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ERIC Number: EJ1065980
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Development of Early Handwriting: Visual-Motor Control during Letter Copying
Maldarelli, Jennifer E.; Kahrs, Björn A.; Hunt, Sarah C.; Lockman, Jeffrey J.
Developmental Psychology, v51 n7 p879-888 Jul 2015
Despite the importance of handwriting for school readiness and early academic progress, prior research on the development of handwriting has focused primarily on the product rather than the process by which young children write letters. In contrast, in the present work, early handwriting is viewed as involving a suite of perceptual, motor, and cognitive abilities, which must work in unison if children are to write letters efficiently. To study such coordination, head-mounted eye-tracking technology was used to investigate the process of visual-motor coordination while kindergarten children (N = 23) and adults (N = 11) copied individual letters and strings of letters that differed in terms of their phonemic properties. Results indicated that kindergarten children were able to copy single letters efficiently, as did adults. When the cognitive demands of the task increased and children were presented with strings of letters, however, their ability to copy letters efficiently was compromised: Children frequently interrupted their writing midletter, whereas they did not do so on single letter trials. Yet, with increasing age, children became more efficient in copying letter strings, in part by using vision more prospectively when writing. Taken together, the results illustrate how the coordination of perceptual, motor, and cognitive processes contributes to advances in the development of letter writing skill.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 5RO1HD043842; 5RO1HD067581