The act of handwriting is a complex skill that requires the intensive action of the mind, muscles and nerves.
There are three steps necessary for a person to be able to learn how to write:
- Observation – “visual impressionability”
- Reproduce What is Observed – “capacity for graphic expression”
- Technical Execution – “overcoming mechanical and physical impediments”
A child begins to learn to write from the moment he/she pays attention to printed or written words.
The greater the fluency of the writer, the further the so-called salient feature diverges from the school –copy.
Complete Graphic Maturity occurs when writing becomes automatic around the time of puberty.
We are able to write fluently when:
- The sound of the letter evokes its mental image.
- We have unimpeded control of the writing instruments.
- Our performance is free from any physical impediment.
- We can spell the words easily.
- We are intent on the content of our writing and ignore the act of writing.
Factors that impede writing are:
- Lack of familiarity with the language in which we are writing.
- When we change from one language to another.
- Advanced individuals record letters as units and never see the individual letters, their eyes sweep over a number of the words in the sentence and they guess at the whole sentence.
Twelve factors that are responsible for the formation of our letters are:
- The mechanical mean (pen, ink, pencil, paper).
- The degree of graphic maturity.
- The degree of the speed of the act of writing (actual intensity of the stoke, letter, word, or sentence impulse).
- The school-copy from which we first learned to write.
- The nationality of the writer, and also the national environment in which he is at present living, or has previously lived for a length of time.
- The individual degree of visual impressionability.
- The power of graphic expression conditioned by visual memory and manual dexterity.
- The degree of the writer’s vanity, affectation, and desire to imitate others on the one hand or his naturalness and modesty of the other.
- Understanding the degree of cultivation, knowledge of foreign languages, foreign styles of handwriting, and foreign countries.
- The acute physiological condition of the writer.
- Chronic physical impediments.
- The circumstance whether the letter in question stands alone or at the beginning or the end of a word, and whether the final direction of the movement preceding letter and the beginning of the movement of the letter just written, as well as the final direction of the letter just written and the initial direction of the following letter.