Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Michael A. Hebert

Date of this Version

Summer 8-2020


Shanahan-Bazis, P. (2020). Effects of the write sounds program on handwriting and phonics skills.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Michael A. Hebert. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2020

Copyright 2020 Pamela Shanahan-Bazis


Reading and writing rely on related foundational literacy skills (e.g., phonological processing, phonological memory, phonemic awareness; Brooks et al., 2011; Graham & Hebert, 2010, 2011; Sanders et al., 2018). Therefore, students struggling with reading often have writing problems, including handwriting (Kandel et al., 2017; Sanders, Berninger, & Abbott, 2018). It is often difficult to determine the source of writing difficulties as they could come from uncertainty in how to form the graphemes, poor spelling skills, or organizational deficits (Berninger et al., 2008). This study aimed to determine the usability, feasibility, and promise of an integrated handwriting intervention on 33 students struggling with handwriting and word-level reading or spelling difficulties in second- and third-grade. Researchers randomly assigned participants to receive the Write Sounds integrated handwriting intervention or a BAU control condition. Due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, all the participating schools closed, and the university suspended all in-person research. Therefore, the study ended abruptly, and the participants were unable to complete the intervention or posttest assessments as designed. The researchers used the Write Sounds Mastery Check 1 as a proxy for the posttests. At posttest, students who received the Write Sounds intervention (n = 17) significantly outperformed the control group (n = 16) on researcher-created measures of handwriting quality and overall legibility. The data presented should be interpreted cautiously as the small sample size and adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the original study methodology may have impacted the results.