Learning Letters With the Whole Body: Visuomotor Versus Visual Teaching in Kindergarten

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What constitutes effective teaching of letter learning in early school years is still uncertain. We assessed the impact of a teacher-implemented visuomotor intervention program to teach 5-year-olds’ cursive letter knowledge. We compared a program in which letters were explored with the arm and whole body, with a typical visual training program. Children were tested before and after the intervention with different measures of letter knowledge. We showed a greater improvement in letter recognition following the visuomotor intervention, compared with the visual intervention. Results were mixed for letter handwriting for which we found higher scores on stroke direction and overall quality, but lower scores on fluency following whole body visuomotor teaching. We discuss our results in terms of the link between action and perception, the interaction between the different components of letter knowledge, and the link between fine and gross motor development and handwriting.

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