Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Using Graphology to Teach Traditional Writing

Michael Conte, Jr.

Contents of Curriculum Unit 86.04.04:

To Guide Entry

Government studies over the last few years have indicated to educators that student ability to write has been in a steady decline. Standardized test scores, and tests in which students must demonstrate a mastery of different writing techniques, spotlight these deficiencies and bring them glaringly out to the public’s awareness.

Writing is a powerful tool which allows us to communicate with one another in a clear, exact and meaningful way. Why then do students not like to write? Have the telephone and television been the instruments of destruction? Possibly? Probably? Most Likely? Definitely? No!!! We, as educators are faced with the responsibilities of teaching students to write and express themselves well, through various forms of written expression. We are faced with the task of exploring new ways to allow students to develop their writing skills.

In the middle schools we give the students many writing assignments in which we, red marker in hand, inspect for the fine points of punctuation, observe structure, correct the spelling errors and check for content. This unit on writing is suggested for use in the upper middle school grades (7-8) with advanced students in an English or Writing class. This unit will also engage the students in a further study of narrative, descriptive and expository writing. The approximate duration should be from 6-8 weeks, culminating with an exposition of class work or some sort of school publication.

The goal of the unit is to increase the students’ abilities to write in the narrative, descriptive and expository forms. The specific objectives will be detailed and explained at the beginning of each section. These goals and objectives will be realized through using handwriting analysis, as a “hook” to capture and maintain, at a high level, the interest of the students.

The organization of this unit will revolve around the narrative, descriptive and expository forms of writing. I have added the hook of graphology to aid in maintaining a high level of interest in the students. The students will analyze samples to develop personality traits of the writer, while at the same time analyze the sample in terms of what are the parts that make a good narrative, descriptive or expository piece of work. Through the different concepts in graphology, the students will, over the course of the unit, analyze different pieces written by the same person. When we put all of the pieces together, this personality portrait will hopefully allow the students to determine the author. In my writing samples, I will ask a teacher who is well known to the students to do the writing.

This unit will have 4 main areas which when used as a total package will enhance the teaching of writing. I envision the unit containing, at the minimum, 32 lesson plans with modifications in length still dependent upon each teaching situation. I will spend two days preparing the students for the unit by detailing the history of graphology. I will also introduce and display books on the subject of graphology and lay the foundation of study through the theme of the “Mystery Man”. The other 30 or so lessons are equally divided among the narrative, descriptive and expository sections. The plans detailed in the narrative section will address the parts of a good narrative, graphology, clustering, writing the narrative and revision. These plans should be used as a model for the other sections.

In section I, learning modalities, hemisphericity and chalkboard use are introduced. I believe that these concepts and theories are important to us as teachers and I urge you to read them carefully. These theories, which allow us to guarantee to our students that we would have touched upon one modality that they possess which will allow them to learn, I feel, should be incorporated into our teaching strategies.

Section II, narrative writing, contains information on what makes a good narrative, how to analyze the sample narrative graphologically and for the points of a good narrative piece. This section will also provide lesson plans specifically made for the narrative paragraph. These plans can be adapted and used as models for lessons in the descriptive and expository sections. There are two lessons devoted to the parts and form of a good narrative. I will discuss the form and parts of a narrative work in one lesson, then analyze the selection to see if these parts are present. It would be advisable to have a back-up narrative selection for further analysis. The two lessons on graphology, clustering and revision would basically follow the same plan as above. There would be one lesson devoted to providing the class information on how to do the handwriting analysis, clustering and revision. The next lesson would allow the students to do the actual analysis, clustering and revisions. The lessons on writing their own narrative would be self-directed and planned for 2 class sessions. (The teacher should have a list of topics for students to choose from if needed.)

Descriptive writing in section III, and expository writing in section IV, will be taught using the same general plan discussed in the narrative section. I will provide information during one lesson, then allow the students to use this information with a writing sample. The students will then be able to write and revise their own writings.

Graphology must be used just as a motivational tool for the teacher to help excite students to write. It must remain clear that it takes a great deal of training, practice and supervision to become adept and an authority in handwriting analysis. The type of analysis that I propose should be very general, broad and fun to do.

(Note: A brief detailed history of graphology is on file at the Institute office.)

In writing, as in body language, there is a hidden message that can represent a particular personality trait which graphologers, through the analysis of writing samples, try to uncover. Graphology can never be one hundred percent accurate but certain facts cannot be ignored. In Handwriting Analysis Self Taught by Joel Engel, he states that handwriting analysis cannot determine the age of the writers. Also, graphologists can predict to an accuracy of 60% the sex of the writer with the accuracy of a psychological analysis jumping to 90-85%. (p.3)

Before the students begin to analyze handwriting, there are a few basic rules that Peggy Mann suggests in her book, The Telltale Line, The Secrets of Handwriting Analysis, that the budding graphologist adhere to. These rules are: try and find out the age and sex of the subject; do not try to do children under 10; anything written will do (in a long passage use the last parts); it doesn’t matter what is written; if you use a photo copy, pressure, margins and line-up have to be avoided; keep a magnifying glass close by; and remember there is room for error so only use words such as tends to or is inclined to be when reporting your findings. (p. 10)

I. Learning Modalities

Note: Read the sections on Learning Modalities, Hemisphericity and Chalkboard very carefully, for I believe that it contains information that will help the students learn more easily. This section is intended to inform teachers of these theories, which will hopefully stimulate and encourage them to incorporate them into their teaching strategies.

Are you the type of person who says “one picture is worth a thousand words”? Do you need to touch, feel and handle an object to learn? Are you able to hear and listen to learn? When faced with a problem, do you see the solution in steps or in total? These questions may appear on the surface to be trite and trivial; however, they are important determiners for a successful education. If the teacher does not pay attention to the cues that are transmitted by the learner, barriers may be set up that can hinder the learning process. The three types or modalities of learning are auditory, visual and kinesthetic.

An auditory learner primarily learns through verbal instructions. This type of learner also: enjoys dialogue, uses phonics as an approach, has more difficulty learning in the initial stages, remembers names, forgets faces, thinks in sounds, is easily distracted by sounds, talks out problems, blows up verbally, enjoys listening but cannot wait to talk, expresses emotion verbally and likes hearing self and others talk.

A visual learner primarily receives information by watching demonstrations or seeing something done. Other traits include: likes descriptions, recognizes words by sight, remembers faces, forgets names, writes things down, takes notes, thinks in pictures, plans in advance, doodles, facial expression a good indication of emotion, does not talk at length, likes order and tends to focus on details.

The last mode of learning, kinesthetic, is characterized by the students’ direct participation. Other clues to this mode of learning include: prefers stories with action, fidgets in his seat, remembers best what was done, not what was seen, not attentive to visual or auditory presentations, attacks problems physically, tries things out, touches, feels, manipulates, pounds when angry, general body tone a good indication of emotional level, stands close when speaking or listening, quickly loses interest and at exhibits has to touch everything. (Taken from Mastery Teaching: The Institute for Teaching and Learning, sponsored by the State of CT, Department of Education in collaboration with ACES. A complete list of the attributes of the three types of learning modalities are on file at the Institute office.)

Students, like teachers, have a preference in which they receive material and learn. The students can use their preference mode in isolation or in combination with another. It is our responsibility as professionals to determine that mode and meet the individual’s needs. When should teachers adapt and change the mode of teaching and how can we determine when to change?

Teachers should be aware of modality preferences, and our cues to adapt are when we are introducing new material to the students or when the student is having difficulty in learning the material. (Refer to the packet on file at the Institute office which contains a formal and informal test teachers can use to determine modality preference.) When this is noted, the teacher must change modes in order to maximize student learning. When teachers introduce a new idea by using the strongest receptor a student has, we enhance the possibility that original learning will take place. When the proper modality of learning is determined by the teacher, the students learning can be accelerated.


In recent years there has been a great deal of research in right and left brain differences and how they effect learning. Rico (p. 69) shows the two different hemispheres of the brain (left-sign mind, right-design mind) while listing how each functions in relation to the writing process. To briefly illustrate a few of the functions each has would be that the left hemisphere is sequential in process, logical, has the power of syntax and can remember complex motor sequences. Whereas, the right hemisphere is analogic, mute, uses pictures not words, can remember complex images and discovers “what”.

What does all of this right and left hemisphere study do for the teacher in the writing class? The knowledge of brain function will allow the teacher to develop a plan for writing instruction that will use the strengths of both to produce the whole. Rico (p.72) states that: “to achieve natural writing we move from the wondering, exploring, inquisitive, receptive right brain in the productive, idea generating stages to the sequential, syntactical, sequentially organizing capabilities of the left brain in the later stages of the writing process.” It is this cooperation between the two hemispheres that produces the type of “natural writing” that we lead our students to. This writing process is dependent upon the two halves of the brain “kicking in” at the right time when needed to produce a creative work. Rico (p. 81) sums up beautifully this integration when she states: “Aesthetic mental activity, primarily a right brain function sows the seeds of the creative act. But the creative act itself demands the specialized talents of the left brain.”

Right brain functions that aid in the writing process include the ability to produce images, recognize patterns, interpret the position of words, use metaphors, imagine the entire structure of a piece and make intricate patterns. However, the right brain cannot put together words. The left brain functions that are useful in putting together a piece of writing include the ability to be specific, put words together, use correct spelling and syntax and be literal.

The idea of clustering is a way in which we can overcome many of the difficulties that we have in writing. As young children our right brain functions were superior in allowing us to acquire and use knowledge. However, in school, we reward those left brained activities while neglecting those of the right. The concept of clustering in writing utilizes both hemispheres of the brain by first tapping into the right side (design mind) which puts together the scheme. Once the scheme is made, elements that are inherent with left brain (sign mind) activity take over and perform the nuts and bolts of the work. A lesson plan demonstrating the concept of clustering is located in the narrative section.


What do all of us use everyday in our classrooms, sits in front of every room in every school in every city? The Chalkboard!!! This teaching tool can be used very effectively in teaching to both halves of the brain. There are 4 basic principles that we should keep in mind while we are using the chalkboard.

The first principle, saying before you write, is based on 3 major assumptions. These assumptions are that we speak faster than we write; the learner does not have to guess at the message while it is being written; and the time between the saying and writing allows storage in their short term memory. The second principle is using key words and simple diagrams. This technique allows the right hemisphere to process the diagram while the left brain processes our words. We could say, On your chalkboard use key words and simple diagrams; but write key words-simple diagrams. Position-Relationship, the third principle, utilizes right brain activity for understanding. If on the board we write Washington Jefferson before Jefferson. However, if we write Washington-Jefferson, we are sending out the message that they are equal. The last principle concerning the chalkboard is to erase before you write a new concept. This simple principle insures that the right brain does not get lost in trying to interpret a great number of visual messages that have been previously written.

II. Narrative Writing

The narrative form of writing is used when the writer wants his audience to know that something has happened. In this section of the unit, I will discuss the elements of a first person narrative and use the handwriting sample as a way to motivate the students to write. The objectives of this section are that the students will be able to: define a narrative selection; list the parts of a narrative; plan a narrative; write a narrative; and analyze the sample using the handwriting points of margins, legibility, size and spacing between lines and words.

I will end this section detailing lesson plans appropriate for the narrative section. These plans, as stated earlier, should serve as a guide for lessons in the descriptive and expository writing sections. Note: In the introductory lesson, the idea of the “mystery man” in the handwriting samples should be developed.

When an author sits down and decides to write a narrative piece, do you think that he just sits down at his typewriter and writes? I don’t think so. In any good piece of narrative writing, the author makes a very careful plan of what he intends to write about. He pays close attention to how she starts the work, the body of the story and the ending.

The start of any narrative work should grab your interest quickly and get you into the message of the piece without any delay. If the narrative takes a long time to develop, then the audience that the piece was intended for gets lost, becomes uninterested or stops reading.

In the body of the work, the author must be careful in selecting the events that are included in the story. Good narrative writing lets the audience know what is happening in the story; they are not just being told. The author in including certain details must continue to refer to his plan (discussed later) and not include items that are unnecessary. A good way to think about details is to ask yourself, does it make the story better or does it throw the reader off target.

In ending your narrative, it is necessary for you to finish the story. This should be brief and concise, and it should let the reader know how you felt.

In discussing the plan of a narrative piece, I mean that the author should produce a guide including the elements he wants in the story. The general points that might be included in such a plan would be: when the events took place; where it happened; the characters involved; the action and your feelings about the event.

In writing narratives, there are a few errors that we should be aware of. These errors include not following the plan, adding details that are not needed or having faulty beginnings.

The narrative that I have selected (Warriner p. 383) can be used to discuss the elements mentioned earlier. I will use it as a model lesson in this section. The use of graphology in this unit is only to be used as a motivational tool to discuss the major topics in narrative, descriptive and expository writing. The handling of the handwriting analysis will be general and non-specific.


How a person puts his words on paper can tell a great deal about himself. A person who holds to a narrow left margin tends to be straightforward, whereas, the wide left margin indicates the free spirit, who is fair and openminded. When a sample shows a narrow right margin the person’s tendencies are friendly and one who mixes well with people. A wide right margin is indicative of a person who withdraws in a group. Crowded margins tend to indicate a person who collects and keeps everything, whereby, a sample showing wide right and left margins can lead one to believe that the person keeps to himself and is a follower. Mixed margins indicate the cautious person who just can’t seem to get it together. Regular margins tend to follow people with good taste.


The person who writes in such a manner that is easy to read indicates a person who is ready, willing and able to communicate and share his thoughts. Illegible writing in people indicates a person who wants to keep things to himself, is very busy or has a writing style that cannot keep up with his thoughts, genius.


The size of the letters from very large to very small gives significant clues to the person’s inner personality. A person who writes very large tends to be outgoing and wants recognition. Also, if this person has very little talent, he tends to be a person who pushes people around. Large writing indicates a person who is enthusiastic and friendly, whereas, a medium writing size tells very little. Small letters are possible signs of a person who can think through problems; with very small writing indicating a person with a high degree of intelligence who tends to be a loner.

Spacing Between Lines

Generally speaking, when we see handwriting that has lines close together, it indicates a person with narrow vision and mizerly tendencies. Normal lined space writers have things under control and can handle situations well. Wide spaces indicate a person can handle situations well and organizes his life well.

Spacing Between Words

Words that are seen close together show possible signs of a person who does not trust people but can hold information in confidence. Large spaces indicate a person willing to explore and make friends. In normal spacing we tend to see people who have their lives in good order, whereas, when we see uneven spaces, we tend to see people who cannot complete tasks and are always in disarray.

Lesson Plans

The first two lessons in this section will be used to discuss the narrative paragraph. Lesson 1 will define and discuss the elements that are included in a good narrative paragraph. In this lesson, I will also write sample sentences that would illustrate the points covered. The sentences would be concerned with those elements that made a good narrative piece, as opposed to those that made a poor one.

In the second lesson of this section, I will use the “mystery man” sample. I will reacquaint the students to the “mystery man” theme and then review the narrative elements we covered in the previous lesson. Using the sample, we would then analyze it for the parts necessary for a good narrative paragraph. If time allowed, I will use other narrative samples found in Warriner’s text to analyze.

Lesson three in this unit will be used to discover, through handwriting analysis, who our mystery man is. This lesson will be used to introduce the elements that we will use to analyze the sample. I will pass out a copy of the elements of analysis that we will be concerned with (I will make this from the graphology books) and go over how each one is used by the graphologist. I will then pass out a copy of my writing, illustrating the points and do a whole group analysis as practice. I will then have available to the class more samples to practice with if needed.

Lesson four will use our “mystery man” sample. We will review the points discussed in the previous lesson, review the procedures for analysis, review the elements that go into making a good narrative selection and reinforce to the class that this is for fun and that it would take much training to become experts in the field of graphology. I will then ask the students to individually analyze the sample and make notes on the personality traits that they have discovered. We will then, as a class, discuss what was written and come to some conclusions. (I might put this on a chart kept on the wall, so that a total picture of the person can be seen.)

Lesson five will try to move the students to a different way to attempt writing. This lesson will have the students start writing a passage from design mind (right hemisphere) then allow the sign mind (left hemisphere) to jump in and complete the assignment. I will first show the class models of clusters (example shown below) to show the free associations that can be made from a central topic or thought. (Refer to the packet in the Institute office that details major ideas behind clustering and hemisphericity. It is also detailed in Rico p.82-3.) We would discuss how possibly these associations were made, then do as a group, a cluster around the topic “Better late than never”. While we are doing this, I would instruct the students that when they feel the urge to write then they should immediately forget what we are doing on the board and write. Later, ask for volunteers to read what they wrote (3-5 min.) and if time allows, do another group cluster. An example might be “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Clustering Trial Web From Cluster

(figure available in print form)
____1. What a tangled web we weave

____2. Many small creatures move and are destroyed

____  (pick one thought to write about)

Lesson six in this set concerns itself with the next level past clustering, trial web. The trial web (noted above) is the design mind guiding you in your writing. Trial web is when you suddenly find a direction and urge to write, that has directly lead from your cluster. I will explain to the students the idea of trial web, then allow them to experiment in class. I will have the class begin to cluster around the word trial and allow them to free associate with it. In the lesson I will tell them that two things may occur. First, they may suddenly get the urge to write. Secondly, and not so subtly is that they will begin to see the entire picture and sense a direction to write. I will ask for volunteers to share their clusters and read what they have written. If time permits, the students can attempt other writing samples in class. Suggestions might include using the word young, showing a picture or having a piece of art to look at.

The last four lessons of the narrative section are integrated using all of the preceding elements covered. I will begin lesson seven by reviewing the parts of a good narrative, the concept of clustering and trial web shift. I will then have the students write a narrative paragraph. When they complete the paragraph, I will collect it and save it for future use. (Topic suggestions can be found in Warriner’s text.)

Lesson eight will be used to demonstrate different techniques that one could use in revising their work. The points that I will discuss in class are:

1. any sentences and paragraphs that are not clear should be rewritten
2. all unnecessary details should be omitted
3. if sentences, phrases or words have the potential to confuse the reader, cut them out
4. read the work out loud and check for punctuation
5. if it needs it, rearrange for logic
6. correct grammar and spelling
7. reread for accuracy.
Once we have covered the rules of revision, we will as a class revise a sample together. This would give the class practice and a working knowledge of how to revise. (You might want to use a sample that you wrote or ask a colleague to write one for you.)

Lesson nine will be to further our understanding of revision. I will go over the rules of revision that were covered in a previous lesson and the techniques on how to revise. Then I will pass back the narratives written for lesson seven and ask the students to revise their work. If possible and time permits, I would ask for volunteers to share their first drafts and tell us what they have done differently in their revisions.

Lesson ten of this section would allow the students time to write and revise a narrative following the steps outlined in previous lessons. Students can choose their own topics or you can provide a list of suggestions. (refer to Warriner’s text)

III. Descriptive Writing

The purpose of descriptive writing is to have the reader feel, experience, see and hear about an event or happening. In this part of the unit, I will detail elements of descriptive writing and motivate the students by using graphology as a tool for analysis. Specific objectives are that the student will be able to: list the parts of a descriptive writing piece; analyze the piece for those parts; use words effectively; write a descriptive story and analyze the handwriting using the points of lining up, letter slope, letter size and zones.

When we write a descriptive piece, we can make it alive by appealing to all of the senses. The descriptive story that can make the reader feel he is present at the event; know intimately the people in the story and make all of the events seem real, is truly the artist.

In descriptive writing, the vocabulary and use of words (verbs, adverbs, adjectives) are the important elements needed to make an interesting story. Verbs are an important element in descriptive writing because they show action. Verbs that are dull or overworked make the piece slow and boring to read. A good exercise that you can use in your class to help improve verb vocabulary and avoid the overworked verbs follows. On the chalkboard make a list of common verbs that we use everyday to describe action. The examples might include walk, talk, run, see, hear, shout, etc. Have the class brainstorm to develop a list of words that can be used in place of them, a way to “spice them up”. (Do not let the class use a thesaurus) For example, the work run could be placed on the board and the students could replace it with hop, glide, swoop, dilly-dally, etc., which would enhance and create a more vivid image.

Adverbs and adjectives, when used properly and not abused, can aid in producing a more vivid picture to the reader. They should be used sparingly, be different and produce images in the mind that you (author) want to portray. The exercise above can also be used for adverbs and adjectives, however a variation can also be effective. Write a sentence on the board and have the students make substitutions for the adverbs or adjectives. For example, The brownies that my sister made in her cooking class were terrible. What words could you substitute to replace terrible?

The piece that I chose (Warriner’s p. 387) will be used to illustrate in my lesson plans how to write a descriptive paragraph. The piece can also be used as a handwriting sample to be used in conjunction with lining up, letter slopes, letter size and shapes when doing a handwriting analysis.

Lining Up

The way in which a person slants his lines, gives a strong indication into the inner personality of the writer. In order to perform this exercise, you must use tracing paper along with the chart. (Mann p. 24) Put your chart over the sample. If the slant flows along #3 then the person tends to be well adjusted and able to handle changing situations. A writer who goes up and down has tendencies toward carelessness and mood changes.

The writers with upward slopes #1 and #2, tend to be optimistic and able to deal well in most situations. This person is also likely to be very ambitious. The person with a #1 slope shows signs of possibly being too ambitious.

At the opposite side, a #4 and #5 slope indicates pessimistic people with low self esteem; with the #5 slope tending toward deep depression.

The slant of the lines can indicate a temporary condition. If you are not sure, check the T bars. If they are different then the slopes, it can mean a mood swing. If they are the same, it indicates the correct reading.

Letter Slope

Letter slope gives us a very strong indication of how the person feels towards other people. In order to do this exercise, you must make a tracing to use in your analysis. (Mann p. 26) Place your tracing over the sample to check the slope. Use the tall letters.

A D slope indicates a person who is well adjusted, friendly and very normal. An E slope shows possible signs of a person who wears their emotions on their sleeves and is easily upset. In C sloped writing, the person has tendencies to be middle of the road, don’t take chances type of person. A and B slopes indicate people who want to be alone and find it difficult to make friends.

If the subject is left handed, omit this area from your analysis. A person who has many slants, has tendencies to be unpredictable with many hidden problems.

Letter Size

Make a tracing (Mann p. 29) of the boxes to aid in your study of letter size. Place each box over the words until you match one that fits the small letters. Boxes A and B indicate high intelligence, unconcerned about appearance and can think independently. We tend to find the average person who writes in the size of boxes C and D. The size E and F person is one who tends to live life to the fullest, enjoys himself and is there when you need him. The very large writings of box G indicates the person who is a show-off and always does more than necessary.

One further check is to see if all of the letters are the same size. If they are, the person tends to be a hard worker; if they go up and down, the person shows possible signs of looking after number one. A downward slope indicates a person who is shifty and a wheeler-dealer.

Letter Zones

We have three zones in our handwriting which aid in the total analysis of the sample. Upper zones are the tall letters which indicate goals and drives; middle zones which tell us about coping with daily living and lower zones which indicate our physical side.

In order to evaluate any sample using zones, it is necessary for you to look at them all at once. If they are all equal, this indicates the normal person. If the upper zones are exaggerated, it possibly shows signs of the unrealistic person who has unattainable goals. Zones that appear to all have the same size as the middle, indicates the down to earth person who is physically activate. (Mann p. 32)

Lesson Plans

I would proceed with the same package of ten lessons as described in the narrative section. These plans allow for a continuity throughout the unit and insures that all of the objectives are covered. However, the most important feature is that it allows students to write. If any time adjustments must be made, combine clustering and trial web into one lesson and make revisions part of the ongoing writing process. In place of this, I would have a lesson suggested earlier on verb, adverb and adjective use.

IV. Expository Writing

In this form of writing, the author is presenting information to his reader. This part of the unit will explain the points needed to write in this form and by using handwriting analysis, have some fun in looking closely at the writer. At the end of this section the students will be able to: list the points of a good expository paragraph; describe the different purposes for writing in this form; analyze an expository work for all of the elements; make an outline for a potential paragraph; discuss the graphological elements of letter shapes, connectors, beginnings, endings, and capitals; and finally analyze the paragraph to further gain clues to discover our “mystery man”.

In the expository form of writing, the information presented is the most important point in the writing. The author is attempting to present information that the reader does not know. The knowledge that the author has must be transmitted to the reader in such a manner that can be easily understood. If the information is laced with jargon, comprehension will be minimal.

A way in which we can provide information in a logical and understandable way is to plan your work before you begin to write. The form that comes to mind and that is the easiest to manage is the standard outline. Before we jump into making an outline, it is important that the author choose a subject that he knows about from experience or knowledge that has been acquired. The author should not have to look this material up.

Once the subject of the writing is chosen, a good technique is to brainstorm many ideas and thoughts that would generally fit the topic. Do not try to organize at this point, but be free and just write. The next task would be to eliminate any ideas that did not fit the general topic and start to group the ideas under headings. As can readily be seen, we are beginning to form the classic outline which will be the backbone of our writing. When the outline is formally put in place, the writing becomes very easy.

With the outline as the guide to writing, it is important that you refer back to it often. The writing of the piece now becomes the easy part of the assign ent. However, the author must remember to relate the information in a manner that the reader can understand; be constantly aware of the audience he wants to reach; and be aware of the space and time factors of the work.

The selection that I chose (Warriner’s p. 389) can be used by the teachers to illustrate points that relate to expository writing that have been discussed in this section. The handwriting sample can be copied and used to illustrate the graphological points of letter slopes, connectors, beginnings, endings and capitals.

Letter Slopes

The way in which we write our small letters give the budding graphologist many clues to the personality of the subject. I will highlight a few to give you a flavor of this area, as space constraints will not allow for a complete listing. (Refer to the bibliography for complete lists.)

A’s and O’s

Generally speaking, those who make there a’s and o’s with no loops a, o tend to be caring, while those with many loops a, o not. Letters that are closed at the top a, o tend to show the trait of privacy and being able to keep a secret, opened at the top a, o are the opposite. The a’s and o’s knotted at the top a, o are displaying tendencies toward closeness within themselves, whereas, those knotted on the left a, o tend not to be trustworthy.

(figures available in print form)

Small i

The small i, especially the dot on it, give the analyst more information toward making the final assessment. An i with no dot i indicates a person who starts but seldom finishes anything. Heavy dotted i’s i indicate an aggressive person and where the dot is a circle i a vain person is indicated. The high dot i leads us to determine a high level of imagination with the low dot i indicating a person who can perform tasks to the end. Finally, the dash dot i indicates a zest for life and also one who can easily be distracted.

(figures available in print form)

T Bars

T bars are a very important indicator into the personality of the writer. If a person makes 2-3 different crossings, then this leads us to indications that the writer can do many things. If we see more than 5 on a page, we can conclude that there is a strong indication of problems within. When a t is crossed low t, this indicates a quiet shy person, however, a high cross t can indicate vanity, creativity and insecurity. The person who crosses his t’s with an upward slant t shows tendencies toward optimism, where the down slant t indicates a determined aggressive attitude. A t that has no cross i is a possible sign of carelessness, whereby the fancy star shaped t t leads us to believe the person is very sensitive.

(figures available in print form)


This section investigates how we put our letters together to form words. A sample that shows all letters connected narrative, usually indicates a person who is rigid, logical and firm. When most are connected narrative the writer is well organized and can reason things out. A sample showing a varied pattern narrative indicates to the analyst a person with a keen awareness and imagination. In the case where most of the letters are not connected narrative, this indicates a person is either highly creative or taking on life by the seat of the pants.

(figures available in print form)


The way in which we start our small letters indicates whether growth has developed from when writing was taught. A person who does not have the beginning stroke t, w shows that he is adaptable and has changed. The person who still has the stroke at the start of the small letters t, w tends to display and unwillingness to change.

(figures available in print form)


The way we form the tails on our e’s give graphologers clues to the personality of the writer. An e with no tail are indicates a very careful person where a short tail are leads us to the possibility of shyness. A long tail are tends to be associated with traits of people who are self-assured and friendly, while the tail that curves are indicates a caring person who will try to help people out. A tail that drops under are indicates a very thick-headed person.

(figures available in print form)


Generalizations that we can make about the way people make their capitals include overblown ones that show boasting and small ones that show a person’s timidness. Middle zone capitals are indicative of low self-esteem whereby, the upper zone ones indicate a high self-regard.

Look for the capital I that people write, for this is a good personality indicator. If the I is smaller than the other capitals I, M, S, this indicates signs of low self-esteem, if it is larger I, M, S the indication is that the person thinks a great deal about himself. A tall simple I I indicates a person you can trust whereas, an intricate I I indicates a show off. An I that is toward the left I leads us to a possible conclusion that the person resents something in his past and if the I is toward the right I, it indicates a problem in dealing with new situations.

(figures available in print form)

Lesson Plans

I will continue using the format that I have established in the narrative and descriptive sections. In place of the two lessons on clustering and trial web shift, which I would combine into one lesson, I would instruct the students on how to make an outline. In class we would make a group, then individual outline to practice this technique. To reinforce the importance of revision, I would use the lesson plan, as it was taught in the narrative section.

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Teacher Bibliography

Gersten, Leon and Arthur Traiger. Solutions To Your Writing Problems. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1980.

An excellent book that will detail a writing program that can be used in school. I recommend it.

Macrorie, Ken. Telling Writing. Rochelle Park, N.J.: Hayden Publishers, 1984.

This book would be best used in the high schools. It does however, remain an excellent resource for all teachers who want to take the teaching of writing seriously.

Perlmutter, Jerome. A Practical Guide to Effective Writing. New York: Random House, 1965.

A good refresher book for teachers who are going to teach writing after being away from it for awhile.

Rico, Gabriele Lusser. Writing the Natural Way. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1984.

A definite must for your library at school and home. This book gives the teacher many useful and practical ways of teaching writing in the schools. I would rate this book number one in the readings that I have done.

Vail, Priscilla L.. Clear and Lively Writing. New York: Walker and Company, 1981.

This book gives the teacher a multitude of ideas for the teaching of writing. The activities suggested allow for a great amount of work to be done by the children. I recommend this book.

Werber, Philip, editor. New Approaches to Writing: An Idea Book for Teachers. Bantam Books, Inc., 1973.

A book that helps teach strategies and techniques to develop the students’ powers of observation, imagination and expression.

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Student Bibliography

Byrd, Anita. Handwriting Analysis: A Guide to Personality. New York: Arco Publishing, Inc., 1982.

This book is very useful to compare writing samples and make observations. This book is easy to read and use, a good book to have in class

Engel, Joel. Handwriting Analysis Self-Taught. New York: Elsevier/Nelson Books, 1980.

An easy to use book that will allow the students to make easy comparisons of the writing sample.

Mann, Peggy. The Telltale Line, The Secrets of Handwriting Analysis. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company Inc., 1976.

This is a very good book for children to get an introduction to the science of graphology. The charts are easy to read and will help the children in their attempts at analysis. I would get this book for a classroom resource.

Martin, Lee J.. The Five-Hundred Word Theme. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1968. This book details the organization for writing a short essay. This is a very good resource for the advanced student in the middle schools.

Nadall, Florry. Pen in Hand. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1965.

An easy to use book that describes personality traits associated with handwriting tendencies.

Warriner, John E.. English Grammar and Composition, First Course. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. This is the textbook used in our school. It is the basal series that the children use. I will also use the Second Course in my classroom.

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Contents of 1986 Volume IV | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

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