In this longitudinal study, the writing skill development of154 Finnish-speaking children was followed from preschool to thethird grade. The focus was on predictive associations betweenpreschool writing readiness skills and later mechanics ofwriting, as well as between word recognition skill, mechanics ofwriting, and composition coherence. In addition, comparisons weremade between boys and girls to see to what extent writing skilldevelopment is gender-specific. Multi-group structural equationmodeling was used for statistical analysis. The results indicatedthat both mechanics of writing and composition coherence could bepredicted from performance on the same skill at an earlier pointin time. Preschool measures of phonological and visual-motorskills predicted later mechanics of writing. Word recognitionworked as a predictor of later mechanics of writing andcomposition coherence, but only starting from second grade, whenthe development of the word recognition skill had becomestabilized at a high enough level. Furthermore, first grademechanics of writing predicted second grade compositioncoherence, but only at this early stage of productive writingwhen there were still difficulties in the mechanics of writing.Girls were better at tasks measuring mechanics of writing andwrote more coherent stories than boys. The gender difference inthe mechanics of writing at the first grade level was explainedby the presented model. Educational implications were discussed.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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