Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

First Reader

Stacy Frauwirth, MS, OTR/L


It is estimated that 27% of school-aged children in the United States have handwriting difficulties (McHale & Cermak, 1992). According to Hammerschmidt and Sudsawad (2004), illegible handwriting is the most common reason for referral to occupational therapy services; 49.2% of total referrals. Previous research on handwriting intervention supports that task-oriented handwriting instructional methods, such as Handwriting Without Tears™ (HWT), are among the most effective handwriting intervention approaches (Lust & Donica, 2011; Olsen, 2011; Weintraub et al., 2009). The purpose of this project was to develop a comprehensive handwriting curriculum based on the HWT™ technique, including the new IPad application and prewriting activities, to assist kindergarten, first, and third grade teachers in utilizing a standardized handwriting program. Dominican University of California occupational therapy graduate students partnered with The North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS) in developing and implementing this project. As a result, a comprehensive 14-week handwriting curriculum guide was developed and tailored to meet the specific needs of the primary school teachers at NOCCS. The main goals of this project were to create an outline of HWT™ activities to be administered once per day, three days per week, and to organize the material in a straightforward format that would be easily understood and implemented in the classroom. A Likert scale, handwriting curriculum assessment was created to evaluate the curriculum’s content, ease of use, and satisfaction among kindergarten, first and third grade teachers. Although the teachers did not complete or return the curriculum assessment, they informally reported that they had begun utilizing the HWT curriculum, and felt it was an effective teaching tool.