Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Susan Gapp


Handwriting instruction is often seen as less important in the curriculum, particularly due to pressures of passing high states assessments and the need to develop technology competencies, as technology in education and society has become commonplace. Current research shows that literacy skills are supported through the direct instruction of handwriting. Handwriting has also been associated with academic success, autoactivating the memory and processing portion of the brain, and is an important component in preparing the brain for phonics and reading acquisition. This has created a problem of a significant disconnect between research-based recommendations and current classroom practices in handwriting instruction. The teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, and instructional practice are key components of successful handwriting implementation as studies have found that teachers who receive researched-based training deliver quality instruction while those who do not receive this training seem to avoid teaching handwriting. With the instructor and quality of instruction being a strong indicator of student performance, it is important to understand teachers’ beliefs about handwriting and perceptions of their knowledge and skills concerning handwriting instruction, as teachers’ beliefs affect how they teach which in turn affects student achievement. This qualitative study explored elementary teachers' beliefs, knowledge, preparation, and practice of handwriting instruction. Interviews were conducted with K-4 grade level teachers from three school districts in the upper Midwest. The qualitative analysis consisted of identifying themes from a semi-structured interviews with ten participants, two teachers from each K-4 grade levels from three upper Midwestern school districts. Conclusions from the study showed teachers believe handwriting is a fundamental skill important for literacy and academic success but aren’t familiar with the research to support their belief. Teachers are concerned about their level of preparation and whether their current practice is ‘best practice.’ Finding time to teach handwriting in busy schedules was identified as a challenge and there was inconsistency in the length and frequency of handwriting instructional time across participants. Strong leadership, conversations around effective practices in handwriting, and more training about handwriting instruction were identified as ways improve practice.

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction


best practice, Handwriting, teacher beliefs

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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