The Easy, Effective and Affordable Handwriting Program That Bridges Writing to Reading
How it all started…
Mary Beckman began work as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher in the Elk River, MN school district in 1996. In her role she worked with Kindergarten and First Grade children with developmental delays in the district’s 7 different elementary schools. It soon became clear to her that many students in general and her students in particular were struggling with handwriting. She began early in her career trying different methods to help her students learn to read and write.
They began investigating the handwriting programs in place at various schools and interviewing teachers and principals regarding this area, and concluded the existing handwriting programs in use were not meeting the needs of students or teachers. Specifically, both students and especially teachers saw some handwriting curriculum as complex. It was difficult for teachers with limited time to learn how to teach handwriting, and difficult for students to learn. There were too many elements, too many parts and pieces that could become broken or lost, and too much wasted money in unused curriculum components that were piling up in storerooms. The cost of these programs and annual reorder requirements were beyond the tight budgetary constraints of the schools. As a result, teachers were not using a consistent curriculum to teach handwriting, and students were suffering.
During the 2004 – 2005 school year Mary began working with Tami Thoreson, an Occupational Therapist in the Elk River district. Tami was working on her Masters Degree with an emphasis on Handwriting and they soon discovered they shared a passion for helping children learn to write and began to collaborate to create a new approach to a new handwriting curriculum.
They came to realize that large motor activities that promote “Muscle Memory” work best especially with children who struggle with handwriting and the use of a common language across the grades is very important. Many of the “teaching tips and tricks” Mary and Tami had learned over the years of working with young children were integrated into their developing program to help children learn to read and write creatively. After five years of development, numerous pilot studies, and countless feedback loops with teachers, curriculum directors and parents; their years of work have developed into the ez Write Handwriting Program that is based on three core principles: 1. Easy; 2. Effective; 3. Affordable.
Easy for teachers to learn the program and teach their students.
Easy for schools and districts to choose appropriate curriculum.
Easy and engaging for students to learn the program based on 8 beginning strokes, all with easy-to remember names.
Students in pilot program studies experienced dramatic improvements in LPM (Letters Per Minute) and legibility (click here for pilot study results).
Feedback from parents and teachers and numerous schools who have adopted ez Write has been overwhelmingly and glowingly positive. (Click here for Feedback from teachers and parents regarding ez Write).
Only one kit per classroom to order by grade level. No lengthy catalogs and confusion on what is needed to implement the program.
Minimal reorder requirements, only two components are required for reorder each year in a classroom-ready environment.
No costly workbooks to reorder each year. Worksheet Masters come with each grade level kit and are on the Teacher Resource CD for use with Smart Boards and projectors.
Cost to schools is significantly below other handwriting curriculum on the market. The kindergarten program costs less than $15 per student to implement, and less than $0.70 per student every year in reorder components.
ez Write – an easy, effective and affordable handwriting curriculum that bridges writing to reading. Click the links below to learn more about the ez Write program by grade level or category.
Meet the Authors
Mary is an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher who has worked with special needs kindergarten and first grade children in the Elk River School District.
Through hands-on experience and studying the latest reading and writing research, Mary has come to understand the important role that teaching handwriting plays in helping children learn to read and become creative writers.
OT, MA Ed
Tami is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience. She has worked in a variety of settings, but has spent most of her career in the school system. Tami received her Master’s Degree in Education in 2005 with an emphasis on handwriting. Her primary reason for creating a new curriculum is to help students gain basic “muscle memory” necessary for automatic writing, which increases their ability to reach their potential in written language.