on his hands evenduring a 10 minute coloring activity. 19
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting6.2. Paper position for right-handed students:Students should sit comfortably, with their writing paper in front of their right shoulderand with their left hand on the paper. Some students need to move the paper further overand this is also acceptable.It is also acceptable for students to turn the paper slightly to the left (counter-clockwise)as long as this does not adversely affect their posture.Allow students to position their paper and always have them begin at the top of the page.In this way the innate movement tendencies of a beginner will automatically follow thecorrect directionality that is, left to right.6.3. Pencil position for right-handed students:The pencil should be held (not gripped) between thumb and forefinger, resting on the firstknuckle of the middle finger. The pencil should be pointing toward the right shoulder.The writing tip should be about one inch) from the finger hold (see picture 1). 20
    • A loose comfortable grip is important for our hands. Most children make the transitionfrom toddler grasp to holding a pen correctly by themselves. Students who do not, can begently guided towards the correct grip by being encouraged to draw using a pencil grip.If a child has problems with a grip, we recommend slipping a pencil grip onto the childspencil. Such a device positions the childs fingers correctly on the pencil and keeps thefingers from slipping out of position. Pencil grips come in different styles, colors andhand preference (right or left). Prices range from $.30 to $2.00 and can be found atparents/teachers and office supply stores.There is an alternative pencil hold which is usually favored by people with long fingers.In this position the pencil rests between the second and the third finger (see picture 2). Picture 1. Picture 2. Right-handed Right-handed Regular pencil position Alternative pencil position6.4. Body posture for left-handed students:Left-handed writers should follow the same instructions as those given to right-handedwriters, with a few exceptions.Left-handed students can develop some bad body position habits. Be sure that they sit upstraight, that their body is not twisted and that both feet are placed on the floor and botharms on the table. 21
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting6.5. Paper position for left-handed students:Coaching lefties to properly position the paper allows them to produce efficientmovements of left arm and wrist, and also prevents discomfort.Students should place their writing paper in front of their left shoulder, holding it in placewith their right hand. Some students need to move the paper further over and this is alsoacceptable as long as it does not adversely affect their posture.Students should slant the paper about 45 degrees to the right (clockwise). This is a greaterangle than that for right-handed use. This will help to produce better down strokemovements.6.6. Pencil position for left-handed students:The pencil should be held (not squeezed) with the first two fingers and thumb, with thepencil resting near the big knuckle. The pencil should be pointed towards the left elbow.Left-handed writers will find it easier to keep the writing tip slightly further from thefinger hold than right-handed writers, about an inch and a half from the finger hold. Left- 22
    • Handed writers should not hook their wrists or have their elbow too close to their body.This posture will cause fatigue (see picture 1).There is an alternative pencil hold which is often favored by left-handed writers with longfingers. In this hold, the pencil rests between the second and the third finger (see picture2). Picture 1. Picture 2. Left-handed Left-handed Regular pencil position Alternative pencil position7. Strategies for Teaching Handwriting: Practical DecisionsLearning to write in a clear, fast and legible manner is an ongoing process that takeseffort and time. The handwriting learning curve begins in pre-school or kindergarten andcontinues up through to fifth or sixth grade.This section is designed to offer: • Practical ideas to be implemented before, during and after the writing process • Specific guidelines for students • Specific tips for teachersMost if not all of these suggestions are probably not new to you. However we hope theyare useful. 23
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting7.1. Before teaching handwriting: There are some practical decisions to consider before starting teachinghandwriting: a. The method of instruction: There are many different styles you can choose from before starting to teach handwriting. This issue is discussed this issue on page b. The writing instrument: The writing instrument should be held rather than squeezed. Young children find a wide pencil more comfortable. Many children prefer hexagonal pencils to round ones as this shape gives them a better grip. Some educators however argue that "small hands manage thin pencils more easily". The obvious course of action is try one type of pencil first and, if the child is happy with it, do not change. If the child is not happy with it, try other types until you find the right one. c. A pencil grip? If a child has problems with a grip, we recommend slipping a pencil grip onto the childs pencil. Such a device positions the childs fingers correctly on the pencil and keeps the fingers from slipping out of position. Pencil grips come in different styles, colors and hand preference (right or left). Prices range from about $.30 to $2.00 and can be found at parents/teachers stores and office supply stores. 24
    • Pencil grip or no grip*?*The pencil grip on this picture is from the Pencil Grip Companyd. To erase or not to erase? This is another interesting issue. Some educators feel pretty strongly abouthaving students erasing and rewriting unacceptable work, while others prefer justto show students how to cross out their mistakes neatly with one or two lines. Thelatter argue that erasing undesirable marks not only takes time, but also disturbsthe mental flow that is needed for smooth writing, and it therefore has a damagingeffect on the students self-esteem. A finished paper with neat lines throughmistakes is much cleaner and more attractive than a paper containing smudges andtear stains.To erase or not to erase? 25
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting7.2. During handwriting practice: a. Make sure that your child: 1. Starts the practice with a sharp pencil. 2. Is sitting in a proper writing position, and using both hands: one holding the pencil, the other holding the paper. 3. Is holding the pencil and the paper correctly. 4. Understands the instructions before beginning a handwriting session. 5. Forms the letters correctly as he writes. At an early writing stage it is extremely important to ensure that the child follows the direction of the arrows (or writes in the correct direction) as he practices proper letter formation. It is much more important to form letters correctly than to make then look neat. A child who writes correctly formed letters at this stage will become a fast, fluent writer. Conversely, once kids become accustomed to certain poor habits it is very difficult to get them to change. b. Make sure that you: 1. Show students how to form letters correctly from the very start. 2. Use various approaches to learning: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. 3. It is helpful to begin practice sessions with brief warm-ups – of, say, three to five minutes. The warm-ups would involve having the children write patterns, particularly when they are beginners. This helps them to develop rhythmic movements and proper direction. 26
    • For uniform letter spacing, place one or two fingers between the words. Short warm-ups of three-to-five minutes spent writing patterns 4. To practice uniform letter spacing, children may try placing a Popsicle stick or one or two fingers between the words on the paper.7.3. After the handwriting session:1. Ask your students to evaluate their own work. Have students circle the letter in each line that looks the best. You may also have them choose to circle the letter with the most uneven shape, size, slope or the one that sits most off the writing line. 27
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting 2. Review the assignments as soon as possible. Check that: a. The letters are the correct shape b. All lower case letters are the same height c. All capital letters and ascenders are the same height; all descenders are the same height d. Letters and words are evenly spaced e. Letters have similar slant f. All letters are "seated" on the baseline g. The finished product looks clean without smudges and tear stains 3. Encourage students and praise them for letters and words that are well written and have the student erase (or cross out their mistakes with two lines) and rewrite anything unacceptable.7.4. At any time: At any time during your daily instruction you can put into practice a variety ofactivities that will help your child develop the skills needed using handwriting fonts. Kidsare not able to write well until they have developed the precision, balance and hand-to-eye coordination skills that are needed for handwriting. The good thing about this is thatwith a lot of practice these skills can be greatly improved.There are 3 specific areas in which a child needs to mature: 1. Visual motor skills and visual perception skills. 2. Fine motor skills. 3. Trunk control and shoulder stability. There are several techniques which may be utilized at any time to enhance thehandwriting instruction. You can learn more about visual, auditory and kinesthetic inputat the end of this section. Please go back to page 27 to review the handwriting sequence. 28
    • Ask students to evaluate Ready- made “Certificate their own work. of Achievement” worksheets Visual perception skills Fine motor skills Visual motor skills7.5. …Interesting facts about Handwriting7.5.1. Handwriting and Teachers: Patrick Groff, a literacy researcher in San Diego, has documented that at least oneout of every three school teachers writes so illegibly that his/her students have troublereading teachers corrections on written work and reading blackboard lessons. Someteachers cannot even read their own handwriting, and it has been shown repeatedly thatstudents with good handwriting receive better grades than students with poor handwritingeven when their work is of an identical or similar standard. 29
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting7.5.2. Handwriting and Aeronautics A plane crashed in 1992 because the pilot misunderstood the co-pilots scribblednotes and instrumental readings. Acting on misleading information caused the crash.Similarly, a 1965 NASA failure was due to an engineers scrawled (and misinterpreted)information.7.6. To write well, children should mature the following areas:1. Visual motor skills and visual perception skills, in other words, the ability of theeyes to properly make a meaning of what they see, and the ability to distinguish betweendifferent letters, shapes and forms. These skills also include the ability of the eyes towork in close coordination with the hands.A child with good visual perception skills will distinguish between familiar letters thatlook alike, such as "b" and "d", "p" and "q". Reversing these letters is a good indicationof poor visual perception skills. A child with good visual motor skills will have notrouble copying letters and shapes accurately.Specific activities designed to improve these two areas are outlined below: a. Writing patterns to help develop eye to hand coordination. This activity also helps to improve rhythmic movement and correct directionality. Make this practice short (three-to-five minutes) as a warm-up exercise. From time to time ask the children to write the patterns with their eyes closed. b. Provide Legos© or magnetic letters and ask the students to recognize the letters and to place them in alphabetical order. c. Place an alphabet chart in front of the student. Draw a shape, for instance a vertical line, and ask the child to point out all the letters that include this shape.2. Fine motor skills:Not all children are ready when we want them to write. Providing enjoyable activitiesthat help them to develop fine motor skills pays off when children learn to write.Activities to improve fine motor skills include the following: a. Squeezing objects or playing with cloth pins. This helps to develop finger coordination and strength. b. Playing with Legos© or blocks c. Playing with miniature cars or other small toys d. Projects that involve the use of scissors, tearing and folding paper, cut and paste. e. Playing with puzzles 30
    • f. Teach the child to learn to performing such everyday activities as tying bows, tying shoes and buttoning their clothes. g. Picking up small objects using tweezers h. Stringing small beads i. Playing games that involve the handling of flash cards, cards and other such items a. j) Use fonts for school software Eye-hand coordination Playing with Legos© or blocks using scissors Squeezing objects Picking up small objects3. Trunk control and shoulder stability: Keeping the correct writing posture is essential if we are to guarantee stability andavoid fatigue when writing. A strong, steady trunk, in addition to shoulder stability, is thebase that supports the arms, hands and fingers. If a child leans on the table with his armsor body, or if he rests his head on his hands, this indicates poor trunk control.Activities designed to improve trunk control and shoulder stability and strength areas follows: a. Ask the child to practice "animal walks", such as the "crab", or to sit on the floor with his hands behind his back and his bottom raised upwards. b. Encourage other activities such as "swimming" and writing on the floor. c. Encourage chalkboard activities or writing on a vertical surface (such as a paper positioned on a vertical stand): ask students to draw, color, make circles, lines or letters using large, free movements to strengthen the muscles of the shoulders, hands and fingers. d. Let kids hang by their hands from the jungle gym to strengthen their shoulders and hands. 31
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting7.7. Techniques which may be utilized to teach correct letter formation: visual, auditory and kinesthetic techniques. 1. Visual: write big letters on the board showing the correct letter formation; make large handwriting charts; provide worksheets with arrows beside the letters showing the correct direction. 2. Auditory: give students oral instructions when teaching a letter. Try for instance directions including the concepts of "up" and "down", "left" or "right". Associate shapes of letters with objects (letter "s" looks like a snake). 3. Kinesthetic: provide your students with tactile feedback by making them "touch" the letters. Your students may perform the following activities: Get them to: a) Write imaginary letters in the air b) Make the shapes of the letters with their bodies c) Write letters in sand, shaving cream, salt, clay, etc. d) Paint with their fingers e) Play with Legos©, magnetic or plastic letters f) Trace big letters which you have previously written on a large piece of paper g) March around a place where you can paint large letters h) Use school fonts software Writing on the floor Writing on the chalkboard Using tweezers Write letters in sand Write letters in shaving cream Make letters 32
    • 7.8. To teachers and parents: 1. Try to ensure that the work area is quiet and comfortable. 2. Have all the necessary materials ready: pencils, sharpeners, erasers, crayons, paper… 3. Plan to practice on a daily basis. 4. Keep practice sessions SFF (short, frequent and fun). Limit each session to periods of 5 to 10 minutes with no more than one or two lessons per session. 5. Put emphasis on quality work rather than finishing quickly. 6. Set high standards by own work, putting up neat presentations in notes, books, charts, and on the blackboard. 7. Make writing motivating: let your kids do their work with a bunch of coloring pencils instead of just a black one. 8. Allow the student to develop individual variations as they become more proficient in handwriting. 9. Observe students when they are writing words. This will provide them with immediate feedback on the correctness of their letter formation. This is a somewhat tedious and time-consuming activity but it is very rewarding. When movements have been mastered efficiently, handwriting will become automatic, faster and clearer. 10. Ask your students to evaluate their own work. 11. Review the assignments as soon as possible. 12. Provide your students with positive feedback: 13. Be sure that handwriting activities consist of copying rather than creating sentences or compositions. Separate one activity from the other. Composition requires focusing on content, organization, spelling and punctuation. At an early stage students are overloaded by taking care of letter formation, size, slant and neatness. Handwriting by itself is an arduous task. Adding composition can be tiring and may cause frustration. Only once a student is capable of producing neat handwriting at a reasonable speed, can all final written assignments be required to meet the handwriting standards you have set. 14. Target specific, realistic objectives. Focus on one objective at a time: first letter formation, then letter size, slant, spacing and finally staying on the line. 33
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting 15. Allow students enough time to achieve mastery rather than pressuring them with expectations they are not yet able to meet. If necessary, increase the total time spent each day on handwriting practice. Remember that it is more effective to have two short sessions rather than one long one. Finger painting7.9. To the student:1. Follow your teachers instructions. Make sure that you are sitting comfortably. Writewith one hand and hold the paper with the other. Make sure you are holding your pencilcorrectly.2. The quality of your work is more important than how quickly you do it.3. Be very careful when you are writing a letter for the first time. Carefully follow thedirection of the arrows. By doing this you will form the letter correctly.4. Check your own handwriting and rewrite any letters that are not correct. 34
    • 8. Left-handedStatistics vary, but it is generally accepted that up to 30% of the population are left-handed (siniestrals) or ambidextrous.Left-handers and ambidextrous routinely encounter trivial, annoying and frustratingdifficulties in their daily lives that most right-handers do not understand. But some of theproblems can be serious, resulting in lifelong handicaps or physical injury."Lefties" can develop bad habits when writing because they have difficulty visuallymonitoring their handwriting, as their hand covers their writing. To improve thehandwriting habits we should put into practice what is called the 3 Ps: Posture, Paperposition and Pencil grip. (See to page $$$$ for posture positions.)Left-handed children will have extra difficulties (in addition to those faced by allchildren), such as having to avoid pressing down too hard on the writing surface orholding the pencil too tight. The best way to help these children to overcome thesedifficulties is by listening to them. Tact and encouragement are essential. Being left-handed is not abnormal and it should never be allowed to affect their self esteem. Theydo not enjoy being different from their peers, but can be helped to view their situation ina positive manner. (If you have a particular interest in this topic, please look under"Resources" at the end of this section).If you are left-handed you may like to see some examples of famous left-handed people.The list provides clear proof that being left-handed cannot possibly be considered ahandicap. Much of the information on this list is of common knowledge. However,absolute accuracy cannot be guaranteed.Left-handed presidents- Hebert Hoover (1874-1964) 31th- Harry S. Truman (1884-1964) 33rd- Gerald Ford (1913- ) 38th 35
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting- Ronald Reagan (1924- ) 40th- George H.W. Bush (1924- ) 41st- Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd- Barack Obama (2009- ) 44thLeft-handed U.S. politicians- Benjamin Franklin, states/scientist- Steve Forbes, politician, business man- H. Ross Perot, politician, business man- Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President- Senator Bob Dole-switched to left due to injuryOther left-handed celebrities- Alexander the Great? the king of Macedonia- Julius Cesar, Roman military leader- Charlemagne, Roman Emperor- Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor- Prince Charles, Prince of Wales- Fidel Castro, Cuban leader- Henry Ford, automobile manufacturer- Edwin Buzz Aldrin, astronaut- Albert Einstein- Bart Simpson, cartoon characterLeft-handed authors- Lewis Carrol- Mark Twain- H. G WellsLeft-handed artists:- Michelangelo- Raphael- Leonardo da Vinci- PicassoLeft-handed actors- Keith Carbine- Charlie Chaplin- Tom Cruise- Quinn Cummings- Robert DeNiro- Greta Garbo- Nicole Kidman- Marilyn Monroe 36
    • - Robert Redford- Bruce Willis- Jay Leno, hostLeft-handed musicians- Natalie Cole- Kurt Cabain- Jimmy Hendrix- Chuck Mangione- George Michael- Paul Simon- Bob DylanLeft-handed sports personalities- Johan Cruiff (soccer)- Romario (soccer)- Mark Spitz (swimming)- Oscar de la Hoya (boxing)- Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker (boxing)- Ayrton Senna (Formula 1)- Paul McDonnald (Am. football)- Larry Bird (basketball)- Nick van Exel (basketball)- Jimmy Connors (tennis)- John McEnroe (tennis)- Monica Seles (tennis)- Fernando Valenzuela (baseball)- "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (baseball)8.1. … Interesting facts about Handwriting8.8.1. Handwriting and the Government Each year the United States loses over $200.000.000 as a result of errorsinvolving poor handwriting, according to WIMA (the Writing Instrument ManufacturersAssociation, based in New Jersey). The money, and also time, is lost because such detailsas phone numbers, addresses, item descriptions and forms completed by employees are soillegible that mistakes are made later and extra time is needed to correct the errors.The Post Office: • The Post Office says their automatic systems rejects 60% of all handwritten addresses, with 10 million of them ending up in the dead-letter office because they are impossible to decipher. 37
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About Handwriting • The Post Office in Cohes (New York) has been employing specialist full time staff since 1994 to decipher its daily load of illegible addresses. Otherwise the mail would never reach its destination.The IRS: Each year up to $95.000.000 cannot be delivered in tax refunds because of unreadable tax-forms.The Justice: • A man from Northamptonshire had his case removed from court because the lawyers could not read a policemans written report. Defendant lawyer told court that he couldnt decipher a scribbled statement from the officer and was therefore unable to prepare his defense. Magistrates agreed and the case was thrown out of court. • Jacqueline Joseph is one of the few Pacific Northwest Expert Document Examiners working on the areas of forgery and fraudulent handwriting, altered records, false or denied signatures and handwriting disputes. Trained in handwriting identification, she reports that the FBI says: "there is more crime committed at the point of a pen than at the point of a gun".9. Handwriting Problems9.1. Dysgraphia. What is Dysgraphia?Dysgraphia is of Greek origin. Dys- means "difficulty with". Graphia refers to the"writing process". Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty in the"mechanics" of writing, and generally it is used to refer to extremely poor handwriting.Some people with dysgraphia have illegible handwriting while others write legibly, butwith considerable difficulty. The disorder in children usually emerges when they are firstintroduced to writing. At this stage, they will often write letters which are poorly formed,of the wrong size and poorly spaced, and they will write words wrongly or misspell themeven when they have had good instruction.Dysgraphia is a disorder which seldom exists in isolation. It is normally accompanied byother symptoms or learning disabilities. It may occasionally exist alone, but it is mostcommonly related to other learning problems. Their learning difficulties do not usuallyhave social or psychological consequences. Cases of dysgraphia in adults are usuallycaused by trauma. The underlying cause of the complaint is unknown. 38
    • Dysgraphia can affect a students ability to express ideas. The writing process requiresmany mental functions to operate at the same time, eg. memory, mental organization,motor skills and various aspects of language. Students with dysgraphia come up against asignificant barrier to learning, as they must concentrate on the mechanics of writingrather than on content.9.1.1. Can it be treated?Treatment varies and it may include exercises aimed at improving to the fine motor andperceptual skills involved in writing and to controlling motor disorders. Other treatmentsmay focus on impaired memory or other neurological disorders. (See Who to Contact atthe end of this section for further information).9.1.2. What is the prognosis?Some persons with dysgraphia improve their writing abilities but others are unable toovercome their difficulties.9.2. … Interesting facts about Handwriting9.2.1. Handwriting and Work• A survey conducted by Newsweek in 1980 revealed that some 51% of secretaries havedifficulties reading their bosses` handwriting and that this reduces their efficiency• It is possible to earn a living by mastering the latest techniques for detecting forgeries,solving cases involving disputed documents and analyzing handwriting. ExpertDocument Examination consists of examining documents in order to gather facts whichwill enable us to determine where they originated. Because there is a shortage of expertdocument examiners and an increasing demand, many in the industry charge $1,200 ormore to assess a single document!9.3. Why Dysgraphia?While the cause of this disorder is unknown, evidence indicates that writing requires acertain degree of biological maturity and the development of fine motor skills. The littlemuscles in the hands and fingers must develop so that children are able to hold a pencilcorrectly, balance it well and apply the right amount of pressure to move it effortlesslyalong the paper. The development of perceptual skills, such as good eyesight and hand toeye coordination, is essential. 39
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingIt is probably unfair to blame children for having difficulties producing neat, expressivewritten work. Many times they are victims of the wrong system or the wrong teachingmethods. Mr. Graham Last, Chairman of the Society of Italic Handwriting, says that"teachers themselves are not certain how letters are properly joined". Sometimes theproblem arises because they are forced into writing before they are biologically ready toperform this task. Children who start writing at six-and-a-half or seven years in Germanyand Switzerland do better at the age of 10 than children in England and India, who start atan earlier age. Many specialists advise that the correct age to start formal handwriting issix to six-and-a-half years. Forcing them to start writing before this age is likely to lead tofrustration, low self-confidence and aversion to writing.9.4. What are the signs of Dysgraphia?It is not possible to diagnose Dysgraphia by simply examining a sample of handwriting.The individual in question has to be examined by a qualified clinician. We are simplyproviding the reader with some general information on the subject. If you suspect thatone of your students is having unusual writing difficulties, you should seek the advice ofa trained Special Education specialist or physician specialist. Downhill Publishing LLCproducts have proven to help improve handwriting.Difficulties with writing will often lead to differences of opinion among teachers andparents, and they may cause the student a considerable amount of frustration. Frequently,the student`s difficulties with organizing concepts and expressing them in writing areinterpreted as signs of poor motivation, laziness, carelessness or excessive speed. Whilethese interpretations may be accurate in some cases, a teacher or parent who is examininga students writing may detect dysgraphic problem patterns which, of course, would beoutside the students control.The following is a list of signs to look for as they may indicate dysgraphia 1. Handwriting which is poor or illegible 2. Inconsistent letter formation, letter slant and space between words 3. Unfinished letters or words 4. Mixture of lower and upper case letters 5. Poor alignment (failure to remain on the line), use of margins and poor organization of page 6. Cramped or unusual grip when holding the pencil 7. Awkward wrist, body or paper position 8. Slow speed when writing or copying 9. Heavy reliance on vision, the student paying close attention to his hand as he writes 10. Talking to self when writing 11. Excessive writing fatigue 40
    • 9.5. What strategies can help?The first thing we can do is to understand the student’s inconsistencies.Prevention, Remedial Exercises and Modifications are important elements in thetreatment of dysgraphia. Many problems, indeed, can be prevented by early training.Explicit instruction in the skills required to produce written work, such as showing thecorrect letter formation, will enhance the power of the kinesthetic memory. As frustratingas this may be, mastering letter formation will help the student to make more efficientmovements, to improve writing speed and clarity. It will also, of course, enable thestudent to focus more on the higher level skills of spelling, content and expression and onprotecting the hand muscles and preventing mental fatigue. Muscle training is essential toincreasing strength and dexterity.Students with dysgraphia may benefit from certain modifications in the approach toteaching. Some suggestions are offered below: 1. Allow students to "mix" more than one handwriting style. According to a study carried out by Berninger and Graham, children who use a mixed style of writing, i. e. using elements from both Manuscript alphabets and DNealian alphabets, wrote as legibly as or more legibly than students who wrote in only one style. 2. Give your students more time to finish writing activities. 3. Allow students to use alternative methods (e.g. oral report) to evaluate their knowledge of a subject instead of asking them to write on paper. 4. Encourage students to use a word processor or a computer. The softwares spelling and grammars check abilities, and the mechanics involved in typing offer a great positive reinforcement. 5. Ask students to proofread papers before turning them in. 6. If writing ideas on paper is an obstacle to creativity, using a tape recorder or using pre-organization strategies such as mapping or drawing ideas before putting them on paper may help. 7. When possible shorten writing assignments 8. Create a positive environment: reinforce students efforts, be patient and encourage them to be patient with him/herself. 41
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingDisclaimer:Ideas presented in this section are provided as a source for informational purposes onlyand should not be interpreted as a substitute for professional evaluation or treatment. Ifyou suspect a student is having writing related disorders we ask you to seek the advice ofa trained Special Education specialist or physician specialist. Please be advised that thisdisclaimer absolves Downhill Publishing and writers of any losses or claims for anyinjuries or damages occurring to any children from the performance of suggestedactivities listed above.If you are interested in this topic, please look at “Resources” section at the end of thispart.9.6. … Interesting facts about Handwriting9.6.1. Handwriting and technology Many of us remember a time when speech recognition was only mentioned inthose futuristic movies which took us to a world far removed from reality. However,pattern recognition and machine intelligence (PARMI) has been a very exciting field inthe last 20 years, especially since the democratization of the personal computer. PARMI techniques have been used to recognize characters, voice, satellitepictures, fingerprints and weather patterns in the scientific, military and business fields.There are three areas of considerable interest in which artificial intelligence (AI) interactswith writing: 1. Handwriting Recognition: This is the technique by which a handwriting software programs can recognize characters and other symbols written by hand and transfers them into machine-editable text. Handwriting recognition is commonly used as an input method for Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), such as Apple Newton and Palm Pilot. 2. Optical Character Recognition (OCR): In this case, instead of characters written by hand, a computer recognizes images of typewritten text (usually scanned), and converts them into editable text. 3. Voice/Speech Recognition: Refers to the ability of a computer to receive voice input and translate it in typed form. You can now write documents, notes, or send e-mails without ever having to use a pen or a keyboard. 42
    • The potential of these so-called assistive-devices (software and hardware solutions for people with special needs and for the professionals who work with them), although not yet perfect, is tremendous, especially for people with physical handicaps or disabilities, empowering them to increase productivity and enhance their communication, written expression and academic skills.10. ResourcesAuthors Note: While no means comprehensive, the following list of web links, books,articles and research studies provides a good overview about handwriting instruction andtopics related to it.11. Books and articles of interest*** Berninger, V.W., Graham, S., & Weintraub, N. (1998). The relationship betweenhandwriting style and speed and legibility. The Journal of Educational Research, 91,290–296.Barbe, Walter B. "The Right Way to Write in the Primary Grades." Early Years.November, 1980Hackney, Clinton S. Standard Manuscript or Modified Italic? A Critical Evaluation ofLetter Forms for Initial Handwriting Instruction, 1991.Columbus, OH: Zaner-Bloser Inc.Kuhl, D., and P. Dewitz. "The Effect of Handwriting Style on Alphabet Recognition."1994. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Meeting (NewOrleans).Mason, W.A. "A History of the Art of Writing." 1970, New York: Macmillan.Farris, P.J. Language Arts Process, Product, and Assessment (2nd Edition),1997. Brown& BenchmarkHandwriting Instruction: What Do We Know? ERIC Digest:http://www.homeedsa.com/Articles/Handwriting%20Instruction%20What%20Do%20We%20Know.aspGetty, Barbara and dubay, Inga, Write Now: A Complete Self-Teaching Program ForBetter Handwriting [Portland State U.] 43
    • What Every Teacher Should Know About HandwritingJarman, Christopher, Development of Handwriting Skills: Basil Blackwell, 1999Web LinksLearning disabilities. Who to ContactLearning Disabilities Association of America4156 Library RoadPittsburgh, PA 15234(412) 341-8077E-mail: info@ldaamerica.orgWeb: http://www.ldanatl.org/National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)P.O. Box 1968(55 Kenosia Avenue)Danbury, CT 06813-1968orphan@rarediseases.orghttp://www.rarediseases.orgThe National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892http://www.ninds.nih.gov/Handwriting styleshttp://www.zanerbloser.comhttp://www.mcdougallittell.comhttp://www.harcourtschool.comhttp://www.scottforesman.comhttp://www.peterson-handwriting.comhttp://www.areasonfor.comhttp://www.abeka.comLeft-handed:http://www.petersonhandwriting.com/Early%20Childhood/Lefthandedchild.htmlHandwriting Interest Group: http://www.handwritinginterestgroup.org.ukWorld Handwriting Contest & Kate Gladstone:http://www.global2000.net/handwritingrepair/WHAC/index.htmlHandwriting fonts: http://www.fonts4teachers.com or www.fonts4teachersblog.com 44
    • [Fonts4Teachers] You Get Up To $250 Amazon Coupon When You School Buys ALicence (83)[Fonts4Teachers] Get A $250 Amazon Coupon When Your School Buys A License (74) 45