skill of handwriting. Handwriting is not a skill that children no by fdh56iuoui

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									   Handwriting, or penmanship, is an important fine motor skill learned and refined in
   grades K –3. It is a skill that must be taught. Students must be instructed in how to
   correctly form the letters of the alphabet and they must be given time to practice the
   skill of handwriting. Handwriting is not a skill that “children no longer need to be
   taught.” English is a top-to-bottom, left-to-right language. This type of progression is
   a critical reading skill, but is also critical to handwriting success. Without instruction,
   children may draw their letters in very inefficient ways. They may start some letters
   from the bottom, some from the top, some from the left, and some from the right.
   “Children who have to think about how to make each letter typically draw letters
   inconsistently, switching the way they write the same letter depending on whim or on
   the previous letter written. Even children who are consistent in their own way sacrifice
   the speed and neatness that comes with correct and consistent habits. Children put so
   much effort into the act of handwriting that they have limited energy left to express
   their thoughts effectively on paper.” (Olsen, 1996)

       “In recent years, there has been a tendency to downplay or even eliminate handwriting instruction
       as part of the writing program (Beringer, 1999; Graham & Weintraub, 1996), as approaches
       such as whole language and process writing have placed greater emphasis on content and process
       and much less emphasis on form. The findings from the current study as well as the investigations
       by Berninger et al. (1997) and Jones and Christensen (1999), however, indicate such an
       approach may be ill-advised with beginning writers who experience difficulty in initially
       mastering the intricacies of handwriting.”

       “Students benefit from explicit and supplemental instruction in how to form and fluently write the
       letters of the alphabet, as they evidenced improvement in both their handwriting and
       compositional skills. Thus if educators want to improve the writing of students, they need to focus
       not just on the content and process of writing, but on transcription skills such as handwriting as
       well.” Manning, M. (1988, Winter). Handwriting Instruction. Childhood Education, 112-114

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) contains standards for gaining increasing
control of particular aspects of penmanship at specific grade levels.* These aspects include
pencil grip, paper position, stroke, posture, correct letter formation, appropriate size, and
spacing. The standards do not address when cursive handwriting is to be learned. This
decision is to be made by each school district in keeping with its curriculum and
instructional philosophy. At Spicewood, we introduce cursive to students in second grade
with the expectation that they slowly increase their use of cursive and decrease their use
of manuscript.




                                       C:\Documents and Settings\MikulencakK\Desktop\Handwriting in Grades K-8.doc
TEKS Requirements to Support Handwriting Instruction
1) Kindergarten- The student is expected to:
   Write his/her own name and other important words
   Write each letter of the alphabet, both capital and lower case
   Write messages that move left-to-right and top-to-bottom on the page
   Gain increasing control of penmanship such as pencil grip, paper position and beginning stroke

2) First Grade- The student is expected to:
   Write each letter of the alphabet, both capital and lowercase, using correct formation, appropriate size,
   and spacing
   Write messages that move left-to-right and top-to-bottom on the page
   Gain increasing control of penmanship such as pencil grip, paper position and stroke, posture

3) Second Grade- The student is expected to:
   Gain increasing control of aspects of penmanship such as pencil grip, paper position, stroke
       and posture, and using correct letter formation, appropriate size, and spacing
   Use word and letter spacing and margins to make letters readable

4) Third Grade- The student is expected to:
   Gain more proficient control of all aspects of penmanship.

5) The TEKS standard for penmanship in grades 4 – 8 requires that students write legibly by selecting
   cursive or manuscript as appropriate.


By directly teaching handwriting in the K-2 levels, we believe that we will impact our
students in all academic areas. We hope that teaching handwriting techniques will make
handwriting an automatic and natural skill. “Children, who know how to write, want to write.”
(Olsen, J. Handwriting Without Tears guidelines for a 1-2 hour in-service).

At Spicewood, we use the Handwriting Without Tears series in grades K-2 to support
handwriting instruction. Our Grade Level Expectations are:
   Kindergarten – Students will learn to properly form all upper and lower case manuscript
   letters (with an emphasis on writing from top to bottom), as well as learn to properly
   form numbers
   First Grade – Students will become proficient in manuscript writing
   Second Grade – Students will transition from handwriting paper to notebook paper in
   the first nine weeks; learn how to form all upper and lower case letters in cursive; be
   expected to connect letters in cursive by the end of the year; be able to read cursive
   from the chalkboard by the end of the year; and be able to write their heading in
   cursive by the end of the year
   Third Grade – Students will practice writing in cursive and by the second semester be
   expected to write in cursive on any assigned task, as well as read various forms of
   cursive writing
   Fourth and Fifth Grade - Students will be expected to write assignments in cursive upon
   teacher request

Sources
*Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills K.14 (E), 1.17 (E), 2.15 (A), 3.15 (A)




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**Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills 4.16 (A), 5.16 (A), 6.16 (A), 7.16 (A), 8.16 (A)

Source: Dr. Mary F. “Muffet” Livaudais
        Director of English Language Arts
        Department of Curriculum and Professional Development
         Texas Education Agency




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