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Part Three - 2022 - The International Conference on the Science of Written Expression

*All times are set in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Quiz - 5 Questions.

Starts at
9:00 AM*

Ends at
9:45 AM
KeynoteModule 1: Keynote Session
  • Handwriting and Typing in Students With Handwriting Difficulties

    Difficulties in producing legible handwriting at sufficient speed can hamper progress and lead to under achievement. In UK schools, when difficulties are significant, students may be granted accommodations in normal class work and written examinations, such as allowing typing and use of a word processor. However, little is known about how teachers assess and support handwriting and typing in secondary school. Furthermore, there is a lack of research to support decision-making in relation to whether to, how to and/or when to recommend typing as an accommodation. We have surveyed school teachers and school Occupational Therapists to gain their views on current policy and practice in this area, to help inform future decision-making. We also asked students themselves about their experiences of handwriting and typing in school. Findings from our surveys will be reported to indicate the current status of handwriting and typing in secondary schools in England. The frequency and range of responses on aspects of school policy and practice will help to identify future training and support needs for students and teachers. Recommendations for improving aspects of the teaching and assessment for handwriting and typing will be suggested, with a focus on how best to make decisions about the implementation of writing accommodations for those with writing difficulties.

Anna Barnett, PhD.
Oxford Brookes University
Starts at
10:00 AM*

Ends at
10:45 AM
Module 2: Writing Technology
  • Observing Writing Processes and Typing Transcription Skills Using Keystroke Logging

    Context: As typing has replaced handwriting as the preferred method of text production beyond the early grades, keystroke logging has become one of the major observation tools used in writing process research. It allows for fine-grained data collection without intruding into the writers' activities or influencing the writing dynamics.

    Aim: In this presentation, I briefly describe the basics of keystroke logging, and introduce Inputlog to you (see: for more information). More specifically, I will illustrate some components of this keystroke logging program and show how you can use them in your research and also in your classroom.


    1. How do you monitor different aspects of typing skills?
    Inputlog enables you to observe digital writing processes by capturing all writing activities on a computer (keyboard and mouse). It also contains a so-called copy task. This module consists of a carefully designed collection of short copy typing tasks shedding a light on different perspectives of students' typing and transcription skills. For instance, it provides information on the number of characters typed per minute in lexical and non-lexical tasks. The copy task is currently available in twelve languages.

    2. How do you provide your students with process feedback in the classroom? Providing feedback on students' writing process is very important. However, this is often hard to accomplish. Inputlog allows you to generate a user-friendly process report that provides different perspectives on students' writing processes, e.g., their pausing behavior, fluency, or use of external sources. We briefly describe the program's report function.

Luuk Van Waes, PhD.
University of Antwerp
Starts at
11:00 AM*

Ends at
11:45 AM
Module 2: Writing Technology
  • writeAlizer: A Free Automated Tool for Evaluating Writing in School

    The writeAlizer R package (Mercer, 2020) has been developed to feasibly score timed writing samples composed by elementary students. It is intended to provide educators with valid and accurate scores for decisions about student risk status, monitor progress, and receive feedback on the effectiveness of classroom instruction. The presentation will review the existing literature on writeAlizer and include practical demonstrations on how to generate automated scores using free online resources.

Michael Matta, PhD.
University of Houston
Starts at
12:00 PM*

Ends at
12:45 PM
Module 2: Writing Technology
  • Spelling Errors and Writing Fluency for Students with Dyslexia

    Students with dyslexia often experience difficulties with spelling, associated with decreased writing fluency, more spelling errors, and poorer texts overall when compared with typically developingpeers. Although it is clear that spelling difficulties affect writing fluency, less is known about the extent of these effects and why they occur. This presentation will share eye movement data of adolescent students with and without dyslexia collected while writing narrative texts, looking specifically at eye fixations upon spelling errors.

Scott Beers, PhD.
Seattle Pacific University
Starts at
1:00 PM*

Ends at
1:45 PM
Module 2: Writing Technology
  • Writing Interventions with Technology Tools

    The National Assessment of Educational Progress (2017) results indicate that as many as 75% of students in public schools cannot write at a basic level. The statistics are even worse for students with disabilities and from diverse backgrounds. There are strategies that can help students improve their writing skills (e.g., Graham et al., 2012) such as mnemonic strategy instruction, step-by-step modeling by the teacher to help students apply strategies (e.g., self-regulated strategy development [SRSD]), as well as technology tools. These practices have been central components of Dr. Michael Dunn’s writing research as he works with elementary students and lower division (first/second-year university) STEM students who have a learning disability and/or experience challenges with writing. This session will review the challenges with writing that participants have expressed and the types of intervention components that Dr. Dunn has developed which has provided for students’ improvement.

Michael Dunn, PhD.
Washington State University, Vancouver
Starts at
2:00 PM*

Ends at
2:45 PM
Module 3: Celebrating Handwriting Worldwide on US National Handwriting Day
  • Handwriting as a Lever of Literacy Development

    Several strands of research are showing that handwriting can act as a lever of literacy development. Handwriting promotes many emergent literacy skills, including phonological awareness, vocabulary, concepts about print, and letter knowledge (Hall et al., 2015). Particularly relevant is the strong empirical evidence showing that handwriting as compared to typing enhances letter learning (James, 2017; Longcamp et al., 2005; Seyll, 2020; Wiley & Rapp, 2021) and likely favors early reading attainments. While early on handwriting is quite attentionally demanding and effortful, it is widely noticed that with proper practice handwriting becomes automatic. This fact offers a model for the efficient functioning of the mind. Research onto the so called “bursts of written language” (Alves & Limpo, 2015; Hayes & Chenoweth, 2001) showed their reliance on handwriting automaticity and has established burst length as a prime index of the automaticity with which written language is produced. Handwriting does not only promote easiness of written language production, but it also improves text quality (Berninger et al., 1992, 1994, 1996). Furthermore, success in handwriting can have strong motivational consequences (Alves & Limpo, 2015). It can thus act as a scaffolding to support the children facing the too many and hard challenges of literate development. Lastly and most critical, handwriting has a distinctive and expressive function of each one’s individuality and thus can single out the uniqueness of each developmental path towards becoming literate. In the presentation, these paths will be framed within a thresholds literacy model (Alves, 2019) and handwriting portrayed has an invaluable tool that teachers can use to foster the literate capabilities of their students.

Rui Alves, PhD.
University of Porto/Psych, Lit Dev, Writing Processes
Starts at
3:00 PM*

Ends at
3:45 PM
Module 3: Celebrating Handwriting Worldwide on US National Handwriting Day
  • An Introduction to Handwriting: Using the Slingerland Adaptation for Classroom Use of the Orton-Gillingham Approach

    Still vital after all these years… Beth Slingerland began her work with Anna Gillingham in 1937. She quickly realized that this structured tutorial approach could be used with classroom groups of children and provide the skills to prevent failure. The approach is now used in General Education classrooms, in screened classrooms, in special education and resource rooms and in second language classrooms.

    The Slingerland Adaptation of the Orton Gillingham Approach provides tools for instruction for written language skills for all children within the classroom. The daily format for instruction provides guidance in reading, writing, and spelling.

    Steps For Structuring All Learning

    This explicit Instruction, Designed to bring relevant levels of language to conscious levels and free up cognitive resources in working memory Is not rote. It allows flexible response to student needs. Each lesson includes:

    1. Teaching: demonstration, and explanation
    2. Guided performance by the child while verbalizing each step
    3. Child performs, then the class performs, while teacher circulates or guides if help is needed firmly establishing understanding of concept.
    4. Independent work to be checked later
    5. Goal – child uses skill when needed

    Discussion of the Handwriting Lesson

    Manuscript or cursive writing is taught depending upon age of the group and school policy. Each lesson includes teaching, practice, and review so that each letter can be recalled as a single unit.

    • Materials, writing tools
    • Paper position
    • Posture
    • Tripod Pencil Grip

    The handwriting format includes the following and leads to writing phrases, sentences, and paragraphs under teacher guidance.

    • Teaching New Letters and practicing letters already taught with relative letter size relationship, alignment and connections
    • Reviewing Letters

Bev Wolf, ED.
National Trainer in Structured Literacy, Slingerland Institute Trainer, Orton-Gillingham
Starts at
4:00 PM*

Ends at
4:45 PM
Module 3: Celebrating Handwriting Worldwide on US National Handwriting Day
  • Comenia Script: Handwriting Isn’t Just for Children

    The author, Radana Lencová, will introduce us to the background of the creation of a new school handwriting model: Comenia Script®, which is currently taught in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This modern handwriting design is based on the principles of simplicity and readability. The author will present the characteristics and basic elements of this writing method, including the teaching materials that she created.

    The presentation will include actual examples of handwriting by the children who participated in the experimental trials of Comenia Script® that were conducted by the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Education (2010-2012), along with other handwriting examples related to the topic of contemporary handwriting.

Radana Lencova, PhD.
UMPRUM Prague, Czechia
Starts at
5:00 PM*

Ends at
5:45 PM
Module 3: Celebrating Handwriting Worldwide on US National Handwriting Day
  • From Clinic to Classroom: Lessons in Legibility

    From 2000 to 2012, handwriting experts Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay presented 170 seminars to over 4,500 medical professionals, helping improve patient safety with better handwriting. Following their seminars, callbacks to MDs due to illegible prescriptions fell by 65%.

    The documented success of Getty and Dubay’s handwriting seminars for patient safety could inform methodologies for elementary schools that adopt handwriting instruction as an integral part of their language arts program.

Barbara Getty, MAT
Co-Author Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting

Inga Dubay, B.A.
Co-Author Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting

Jonathan Dubay, DMA
CEO, Handwriting Success

Starts at
6:00 PM*

Ends at
6:45 PM
Module 3: Celebrating Handwriting Worldwide on US National Handwriting Day
  • It’s Fine With Me! Fine Motor Activities at Home

    The purpose of this session is to move from research into practice at home. Fine motor activities for early learners don't require fancy curriculum or tools. Attending this session will show you that all you need is a little time, a few items from around the house and some creativity!

    The following objectives will be covered:

    • Attendees will learn and begin to develop activities to increase hand & finger dexterity and strength in children ages 3-6 years old.
    • Attendees will gain knowledge to support families with fine motor development through everyday home activities.

Izetta Thomas, M.ED
Early Childhood Behavior Specialist Coordinator for Columbus City Schools (OH)
Starts at
7:00 PM*

Ends at
7:45 PM
Module 3: Celebrating Handwriting Worldwide on US National Handwriting Day
  • Clinical Reasoning: A Critical Tool to Examine Data from a Traditional Handwriting Evaluation

    Educators impart handwriting instruction as a component of literacy in the early school years. School occupational therapists share their expertise to support development of prerequisite skills needed for handwriting; promote efficient handwriting instruction; provide remediation when students experience difficulties in acquiring handwriting skills; and if required, recommend adaptations or accommodations to optimize a student’s participation in the educational environment. Handwriting difficulties continue to be one of the most frequent reasons teachers refer students for occupational therapy services (Benson, et al, 2016).

    Informed by research (e.g., Cornhill and Case-Smith, 1996; Denton et al, 2006) occupational therapy interventions have addressed aspects such as development of a mature pencil grasp, sensorimotor function, and visual motor integration skills that were assumed to be the building blocks of competent handwriting. Evidence for the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions to support handwriting function was studied extensively over the last two decades with some unanticipated results. For example, no evidence was identified for an effect on handwriting legibility outcomes with isolated activities addressing the components of visual perception, kinesthesis, or motor skill performance (Candler, 2019). Inconsistent results were found when the relationship between pencil grasp and handwriting performance was examined (e.g., Schneider et al, 2019; Dennis, J.L. & Swinth, 2001). When the effectiveness of sensorimotor approaches was compared to therapeutic practice approaches, the latter was found more effective in making a positive change in handwriting function (e.g., Denton et al, 2006; Zwicker and Hadwin, 2009). However, other research continues to support the influence of subskills such as visual perception on aspects of handwriting including speed and far point copying (Chang and Yu, 2017).

    Considering such conflicting information, we, as occupational therapists, need to apply our clinical reasoning skills to analyze the therapeutic needs of individual children and determine which interventions we provide. This presentation will urge practitioners to think beyond quantified test results and examine aspects such as sensorimotor function, pencil grasp, and visual motor integration when addressing handwriting issues. We will scrutinize the information we glean from standardized tests (e.g., the Beery test of VMI) and observations (e.g., of pencil grasp) to resolve how this data can direct the interventions we recommend for specific children. The importance of progress monitoring to support further decision-making e.g., whether to offer interventions for improvement of handwriting skills, or to implement accommodations and adaptations to allow a student to demonstrate learning and participate in the academic environment, will be discussed.

    Reiterating that handwriting is only one component of written expression, the importance of inter-professional collaboration between educators and occupational therapists will be reviewed. The presentation will emphasize a collaborative application of knowledge translated from research to optimize a student’s participation in the educational environment.

Asha Asher, FAOTA
Private Practice/Handwriting Collaborative
Starts at
8:00 PM*

Ends at
8:45 PM
Brett Miller, PhD.
NICHD/Reading, Writing, LD

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors

Gold Learning Without Tears
Gold Perfection Learning
Gold Zaner-Bloser
Gold Wilson Language
Silver Handwriting Success
Silver Magic Link Handwriting
Bronze Dotterer Educational Consulting
Conference Partner National Handwriting Association

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