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From Scribbles to Script: Graphomotor Skills’ Impact on Spelling in Early Primary School

Maurer, Michelle; Truxius, Lidia; Sägesser Wyss, Judith (2023). From Scribbles to Script: Graphomotor Skills’ Impact on Spelling in Early Primary School. Children, 10 (12), p. 1886. 10.3390/children10121886

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The acquisition of handwriting skills is a crucial goal in early primary school. Yet our comprehension of handwriting development, encompassing graphomotor skills and spelling, remains fragmented. The identification of predictors for handwriting skills is essential for providing early support. This longitudinal study aimed to explore the predictive roles of gender, working memory, and motivation to handwrite for graphomotor skills six months later and spelling skills one year later. Paper-and-pencil tasks (graphomotor skills, spelling), a tablet task (working memory), and a questionnaire (teachers’ ratings of children’s handwriting motivation) were employed. This study included 363 first-grade children (49.8% girls) aged 6–9 years. Results from a structural equation model, controlling for age and socioeconomic background, revealed that girls exhibited superior performance in graphomotor skills, while boys tended to spell more accurately. Furthermore, working memory predicted graphomotor skills but not spelling. Additionally, motivation to handwrite predicted both first-grade graphomotor skills and second-grade spelling. This study extends contemporary evidence, demonstrating that graphomotor skills predict spelling while considering gender and motivation. The findings underscore the pivotal role of graphomotor skills in spelling acquisition and suggest their contribution to spelling difficulties.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

PHBern Contributor:

Maurer, Michelle, Truxius, Lidia, Sägesser, Judith, Eckhart, Michael




Michelle Maurer

Date Deposited:

29 Feb 2024 11:30

Last Modified:

01 Mar 2024 06:17

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

graphomotor skills, spelling, handwriting, working memory, motivation, gender, children




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