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Size One letters

Size One letters

We joke that Size Matters comes packaged as a song and dance. Here are the Lyrics to the Size One Rule… and trust, me, when I sing them, I’m dancing! Size One letters…

The Size Matters Handwriting Program approach pays tribute to multiple theories of MOTIVATION. 

  • Self-Actualization. The drive to master something new. The belief by Whole Language and similar anything-goes philosophies that children should never be corrected was so misguided. Kids want to learn how to print. And When they are young, they want very much to get it right.
  • Goal or Achievement Theory - This is about Reaching an end. There are 3 components to Goal or Achievement Theory.
  1. The first is Proximity. How long will it takes to get to the end. Well… in the Size Matters Handwriting Program, whatever number you roll on the dice is the endpoint. 
  2. Difficulty refers to whether the challenge is achievable.  In SMHP, kids are given anywhere from 1 to 2, 3, 5, or 20 letters to print at a time. Therapists should not assign any more letters/words than those in which children can score 80%. Don’t advance to the next step until they reach that.
  3. Specificity means that the end must be clearly defined. That’s where the Rules come in. It is very clear what you have to do to earn a STAR.
  • And Self-Determination is the need to feel competent and validated. Size Matters is all about putting control and knowledge in the hands of the children. It’s no small thing to tell a child, “I believe in you!”

Lastly, it reflects MOTOR LEARNING THEORY. Constant and blocked practice followed by random and variable practice.  In other words, start with the same conditions and order of practice so children remember the Rules. But to make printing a skill that they own, you have to change the order and the conditions. Practice printing at times other than printing practice time. Embed handwriting practice into the curriculum so the words and sentences practiced are meaningful and fun! The common ingredient… practice, practice, practice.

As for the OT PRACTICE FRAMEWORK… SMHP works because it is about respecting our students, their interests and values, and addressing their habits in their natural contexts. Toward that end:

  • Include children in the process
  • Teach them the Rules
  • Let them determine their practice
  • Give them tools to score their progress
  • Only hold them responsible for letters learned
  • And make it fun.

So how do we do this already?

This is a very meta-analytic approach. There is a lot of upfront teaching. The idea is to give students they information they need so they can critique and score their own printing.  Instead of an nebulous directive to “Make your printing look better,” but students have no idea what they did wrong in the first place… the Size Matters Handwriting Program gives students a language and concrete observable goals that specifically detail what neat printing looks like.  We’re invested in making them as smart as us regarding how to earn a 100.  In fact, it’s like we’re actually giving them the answers to the test.

But once you know the concepts, the learning curve takes off.  This is especially true for the older students who don’t believe… at first… how literal you are when you say their letters have to touch the writing lines. They’ll initially think they’re close enough. Of course, they won’t earn any stars. (And I’ll explain what I mean by that shortly). But once they realize how easy it is to get a high score, they do it every time.  

Focus on Size and form will follow. This is our mantra. We repeat it over and over again. Focus on Size, form will follow.  It’s not a secret. It’s just that it’s been overshadowed by our preoccupation with letter shapes and the directionality of stroke. What you will find, when you shift the focus to making letters of uniform size, is that the identity of the letters themselves become clearer. Become more readable and More consistent. And correcting errors in letter-size, as I said before, is what is going to change the overall appearance and readability of the written page.    

So let’s look at those concepts one at a time.

Whenever I do a Size Matters lesson, I start off by making sure everyone is on the same page. This includes using a common terminology for the names of the WRITING LINES. When I do a Size Matter lesson, I always start by drawing a series of writing lines on the board. And I ask the students what they typically call these lines. Pointing to the bottom line, I might hear things like foot line, grass line… There’s a program that has a descender line which they call the foot line so this becomes the Knee line. I ask the kids, “If it’s alright with you guys, can we just call the bottom line, THE BOTTOM LINE. This is a plain vanilla program. And I do the same thing with the top line… gathering names. Head Line, hat Line, attic, skyline, cloud line. Again, I ask the question…

”Would it be alright if we just call the top line, THE TOP LINE.  

The middle line is fine as either the dotted or middle line. It’s important to confirm the names of the writing lines because TOUCHING the writing lines in all the right places is going to determine whether you made a letter the right size.

  • At the same time, especially when working with younger students, I introduce the concepts of Go Lines and Finish Lines. Go Lines are green lines that indicate where printing should start. Finish Lines are checkerboards that indicate which direction printing should go. Essentially, you’re insuring the left to right progression across the page.  
  • Reference to Go Lines or Finish Lines can be helpful for correcting reversal issues. We’ll talk more about Letter Lines in a minute, but for now, know that some letters or numbers are made with Forward moving lines. That means the pencil moves toward the Finish Line.  

Check out the top line in number 7, the diagonal line in upper case R, and the curve in lower case h. All are formed while moving toward the right… that is, forward… toward the Finish Line. Some letter lines are made moving backwards… toward the Go Line. Look at the hook on lower case g, the top slant line on upper case K, the diagonal on z.   Among the verbal directions given to children when learning how to form the letters may be reference to the Go Lines and Finish Lines.  

  • The Letterbox Worksheets, the preschool level wipe-off book, and the first step in the Size Matters Handwriting Program introduces the concept. Therapists and teachers are encouraged to point out the Go Lines and Finish Lines on each of the pages.
  • The Student Workbook, the Kindergarten level book, also includes Go Lines and Finish Lines. Here, the Go Lines and Finish Lines start and end each set of Writing Lines.  

Success Stories

Testimonial video preview

Mrs. Costa

Testimonial video preview

Miranda Virone

Suzanne Warnalis

Willow Grove, PA

Size Matters Handwriting Program

“I’ve been using the Letter Sizes with my students. The difference is incredible.”

Denise Campbell

Riverside, OH

Size Matters Handwriting Program

“I have been introducing your program in two K classrooms this year and myself as well as the teachers are really LOVING it!! It’s fantastic to our students catching on to size concepts and make…
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Eileen Bushell

Palatine School District 15, IL

“Next to the week-long course with Jean Ayres, this is the Best Conference I have attended in 35 years as a school OT.”

Mary Bryda Santini

"This is a phenomenal program - one that I have seen great results. If you have a motivated 9th grader - then I’d definitely use size matters.
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Lesli Letke

“Great affordable ideas to use in the classroom.”

Nannette Clark

Somersworth, NH

"Dr. Moskowitz really understands the day-to-day demands of working in schools and offers practical, usable suggestions for decreasing the workload and increasing satisfaction."

Michael Zimmerman

Port Jervis, NY

"An excellent seminar. Dr. Moskowitz presented dozens of useful strategies, materials and ideas. Learned a couple things never presented to me in other seminars. Thank you!"

Janet Wetherbee

Merrimack, NH

"'Practical’ is the keyword—thanks, Dr. Moskowitz!"

Kelli O’Sullivan

Saranac Lake, NY

"Bev tailored the information to her audience.
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Kimberly Coons

Scotia, NY

"This was one of the best seminars I have attended."

Maryanne Kelley

Attleboro, Massachusetts

I finally got my school to get me Beverly Moskowitz’s size matters program. I’ve been using as an RTI intervention for a 3rd grader I tested. All OT testing was average to above average.
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Emily Bisson

Sanford, ME

"The second graders immediately understood the size concept and loved the dice game. It was awesome to see!"

Suzanne Warnalis

Willow Grove, PA

"I’ve been using the Letter Sizes with my students. The difference is incredible!"

Tammy Murray

Worcester, MA

"The teachers can’t believe how quickly the kids caught on."

Traci Calderera

Fort Smith, AR

"Bev rocks!"

Kelly Poje

Otego, NY

"The students amaze me. They are highly motivated to make their letters Star-Worthy every time!"

Danielle Fitzpatrick

Orange Township Board of Education, Orange, NJ

"So today, all recharged from POTA, I decided to try out my new Size Matters handwriting techniques.
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Bernadette Wiemer

Orange, MA

"Beverly is a warm, wise, nurturing, effusive and funny presenter. She and her materials were highly organized, practical and meaningful.
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Kelli O’Sullivan

Saranac Lake, NY

Bev tailored the information to her audience. She gave simple To Do activities to enhance an OT’s value to the team, simple activities to incorporate in the classroom.
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Susan J. King OTR/L

Cornwall, NY

"I took your course in Newburgh this past Monday and have been implementing strategies all week!!! The next day in my handwriting groups I told the kids to "touch" their lines and their printing was…
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Michele Pettenati COTA/L

Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES

"Beverly, I just want you to know that I am using the paper, playing the dice game, talking about the size of the letters, and scoring their writing pages!!!! They all love it and I have seen changes…
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Patricia Calcaro, OT

Chittenango, NY

"Absolutely size matters! Simple, fun, effective! Fast results and so easy to embed during school day.
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Linda Boardsen, OT

Sterling, IL

"Want you to know the Size Matter strategies definitely work. "

Del Alexander, COTA/L

Queen Creek, AZ

"I just have to tell you, I've been using parts of the program for the last week with most of my students in Occupational Therapy Services.
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Janet Amadio, OTR/L

Akron Public Schools

"Earlier this year I wrote to you about a kindergarten teacher who didn't believe kindergarten students were developmentally ready/able to print on lined paper.
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Donna Jo Kennedy

Somerville, NJ

"I just left an IEP meeting where the guardian said she thought the child brought home someone else’s work because his handwriting improved so much."

Beth Wood, OT

Greenwood, SC

"I took your Practical Strategies for Improving the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Impact of Your School-Based OT Services course last spring when you were in Columbia, SC.
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Meghan Morse, OT

Owego, NY

"The SMHP is the first program I have implemented that the kids are actually EXCITED to try and practice making letters.
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Eileen Bushell, OTR/L

Palatine, IL

"Having so many years in practice, I frequently am disappointed....having learned nothing new. But your seminar was amazing.
View more

Eileen Bushell, OTR/ L

Palatine, IL

"All they have to do is ask a teacher or parent who has been using your concept and they will hear them praise your program! "

Brittany Morel, COTA

Wabash, IN

"I have used the SMHP during last school year and I love it! And most importantly the kids love it! I have had so much success with this program with all of my kids, but one in particular comes to…
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Nathania Rachel McNally, OT

Pleasanton, CA

"Thanks Beverly! And thank you for all you do! Your program is brilliant, and I use it all the time!"

Sara Blesch Harpe, OT

Owensboro, KY

"I use the SMHP in Madison County Schools in Georgia. In many cases results are seen within just one or two sessions. Parents like the easy application as well.
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Emily Bisson, OTR

Sanford, ME

“The second graders immediately understood the sizes concept and loved the dice game. It was awesome to see!”

Tammy Murray, DOT Med OTR/L

Worcester, MA

“The teachers can’t believe how quickly the kids caught on.”

Suzanne Warnalis, OTR/L

Willow Grove, PA

"I’ve been using the Letter Sizes with my students. The difference is incredible!"

Linda Fisher, 1st grade teacher

Huntingdon Valley, PA

“I’ll never teach another method of handwriting again! The change was immediate.”

Eileen Bushell, OTR/L

Chicago, IL

"Spaghetti and meatballs is a hit!"

Kelly Poje, OTR/L

Otego, NY

"The students amaze me. They are highly motivated to make their letters Star-Worthy every time!"

Kris Marciniak, OT

Safford, AZ

"I have positive feelings about implementing and trying to get some teachers if not some of my contracted districts on board with Size Matters. I am completely impressed with your energy.
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Susan J. King OTR/L

Cornwall, NY

"Thanks to SMHP I have an entirely new approach to how I look at teaching handwriting."

Genny Cook, OTR

Aspen, CO

"I’ve just been using a few concepts from SMHP and have already had some really great success with a few students, plus a change in attitude toward even working on handwriting."

Haley Jo Barrick, OTR

Kent, WA

"I only went to the SMHP workshop last week and I’m already getting impressed teachers wanting to know more!!! I cannot tell you how slack-jawed the teachers are.
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Greg Santucci, OTR/L

Ocean, NJ

"Instantaneous results!"

Zetryana Rivera

Henderson, NV

"Awesome! I used the basis of the Size Matters Handwriting Program for my son when he started kindergarten. We had already used HWT for learning lines and mat man.
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Kerri Marani Cantino

Pembroke, MA

"I attended the conference for school based therapists last March and implemented the Size Matters program (well the parts I could) with a few of the kids I see and I have already seen such…
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Mary Bryda Santini

Bayonne, NJ

"This is a phenomenal program - one that I have seen great results. If you have a motivated 9th grader - then I’d definitely use size matters.
View more

Robin Galeota

I just wanted to say what an excellent conference you did yesterday in New Rochelle. I was lucky enough to have been in attendance.
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North Rockland Central School District

I just wanted to let you know that I tried the "size 1, 2, 3 letter" strategies with my group this morning and I saw more improvement in one session than I have seen all year! The kids GOT IT.
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Rochelle Soriano Flanigan

Flint, Michigan

I have gone to the HWT conference. I honestly had a difficulty getting carryover. So I decided to look into size matters handwriting program. I just completed the SMHP certification.
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Eileen Bushell

Palatine, IL

All they have to do is ask a teacher or parent who has been using your concept and they will hear them praise your program!

Eileen Bushell

Palatine, IL

Having so many years in practice, I frequently am disappointed....having learned nothing new. But your seminar was amazing.
View more

Eileen Bushell

Chicago, IL

Spaghetti and meatballs is a hit!

Michele Pettenati

Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES

Absolutely size matters! Simple, fun, effective! Fast results and so easy to embed during school day.
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Karen Szatalowicz, MHS, OTR/L

C. A. S. E. Staff Occupational Therapist

I had heard of the Size Matters Handwriting program just prior to the AOTA conference in Chicago this past spring.
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Del Alexander, COTA/L

Queen Creek, AZ

Results with my student well surpasses success. Great timing for reminding me to have a comparison of students with and without the intervention. You are the GREATEST.

Rachel Jackson Belanger

I am excited to try some of your RTI interventions prior to students being referred to OT testing. I also am motivated to try handwriting clubs.

Susan King, OTR/L

I took Beverly's Time saving course in January and used her school strategies when I returned from work. My students loved rolling dice and their letter formation improved.
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Hutchinson Public Schools

Kansas

After watching the video on Ryan, who was learning about Letter Sizes, Lisha Collins wrote: Love this. I am using this next year for sure.

Shira Weininger

I was able to convince the Yeshiva elementary schools that I work in to switch to triple lined writing paper for younger grades and to use Size Matters concepts.
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