Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 17: 387–409, 2004.
© 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
The role of maternal mediation of writing to kindergartners in
promoting literacy in school: A longitudinal perspective
DORIT ARAM and IRIS LEVIN
School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Abstract. The current study follows up on Aram and Levin’s (2001, Cognitive Development,
16, 831–852) analysis of the role of maternal writing mediation among low SES Israeli kinder-
gartners. That study’s main ﬁnding indicated that the quality of maternal writing mediation
correlated concurrently with kindergartners’ literacy skills after controlling for socio-cultural
measures. The present study followed up the participants to the second grade in school, and
evaluated their level of Spelling, Reading Comprehension, and Linguistic Knowledge two
and a half years later. The results indicate that the children’s literacy measures in school
were predicted by maternal writing mediation in kindergarten beyond SES and the early
literacy measures assessed in the kindergarten (Word Writing and Linguistic Knowledge).
These results highlight the signiﬁcance of early maternal writing mediation as a major factor
in literacy development.
Key words: Early literacy, Joint writing, Longitudinal study, Mediation, Reading comprehen-
sion, SES, Spelling
Reading and writing are essential social tools in a technological society.
These skills constitute the basis for learning, and their successful acquisition
comprises one of the central keys to scholastic achievement (Cunningham
& Stanovich, 1997). Because of the crucial importance of these skills,
researchers invest many resources in studying the measures (in the child,
family, school, and community) that may predict early literacy and success
in acquiring reading and writing.
The present study focused on familial measures, with the aim of under-
standing their contributions to the child’s literacy at school. The study
longitudinally followed children with low socioeconomic status (SES), from
kindergarten to school. In a previous study (Aram & Levin, 2001), we
reported on the contribution of maternal mediation of writing to early literacy
in kindergarten. In the follow-up study reported here, we examined the quality
of mother’s mediation of writing to her child in kindergarten as a potential
predictor of literacy two and a half years later in school, when controlling for
the child’s early literacy skills in kindergarten and for SES.