Handwriting and Motor Skill Learning

Ghanamah, R.

Handwriting is a perceptual-motor skill, acquired through repetitive practice. Handwriting production is most often characterized by performance speed (also termed ‘production fluency’, often assessed using text-copying tasks and legibility. Studies have found that handwriting legibility develops quickly during first grade (ages 6–7 years), reaching a plateau by second grade. In some cultures, depending on practice level, by third grade, handwriting becomes automatic, organized, and available as a tool to facilitate the development of ideas. However, handwriting is not a straightforward motor skill and has been linked with reading development. Measures of motor proficiency that correlate with handwriting production in school-aged children show an indirect effect on handwriting via reading-related skills, such as orthography, underscoring reading as a mediator of the association between motor proficiency and handwriting production. Many processes are common to reading and writing. In particular, both are related to the acquisition of a common writing system, comprised of symbols, and share common motor procedures, such as those related to directionality. In this chapter, we focus on the practice required for the acquisition of a written symbol, that is, a letter, and to the association between the ability to acquire single letter writing, handwriting, and reading.

Ghanamah, R.,  Julius, M.S., &  Adi-Japha, E. (2023). Handwriting and Motor Skill Learning. In Y.,  Ye, T., Inose, U., Maurer, &  C., McBride (Eds.). Routledge International Handbook of Visual-motor skills, Handwriting, and Spelling: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 63-77). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003284048  


Last Updated Date : 24/08/2023