A pilot study: Impacting first grade written literacy through teacher education

Heidi B. Schoenfeld, Cynthia Coppola, Nichole Kertis, Karin J. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose. The efficacy of occupational therapy and the need for evidence-based practice have become of importance to school-based occupational therapy practitioners. This action research study was designed to describe the degree to which teachers felt occupational therapy consultation services and workshops impacted teaching practices and student skill acquisition in the area of handwriting in a large school district. Method. Two hundred and seventy first grade teachers completed a self-report questionnaire. This study described first grade teachers’ perceptions of their role in handwriting instruction and student written literacy skills following workshop attendance and or classroom consultation with an occupational therapist. Teachers’ perceived needs to teach handwriting were analyzed. Results. The data indicated that teachers considered workshop attendance and classroom consultations to be positively associated with improved teacher knowledge and skills. Teachers indicated that student progress in regard to penmanship was positively impacted by the teachers’ workshop attendance and or occupational therapy consultation. Conclusion. Penmanship is an important activity and is an integral component of students’ occupation. Elementary school children spend 31% to 60% of their class time in all types of fine-motor tasks (McHale and Cermak, 1992). The role of school-based occupational therapy practitioners has expanded as public schools look to occupational therapists to include provision of services to traditional education students. By providing workshops and consulting with classroom teachers, occupational therapists can efficiently and effectively help first grade teachers improve their written literacy knowledge and skills in the area of penmanship, thus impacting student outcomes. A questionnaire is a viable method for documenting teacher perceptions of occupational therapy services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-19
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Consultation
  • Handwriting
  • School
  • Workshops

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Occupational Therapy


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