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Texas Women's University

Embedding Video-Based Modeling Handwriting Instruction in a Montessori Preschool Phonics Program

Texas Women’s University conducted their project in a Montessori preschool setting. The data showed that children were asking to use The TV Teacher program video more often that of the control group’s program. They also showed that The TV Teacher program showed significant improvement in letter formation and legibility over the controlled group.      

Click here for more information on the TWU published research. 

Texas Women's University Poster presented at AOTA on The effects of using The TV Teacher in a Montessori Preschool

Teacher Confidence Regarding Handwriting Instruction Following Collaboration with an Occupational Therapist


This research project was conducted with 600 students in a New York City Department of Education elementary school and presented as a poster at the AOTA convention. The data not only proved that teacher’s confidence increased when working with an OT, but that The TV Teacher’s video modeling approach was a very effective tool to teach handwriting. Teachers reported that The TV Teacher handwriting program was easy to implement, and that the students enjoyed the program.

NYC DOE Poster presented at AOT on teacher confidence of teaching handwriting using The TV Teacher

Levittown School District (NY) - Research comparison on best handwriting program


In order to provide continuity across the district’s Kindergarten and 1st grade classes, research was taken on three different programs across 22 classrooms for a total of 401 students. Teachers were given the opportunity to choose the program they wished to pilot.  Nine teachers chose The TV Teacher, nine chose Size Matters, and four chose Handwriting Without Tears. 

The children were tested for baseline score in October of 2018 using the Screener of Handwriting Proficiency from Handwriting Without Tears. The average baseline scores were 77.63% for children who would be trained in HWT, 77.96 for the children who were in the Size Matters cohort, and 74.65% for children who would be learning with The TV Teacher. Children received structured handwriting instruction throughout the year in the program of the teacher’s choice.  In April 2019, students were tested again using the Screener of Handwriting Proficiency.  It was found that all of the children made significant progress. Children in the HWT program averaged at 90.65%, Size Matters was 90.25%, and The TV Teacher was 90.18%. 

Quantitatively, the children who spent the year learning how to write with The TV Teacher made more progress than the other two cohorts.  Qualitatively, the teachers voted The TV Teacher handwriting program to be the most easily implemented and very fun for the students. The district reported that The TV Teacher was also the most cost-effective across all three.


In the fall of 2019, the district implemented The TV Teacher in all Kindergarten and First grade classrooms.  

Levittown School District Improvement on Handwriting Proficiency graph between LWOT, Size Matters, and The TV Teacher
Levittown School District research project graph of handwriting proficiency scores between HWOT, Size Matters, and The TV Teacher

RtI – Research in a NYC school and published in Advance Magazine for Occupational Therapists


In collaboration with teachers, Occupational Therapist, Mary Primarti, used TV Teacher in a Tier 1 intervention for 18 preschool students. It showed great progress across several structured performance tests.

RTI research article chart of writing first name before and after using The TV Teacher
NYC DOE RTI research project chart on "Draw a Man" test before and after using The TV Teacher
Mary Primarti RTI article on The TV Teacher used in NYC DOE preschool

Bloomsburg University Pilot Study


A pilot study by Barbara Wert, Ph.D. was conducted with 3 classrooms using The TV Teacher and one class as a control. These were inclusion classrooms with “gen ed” as well as those with special needs identifies as those with Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, ADD, Behavioral/Emotional, and Selective Mutism. Teachers showed a TV Teacher letter chapter video to the students once a week, although our recommendation is 3 times/week, and still showed significant improvement in handwriting for those with special needs, “at risk” children, and those with below average IQ.

Bloomsburg University Pilot Study by Barbara Wert, Ph.D. findings using The TV Teacher handwriting program

Study on the Effects of The TV Teacher on Kindergarten Readiness

An informal data project was conducted with 4 PreK classrooms across 2 different schools. 35 Pre and Post writing samples were taken and graded by independent kindergarten teachers. They were asked simply, “Based on this handwriting sample, is this child ready for kindergarten?” Significant data concluded that the students who used The TV Teacher handwriting program looked more prepared for kindergarten.

Chart of controlled vs The TV Teacher on kindergarten readiness research project

The TV Teacher and RtI

Supporting Handwriting Instruction In the Classroom was a poster presented at AOTA.  The poster illustrated a nationwide survey given to OT department heads to determine the number of referrals OT departments receive for handwriting support.  It reveals steps departments take to support handwriting skill in the classroom with and without an RTI framework.  The research determined that using an RTI framework is used to address handwriting skills results in decreased handwriting referrals.  This illustrates the need for simple, supportive handwriting programs, like the TV Teacher, in the classroom to benefit all students.

The TV Teacher Supporting Handwriting Instruction in the Classroom poster presented at AOTA by Marnie Danielson
If you are a therapist or educator and are interested in conducting a research project using our programs, please read the proposal below, and contact us if you are interested: 770-971-0450

The TV Teacher’s handwriting program is based on a video modeling approach. Research supporting video modeling:

Bellini, S. & Akullian J.(2007). A Meta-Analysis of Video Modeling and Video Self-Modeling Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Council for Exceptional Children, 73, 264-287
• Bidwell, M & Rehfeldt, R. (2004) Using Video Modeling to Teach a Domestic Skill with an Embedded Social Skill to Adults with Severe Mental Retardation. Behavioral Interventions, 19, 263-274.
• Cardon, T.A. & Wilcox, M,J. (2010). Promoting Imitation in Young children with Autism: A comparison of Reciprocal Imitation Training and Video Modeling. Journal of Autism Developmental Disorder (online publication)
• Charlop-Christy, M., Le, L., & Freeman, K., (2000). A Comparison of Video Modeling with In Vivo Modeling for Teaching Children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 537-552.
• Corbett, B.A. (2003). Video modeling: A window into the world of autism. The Behavior Analyst Today, 4, 88-96.
• Corbett, B., & Abdullah, M., (2005). Video modeling: Why does it work for children with Autism? Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention, 2, 2-8.
• Creer, T.L., & Miklich, D.R. (1970). The application of self-modeling procedure to modify inappropriate behavior: a preliminary report. Behavior Research and Therapy, 8, 91-91.
• Dowrick, P.W. & Dove, C. (1980)The use of self modeling to improve the swimming performance of spina bifida children. Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 13, 51-56.
• Dorwick, P.W. (1991). A Practical Guide to using Video in the Behavioral Sciences. New York: Wiley.
• Dorwick, P.W. & Raeburn, J.M. (1995). Self-modeling: Rapid skill training for children with physical disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 7, 25-37.
• Dupere, S., MacDonald, R. P. F. and Ahearn, W. H. (2013), Using video modeling with substitutable loops to teach varied play to children with autism. Jnl of Applied Behav Analysis, 46: 662–668. doi: 10.1002/jaba.68
• Kinney, E., et al. (2003). Computer-Presented Video Models to Teach Generative Spelling to a Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 22-29
• Macpherson, K., Charlop, M. H., & Miltenberger, C. A. (2015). Using portable video modeling technology to increase the compliment behaviors of children with autism during athletic group play. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 45(12), 3836-3845.
• Marcus, A., & Wilder, D., (2009). A Comparison of Peer Video Modeling and Self Video Modeling to Teach Textual Responses in Children with Autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42, 335-341
• Meegan S,, et al.,(2006) Gross motor skill acquisition in adolescents with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Research and Practice, 9 (3);75-80.
• Rai K., (2008) Technology to Teach Self-Help Skills to Elementary Students with Mental Disabilities. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 24 (2), 2001-2014
• Santini, M.,(2007). The Impact of Video Self-Modeling vs. Video-modeling on Conversational Skills with adolescent Students with Severe Disabilities. Masters Thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo.61p.
• Sherer, M et al., (2001) Enhancing Conversation Skills in Children With Autism via Video Technology. Which Is Better, “Self” or “Other” as a Model? Behavior Modification, 25, 140-158
• Smith, J., Hand, L., & Dowrick, P. W. (2014). Video feedforward for rapid learning of a picture-based communication system. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 44(4), 926-936.
• Spriggs, A. D., Knight, V., & Sherrow, L. (2015). Talking picture schedules: Embedding video models into visual activity schedules to increase independence for students with ASD. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 45(12), 3846-3861.
• Van Laarhoven T, et al., (2007) The Effectiveness of Using a Pocket PC as a Video Modeling and Feedback Device for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities in Vocational Settings Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, 4, 28-45.
• Wilson, K. P. (2013). Teaching social-communication skills to preschoolers with autism: efficacy of video versus in vivo modeling in the classroom. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 43(8), 1819-1831.

References on Handwriting:
• Case-Smith J. (2002). Effectiveness of School Based Occupational Therapy Intervention on Handwriting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56, 1, 17-25.
• Farris, P. (1991). Views and other views: Handwriting instruction should not become extinct. Language Arts, 68, 312-314.
• Graham, S., Harris, K.R., & Fink, B. (2000). Extra Handwriting instruction: Prevent writing difficulties from the start. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33, 88-32.
• Tseng, M.H. (1998). Development of pencil grip position in preschool children. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 19, 207-224.

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