The study aimed to deepen the understanding of parental sensitivity to their children’s abilities and the nature of their scaffolding during writing tasks. We compared the parent–child writing interactions of three groups: precocious readers (PRs), same age preschoolers (SA), and older children with the same reading level (SRL) as the PRs. Each of 60 parent child-dyads was videotaped during three writing activities that varied in their structure level: word writing, writing a birthday invitation, and free writing within a wordless children’s book. Interactions were analyzed for parental literacy-specific, social-emotional, and general cognitive support. Results demonstrated parents’ sensitivity to their children’s developmental level and skills. Parents of PRs showed levels of literacy-specific support similar to parents of older children with the SRL, and higher than parents of SA non-reading children. Parents of PRs resembled parents of SA preschoolers and provided their children with more social-emotional support than parents of the older SRL children. The general cognitive support of parents of PRs was higher than that of the two other groups. Moreover, parents of PRs referred to writing conventions and showed more responsiveness than parents in the other two groups. Parents in all three groups emphasized literacy-specific support during the more structured writing tasks (words and invitation), and placed greater emphasis on the social-emotional and general cognitive support during the least structured task (free writing within the wordless book). Beyond these differences, parents demonstrated a consistent support style. We discuss parent–child writing interactions as a context for early literacy development.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 23, 2016
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