Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Guest Post by Dr. Beverly Moskowitz, OT & Handwriting Expert!

 We call it our Song and Dance.
The Rules for Letter Size, that is.

These are the lyrics for Size One Letters:  
Size One Letters….
                        They have to touch the Top Line
                        They have to touch the Bottom Line
                        They can’t go higher
                        They can’t go lower
                        And they can’t float in the middle.

The dance moves include motioning toward an imaginary Top Line, motioning to an imaginary Bottom Line, twirling a finger upward, twirling a finger downward and finally making a waving motion alternately with both hands in the middle.

Were you expecting a Top 10?   Sorry.  (Although, it looks a lot better in person!)

But the point is that the kids love it… AND remember it.  It’s a sound bite.  This is the Rule that we repeat over and over and over again.  Like a mantra.  Before your children print a Size One letter, and especially if they’ve printing a letter the wrong size, review the Rule.  Ask the students to sing and dance with you.  Then ask them to score their printing.

Based on the Rule, children will be able to critique each letter.  If it is touching the Writing Lines in all the right places, it is Star-Worthy.  Draw a star overtop.  If it is not…. Underline it.  All the underlined letters earn a roll of the dice.  In this way, you can sneak extra handwriting practice into any writing activity, for any subject and at any time of the day.

Did that seem too simple?  I have a secret for you.  It is.

But don’t take my word for it.  Let’s talk evidence.

The Size Matters Handwriting Program underwent the largest research study ever on handwriting.  Over 200 students from 2 states, one rural (upstate New York) and one urban (Massachusetts) participated in an 8 week intervention.  There were 3 grades—Kindergarten, First and Second, and a control and intervention group in each grade.  Three different standardized or norm-referenced tests were given at 3 different intervals—to develop a Baseline, as a Pretest and lastly, as a Posttest.

The results for the Intervention groups in all 3 grades in both schools showed differences in the change scores from Pretest to Posttest at a .001 level.  What this means is that there is a 99.9% chance that change happened because of the treatment.  The statistician who ran the data was so impressed, he wrote the result section himself.

This is huge.  The emphasis on Letter Size became the light bulb in the pursuit of legibility.  The Control teachers were so impressed by the immediate and dramatic change in the treatment group’s printing that they couldn’t wait for the study to be over.  They wanted to turn their students onto the Size Matters concepts, too.

The journal article has been submitted.  We are waiting a publication date.  Once we are queued up, we will send up the flares.  Write to me:  bev[@] to share the hot news.


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