Impact on the Quality of Children’s Handwriting following the Implementation of the Hemispheres Think Write Handwriting Programme at Hall Grove School
With the start of any new programme evaluating the benefit it brings is an essential part of the implementation stage. Hall Grove School started using the Hemispheres Think Write Programme in March 2014, the Think Write Programme was rolled out into Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 with a focus on the earlier years.
Sample and method:
To evaluate the impact the programme was having, handwriting samples were taken every 6-week, for all children (total of 110 children: 80 boys and 30 girls) across the three year groups. The sample of writing was then scored against 25 quality statements, for 5 quality categories: legibility, size, form, reversals and spatial placement. Each quality category contained 5 statements, each statement worth 1 point, giving a possible score of 25 points per child. A score of 17 points or more (68%) was deemed to reflect a high standard of legibility and the results below in the graph reflect the percentage of children achieving this standard at each 6 weekly review.
The results indicate that the pattern of progress for each cohort of children differs. In this male dominant Pre-Prep environment, the Reception children, the results show that after 18 week of HTW instruction, 17% of the children achieved a quality score of 17 or more. In Year 1, the results indicate the children show consistent progress in the quality of their writing, over the 18 weeks. The baseline measure indicates that 13% of the children were achieving the quality score of 17 or more, however after 6 weeks of using the Think Write programme, this increased to 26% and up to 34% after 18 weeks.
In Year 2, the baseline measure shows that 37% of children achieved a score of 17 or more, rising to 66% after 6 weeks, there was noted to be a small reduction to 56% on the final review, a difference not thought to be significant but part of natural variation.
Handwriting is a key part of any child’s curriculum between the ages of 4 – 7 years when the skill of learning to handwrite is an active process, building the foundation for transitioning into being a writer. An effective handwriting programme needs to be able to address the diverse stages of learning to write, and support all children to develop the motor, cognitive and visual skills for legible, automatic writing.
In this pilot study, the aim of the programme was to evaluate the impact of the Hemispheres Think Write programme on the quality of children’s handwriting over time. Whilst we acknowledge that the sample size is small, and specific to one school, from the results it can be concluded that the programme does have a positive impact on children’s handwriting, and improvements can be seen in all cohorts of children between Reception and Year 2.
There is a trend that demonstrates an overall improvement in handwriting for all age groups, 17% growth in Reception, 21% growth in Year 1 and 19-29% growth in Year 2 supporting the premise that this programme is suitable for delivery as part of a mainstream curriculum.
The study was completed in a sample of children where 72% were boys and 28% girls, therefore one can conclude that the programme has beneficial effects for the education of handwriting with both boys and girls.
The results of this study compliment the initial pilot study undertaken between Twyford School and Yateley Manor between 2012- 2013. The conclusion of this study indicated that at the end of one academic year the children using the Hemispheres Think Write programme achieved higher quality scores in their writing compared to those children being taught using the PenPals Handwriting Programme.
This pilot study is important as it shows that the Hemispheres Think Write programme continues to have a beneficial effect on the quality of children’s handwriting between the ages of 4 – 7 years but adds further clarity in the speed at which the benefits are evident. This pilot study shows that there is a steady growth in the quality of handwriting, for both boys and girls and the results are evident in the children’s handwriting in less than 18 weeks.
Further studies will need to be undertaken with a larger cohort of children in a diverse number of educational settings to establish a stronger statistical foundation for the benefits of the programme, however as the programme grows, more children will enjoy learning to write using the Hemispheres Think Write Programme.