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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24841

Title: Story Writing Development from Grades 4 to 6: Do Language Status and Reading Profile Matter?
Authors: Ndlovu, Katherine Ellen Dorothy
Advisor: Geva, Esther
Department: Human Development and Applied Psychology
Keywords: writing development
reading disorders
English Language Learners
poor comprehenders
poor decoders
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: The current longitudinal research examined the story-writing development of students from Grades 4 to 6 (N = 178). All students began formal schooling in English in Grade 1. Students were classified in Grade 4 as typical readers (scoring above the 40th percentile in both decoding and reading comprehension; n = 72), poor decoders (scoring below the 30th percentile in decoding; n = 53), or poor comprehenders (scoring above the 40th percentile on decoding but below the 30th percentile, relative to their language group, in reading comprehension; n = 26). Students who spoke English as a first language (EL1s) and English language learners (ELLs) were proportionally represented in each reading group. A series of repeated measures ANOVAs tested the effects of language and reading group on students’ cognitive, linguistic and literacy development. Despite the fact that ELLs did not achieve native-like English language proficiency, showing delays in vocabulary and reading comprehension, they matched their EL1 peers in all other areas of cognitive and literacy development, including story-writing. Both EL1s and ELLs developed story-writing skills in a similar manner, showing significant growth from Grade 4 to Grade 6. Typically developing ELLs were thus able to attain age-appropriate story-writing levels. Additionally, poor decoders and poor comprehenders generally showed similar profiles of strengths and weaknesses, regardless of whether English was their first or second language. The major difference was that ELL poor comprehenders were more likely to have longstanding reading comprehension problems, while many EL1 poor comprehenders had improved by Grade 6. In general, poor decoders displayed more pervasive difficulties across cognitive, linguistic and literacy domains, while poor comprehenders had specific weakness in nonverbal reasoning, receptive vocabulary and listening comprehension. Nevertheless, both reading disorder groups had significant difficulties in story-writing, struggling with the mechanics of writing, sentence structure, and overall story organization. Regression analyses indicated that cognitive, linguistic and language skills were strong concurrent and longitudinal predictors of story-writing. However, the strongest predictor of Grade 6 story-writing skill was Grade 4 story-writing performance, suggesting that story-writing skills tend to be relatively stable over time. The results generally support the ‘simple view of writing’ (Berninger, 2000). Practical recommendations for assessment and instruction are presented.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24841
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology - Doctoral theses

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