Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spelling, Handwriting and Children with Dyslexia

handwriting spelling

Recent research explored the complex relationship between spelling and handwriting specifically that spelling ability influences handwriting ability.  The participants (31 children with dyslexia and age matched and spelling-ability matched children) were assessed for execution speed and temporal characteristics of handwriting when completing sentence-copying tasks that were free from composing demands.  In addition, the predictive value of spelling, pausing, and motor skill on handwriting production were evaluated.  A digital writing tablet and Eye and Pen software were used to analyze handwriting. 

The results indicated the following:

  • children with dyslexia were able to execute handwriting at the same speed as the age-matched peers.

  • children with dyslexia wrote less overall and paused more frequently while writing, especially within words.

  • combined spelling ability and within-word pausing accounted for over 76% of the variance in handwriting production of children with dyslexia, demonstrating that productivity relies on spelling capabilities

  • motor skill level did not significantly predict any additional variance in handwriting production

  • reading ability predicted performance of the age-matched group, and pausing predicted performance for the spelling-ability group. 

The researchers concluded that there is an interactive relationship where spelling abilities can constrain the rate of handwriting production.  It was recommended that more consideration be given to what common handwriting tasks are assessing as a whole.

Reference:  Sumner, Emma; Connelly, Vincent; Barnett, Anna L. The Influence of Spelling Ability on Handwriting Production: Children With and Without Dyslexia. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Feb 17 , 2014, No Pagination Specified. doi: 10.1037/a0035785

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