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Development of Handwriting Speed and Legibility in Grades 1—9

Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub and William Schafer
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 92, No. 1 (Sep. - Oct., 1998), pp. 42-52
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27542188
Page Count: 11
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Development of Handwriting Speed and Legibility in Grades 1—9
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Abstract

The development of handwriting speed and legibility in 900 children in Grades 1—9 was examined. Each student completed 3 writing tasks: copying a paragraph, writing a narrative, and writing an essay. The children's speed of handwriting on the copying task typically increased from one grade to the next, but the pace of development was uneven during the intermediate grades and leveled off in Grade 9 as speed began to approximate adult speeds. In contrast, improvement in handwriting legibility on the 3 writing tasks was primarily limited to the intermediate grades. Girls' handwriting was more legible than boys' handwriting, and the girls wrote faster in Grades 1, 6, and 7. Right-handers were also faster than left-handers, but there was no difference in the legibility of their written products. Finally, handwriting speed contributed significantly to the prediction of legibility on the narrative and expository writing tasks, but the contribution was small, accounting for only 1% of the variance.

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