DOES THE HANDWRITING STYLE LEARNED IN FIRST GRADE DETERMINE THE STYLE USED IN THE FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADES AND INFLUENCE HANDWRITING SPEED AND QUALITY? A COMPARISON BETWEEN FRENCH AND QUEBEC CHILDREN

Authors


Correspondence to: Florence Bara, CREAD, IUFM Bretagne, 8 rue d'Avranches, 29200 Brest, France. E-mail: Florence.bara@bretagne.iufm.fr

Abstract

An important issue relating to the teaching of handwriting concerns the style that should be learned at school (manuscript or cursive). Whereas some countries choose to teach both styles (e.g., Canada), other countries choose to teach only one (e.g., France). Our research had three main underlying goals, namely (1) to observe and describe the handwriting styles spontaneously used by fourth and fifth graders according to the first style learned at school; (2) to describe the evolution of handwriting between the fourth and fifth grades; and (3) to examine the relationship between speed, legibility, and handwriting style. The results revealed that the effects of country, grade level, handwriting style, and handwriting instruction were significant. Quebec children wrote faster than French children did, but their handwriting was less legible. Cursive handwriting was the slower style, whereas mixed handwriting seemed to be more efficient. Handwriting speed and legibility improved from fourth to fifth grade.

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