Physical activity and lateralization: the perfect learning duo. A research project in the primary school
In the present study the effect of a physical education protocol aiming at improving the prerequisites of reading and writing skills was evaluated in the primary school.Two year-one classes were assigned, respectively, to a control group, which undertook standard physical education classes (1h, 2 times-a-week for the whole school year), and to an experimental group, which undertook the same physical education schedule and contents but spent some of those hours on an exercise program aimed at improving reading and writing skill prerequisites. Before and after the intervention children of both groups were assessed for reading and writing skills (SD1 test), walking and object handling skills (TGM tests), and lateral dominance. The results were compared using the independent sample Mann-Whitney U (intergroup comparisons of the pre-test
values and of the variations recorded in each group across the school year) and the matched sample Wilcoxon (intra-group comparisons between pre- and post-test values) non parametric statistics. Results showed significantly greater improvements of the SD1 and TGM tests in the experimental group compared to control group, and significant improvements of lateral dominance in both
groups. In conclusion, physical education significantly improves the acquisition of the reading and writing prerequisites.