The differential association of COVID-19 remote digital instruction period with second-grade students' graphomotor, handwriting, visual, and sequential memory skills

Rafat Ghanamah, Hazar Eghbaria-Ghanamah, Esther Adi-Japha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced unexpected changes to ordinary societal life, including the education system. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, multiple aspects of schooling were affected, including an unexpected shift to the home environment and emphasis on online instruction, which affected children's mental health as well as their social, psychological, and academic functioning. Very few studies have addressed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on handwriting and its underlying skills typically acquired in kindergarten and first grade. Aims: This study aimed to examine whether students' handwriting and underlying grapho-motor skills were altered following the COVID-19 pandemic period. Sample: This study included 200 Arab Israeli second graders (99 girls). Methods: We compared measures (visual-motor integration, motor-coordination, visual perception, repeated symbol writing, and sequential-memory measures) of second-grade Arab Israeli students following the withdrawal of the COVID-19 restrictions (N = 100; 50 girls, assessed in February 2022) with second graders who attended the same schools one year before the pandemic outbreak (N = 100; 49 girls, assessed in February 2019). Results: The results show that children who attended kindergarten and first grade during the pandemic had poorer scores on each of the styli-related grapho-motor tests, while the two groups were comparable in their visual perception and verbal short-term memory tests. Moreover, students in the COVID-19 cohort relied more on grapho-motor skills for handwriting production than pre-COVID-19 students. Conclusions: Thus, educational institutions and policymakers should plan and execute literacy programs that effectively focus on and support students' grapho-motor and handwriting skills.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101898
JournalLearning and Instruction
Volume91
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Handwriting
  • ILT
  • Memory
  • Remote instruction

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