Components of Handwriting Instruction
There are three basic components of handwriting that students must master to be considered proficient: execution, legibility, and speed.
Execution relates to a student's ability to use proper form when holding a pencil and forming letters. If a student learns to hold a pencil incorrectly or to form letters incorrectly in the younger grades, it is difficult to correct later. Students should be taught to write letters using continuous strokes. Letters, such as 'b', 'd', and 'g' should be written without lifting the pencil.
Practicing by making the motor movements in air or sand before moving to paper and pencil helps students learn to correctly form letters before they are required to attend to details, such as size and spacing. When students move on to pencil/paper practice, using arrow cues will prevent them from getting into the habit of making formation errors.
Legibility relates to forming readable letters and using correct spacing within words and sentences. Although there are times when it doesn't matter whether or not it is legible to others, such as when students are writing notes to study later and the student can read what they have written. However, students need to understand that there are other times when others should be able to decipher what has been written. In those circumstances, the student should be capable of creating legible text.
Speed indicates proficiency and fluency in written communication. Legibility takes precedence over speed. However, once students are able to properly form letters, they need to be write quickly enough to be able to take notes.