Handwriting Fluency in Children: Impact and Correlates

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Abstract.This cross-sectional study aimed to (1) construct a model of handwriting fluency in children and (2) explore the impact of fluent handwriting and visual-motor integration on orthographic skills. In a Swiss sample of 93 fourth graders (mean age = 10 years, 7 months; SD = 6.58 months), handwriting speed and legibility were assessed by means of a copying task. Furthermore, automaticity of handwriting, stroke pressure, and stroke frequency were measured on a digitizing tablet, while visual-motor integration and orthographic skills were assessed by means of standardized tests. SEM modeling revealed that automaticity of handwriting, which is associated with both stroke frequency and stroke pressure, predicts handwriting speed as well as orthographic skills. The latter association remained significant even when visual-motor integration, which also proved to be a predictor of orthographic skills, was included in the model. The results are discussed with respect to theories that assume that the automaticity of handwriting is associated with saving cognitive resources.

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