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Program Development

The Move’in Program was originally designed by Cris Rowan while working for a decade as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with the Sunshine Coast School District No. 46. Move’in started as The Fine Motor Observations and Strategies Assessment and Intervention, developed by Cris and administered by parents and teachers following workshop training and certification. As the printing and reading delayed population grew, Cris wondered if she could design a classroom based, kid-driven assessment and intervention to better address need. Hence…the creation of the Move’in Program! Cris began by distributing a questionnaire to the Sunshine Coast Special Education Teachers to determine incidence of printing delays in the elementary population and found that 20% of children had printing delays greater than two years.

Prototype Testing

Prior to prototype testing, Cris held a meeting with the Sunshine Coast Special Education Committee where she surveyed the Resource Teachers regarding what parameters should be met with the final Move’in Program, and they responded with the following requests:

  • No paper, booklets or folders
  • All inclusive kit
  • No requirement for teacher preparation time
  • Kid-driven to optimize motivation
  • FUN!

The Move’in Program prototype was repeatedly implemented, revised and evaluated over a four month period at Madeira Park Elementary School with grade 1, 2, and 3 students and teachers, resulting in a program that has proven to meet the Sunshine Coast Special Education Committee requirements, as well as be fun for the students.

Original Research

During 2006/7 two University of British Columbia Occupational Therapy students Kelly Fletcher and Marie Jarvis-Rolfing completed their Masters thesis performing a Single Subject Multiple Baseline Across Subjects study on the Move’in Program titled Effect of a Home-Based Printing Program on Children’s Printing Speed: A Preliminary Study. As the University of British Columbia Ethics Review Committee prohibited classroom based research, their study was conduced in three homes. We are happy to report that implementation of the Move’in Program was associated with significant improvement in printing speed for 2 of the 3 participants. Please find a copy of Ms. Fletcher and Ms. Jarvis-Rolfing poster presentation of their study.

In order to provide classroom based studies, St. Anne’s Academy in Kamloops will be participating a study to determine Move’in Program efficacy in improving children’s ability to improve printing skill and increase printing output speeds, with results expected in the Spring of 2008. This study will be implemented in two grade 2/3 classrooms, where one classroom will be the “control” and the other the “test” classroom. The “control” classroom will not receive the Move’in Program until January ’08, while the “test” classroom will start the Move’in Program in September 2007. The test classroom will play the Move’in game in September and end-December, with interventions for improving printing and reading skill in place for a three month period. Printing output speed, as well as the total number of To Do Cards received will be compared for these two test periods. The control classroom will perform a two minute copy print test in September and again in end-December. The results of the copy print test (part of the Move’in game) for both the test and control classrooms will be evaluated for comparative purposes.

Supporting Research

American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Public Education (2001) Children, Adolescents, and Television. Pediatrics Vol 107(2), 423-426. This policy statement describes the negative effects of television viewing as violent or aggressive behavior, substance use, sexual activity, obesity, poor body image, and decreased school performance. This statement recommends no TV or videogames for toddlers under the age of 2, and a limit of 1-2 hours per day for children.

Baines L, Baines C, Stanley G and Kunkel A (1999) Losing the Product in the Process. English Journal Vol 88(5) 67-72. These authors state the process of writing has become so ubiquitous as to mean anything, or perhaps more precisely, it has come to mean almost nothing. Tragically the art and soul of writing has been lost in the process.

Dennision, Paul (1992) Brain Gym: Simple Activities for Whole Brain Learning. Edu-Kinesthetics Inc, California.

deSilva S. (2006) Director General Centre for Education Statistics reports results from Program for International Student Assessment (2006), a comprehensive survey of 15 year olds indicates that reading performance has declined to placing 4th in international standing, compared to placing 3rd in 2003.

Ehri L, Nunes S, Willows D, Schuster B, Zadeh Z, Shanahan T. (2001) Phonemic Awareness Instruction Helps Children Learn to Read: Evidence form the National Reading Panel’s Meta-Analysis. Reading Research Quarterly Vol. 36 No. 3 250-287. This article high lights that while phonemic awareness instruction improved reading, it did not improve spelling in disabled readers, and stated that PA was more effective when taught with, as opposed to without letters. This article supports the role of the visual in addition to the auditory component when teaching reading.

Gee M. (1989) Start the “Write” Way. Reading, 23(3), 150-159. This research showed that teaching letters in stroke-related families, using letter templates, and using visual and motor cues resulted in reduced errors in output. Results were used in design of the motor planning interventions in the Play’in the Lines Computer Program.

Goldberg E, Simner M. (1999) A Comparison of Children’s Handwriting Under Traditional vs. Whole Language Instruction. Results indicate that students who were taught using traditional instruction style demonstrated more legible handwriting, and were able to produce significantly more words, than students taught using whole language instruction style. Traditional instruction is defined as “copying, tracing, whole-arm movements, kinesthetic feedback, and writing on various materials (lined paper, blackboard, copybooks). Results were used in design of the motor planning interventions in the Play’in the Lines Computer Program.

Goldstand S, Koslowe K., and Parush S. (2007) Vision, Visual-Information Processing, and Academic Performance Among Seventh-Grade Schoolchildren: A More Significant Relationship Than We Thought? This article shows that visual ability correlates with academic performance, and report that visual deficits were found in 68% of study participants. Results of this study were used to substantiate the visual assessment components of the Move’in Program.

Graham S, Harris K, Mason L, Fink-Chorzempa B, Moran S, Saddler B (2008) How Do Primary Grade Teachers Teach Handwriting? A National Survey. To be published in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. This US study reports that 90% of US primary school teachers college education did not adequately prepare them to provide lessons in penmanship, and therefore do not devote much time to teaching printing. Teachers spend an average 14 minutes per day teaching handwriting, far less than the 45 minutes per day spent in the 60′s and 70′s, and slightly less than the 15 minutes per day mandated in the 80′s. Textbooks offer less information on teaching printing, and universities have less instruction. Handwriting teaching methods and methods for student evaluation are inconsistent and non-standardized. 100% of the 169 primary teachers who participated in this study reported they thought printing should be taught as a separate subject.

Graham S, and Weintraub N. (1996) A Review of Handwriting Research: Progress and Prospects from 1980 to 1994. Educational Psychology Review, 8, 7-87. This study documents that in 1993 70% of teachers indicated that handwriting was “not as good as it should be”, and expressed concern regarding the “downward plunge in the standards of handwriting legibility required of elementary school children”. Authors also state that students who have difficulty with automaticity of writing, thus achieving poor quality and quantity of written output, results in avoidance and minimization of the writing process. Authors state that for beginning writers, both visual and verbal modeling appears to be the most effective means of introducing a letter prior to practice (i.e. the teacher demonstrates how a letter is made while describing how it is formed).

Graham S, Harris K and Fink B (2000) Is Handwriting Causally Related to Learning to Write? Treatment of Handwriting Problems in Beginning Writers. Journal of Educational Psychology Vol 92, 620-633. This article profiles how poor handwriting can result in a disability in written expression.

Graham S (2006) Handbook of Writing Research, Ch 13 – Strategy Instruction and the Teaching of Writing. Eds. MacArthur C, Graham S and Fitzgerald G. Guilford Press, New York. This meta-analysis concludes that printing strategy instruction is effective in improving student’s writing performance in the areas of quality, elements, length, and revisions, with results maintained over time and generalized to new tasks and situations.

Graham S, MacArthur C and Fitzgerald J (2007) Best Practices in Writing Instruction. Eds. MacArthur C, Graham S and Fitzgerald G. Guilford Press, New York. This book was instrumental in design of the Move’in Program and Workshop and draws the correlation between poor printing and subsequent difficulty with spelling, sentence composition, math, science and any subject requiring printing skill. Graham states “Failure to develop legible and automatic letter and word formation interferes with content in writing.” and “Because of the excessive labor and unattractive results involved in such writing, students are more likely to avoid or minimize the process when possible”. Graham instructs that for beginners, both visual and verbal modeling is the most effective means of introducing a letter prior to practice.

Hannaford, Carla (1997) The Dominance Factor: How Knowing Your Dominant Eye, Ear, Brain, Hand, and Foot Can Improve Your Learning. Great River Books Publishing, Utah.

Hannaford, Carla (2005) Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head 2nd Edition. Great River Book Publishers, Utah. This book reports the importance of determining developmental level of a child prior to introducing printing, and advocates introducing cursive prior to printing as requires less skill to achieve results. Hannaford reports that when faced with difficult tasks (printing too early) acquire a “learned helplessness” and low motivation for task completion.

Hasbrouck J. (1994) Objective Procedures for Scoring Student’s Writing. Teaching Exceptional Children, Winter, 18-25. This article was referenced when planning procedures for collecting writing samples for the printing speed component of the Move’in Program.

Hubert, Bill (2001) Bal-A-Vis-X: Rhythmic Balance/Auditory/Vision eXercises for Brain and Brain-Body Integration. Bal-A-Vis-X Inc, Kansas.

Jones D and Christensen C (1999) Relationship Between Automaticity in Handwriting and Student’s Ability to Generate Written Text. Journal of Educational Psychology Vol 91, 44-49. This article delineates how failure to develop legible and automatic letter and word formation may interfere with content in writing. Authors go on to states that students who struggle to retrieve letters from memory, to reproduce then on the page, and to scale them to other letters have less attention available to spend on spelling, planning and effectively expressing intended meanings.

Mannuzza S, Klein R, Bessler A, Malloy P, and LaPadula M (1993) Adult Outcome of Hyperactive Boys, Educational Achievement, Occupational Rank, and Psychiatric Status. Archives of General Psychiatry Vol 50 No 7 pp 565-576.

Olney C (1991) Where There’s a Will, There’s an A. Chesterbrook Educational Publishers. www.wheretheresawill.com. This two-part video is actually for high-school students, but its easy-to-follow, often funny approach makes it worth watching even if you have to fast forward through the parts that don’t apply. Olney’s excellent tips, based on research, are likely to help your child succeed not only on tests but in writing essays, doing projects and making presentations.

Parker-Pope, T (2005) Risk of Over-Diagnosing ADHD. Wall Street Journal, Health Journal. January 25, 2005.

Pritchard R and Honeycutt R (2006) Handbook of Writing Research, Ch 19 – The Process Approach to Writing Instruction. Eds. MacArthur C, Graham S and Fitzgerald G. Guilford Press, New York. This chapter reports that due to poorly defined parameters regarding the process approach, evidence based research regarding efficacy is lacking. Authors go on to state that since the process approach provided an instructional alternative at a time when traditional methods grounded in rhetorical theory were being challenged, the process model evolved in practice more quickly than did supporting research and theories.

Shaffer, David (1994) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol 151, pp 633-638.

Schilling D, Washington K, Billingsley F, Deitz J (2003). Classroom seating for Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Therapy Balls Versus Chairs. American Journal of Occupational Therapy Vol 57 534-541. This study reports that children with ADHD who were seated on therapy balls had increased in-seat behaviour and legible word productivity. This study supports the Move’in Programs use of therapy balls to set postural tone and improve distal motor performance effecting word legibility.

Schlagal B (2007) Best Practices in Writing Instruction – Ch 9 Best Practices in Spelling and Handwriting. Eds. Graham S, MacArthur C and Fitzgerald J, Guilford Press, New York. This chapter highlights how handwriting instruction for teachers has reduced by pointing out that The Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language (Flood, Lapp, Squire, and Jensen, 2003) has only devoted one page out of 1000 to handwriting instruction. Author goes on to state that poorly developed spelling and handwriting can affect the higher level literacy processes in which they are embedded, and should be given a more important role in school curriculum.

Schmidt R and Lee T (2005) Motor Control and Learning: A Behavioral Emphasis. Human Kinetics Publishing, Illinois. This book reports the immense role that vision has in determining behavior, and states that 87.7% of behavior is driven by vision.

Shanahan T (2007) Early Literacy Development: Sequence of Acquisition. Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development 1-6. London, ON: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. This document clearly outlines the sequence of acquisition of precursor skills for eventual reading ability, and high lights letter recognition and print concepts such as directionality and laterality.

Sheridan S (2001) The Scribble Hypothesis: A Plea for Brain-Compatible Teaching and Learning. Poster Presentation “Toward A Science of Consciousness ” Conference, Sweden. www.drawingwriting.com/scribabs.pdf.

Simner M. (2003) Promoting Skilled Handwriting – The Kindergarten Path to Meaningful Written Communication. Canadian Psychological Association. This manual and Dr. Simner’s recommendations regarding printing instruction were instrumental in the planning of many components of the Move’in Program. Dr. Simner reports that documented cases in Toronto kindergarten classes spend just 2 minutes per day on letter formation instruction, and states that “It is my understanding that formal handwriting instruction, for the most part, has disappeared”.

Stage S, Sheppard J, Davidson M. and Browning M. (2001) Prediction of First-Graders’ Growth in Oral Reading Fluency Using Kindergarten Letter Fluency. Journal of School Psychology Vol 39, issue 3, 225-237. This study report that first graders’ growth in oral reading fluency was predicted by their kindergarten letter-naming and letter sound fluency. This study supports the Move’in Program’s premise that letter recognition is crucial for eventual reading fluency.