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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29874

Title: Narrative Writing in Native English and ESL Learners: Developmental Trajectories and Predictors
Authors: Smith, Chanthalone
Advisor: Geva, Esther
Department: Human Development and Applied Psychology
Keywords: ESL Writing and Reading Development
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: Little is known about writing development among English as a second language (ESL) and monolingual children. The “simple view of reading” (Gough & Tunmer, 1986; Juel 1988) and “component” models (Joshi & Aaron, 2000) were used as theoretical frameworks in this investigation of story writing development of ESL and monolingual children from grades 4 to 6. This longitudinal study (a) compared the narratives composed by ESLs and monolinguals and (b) examined the nature of the language, cognitive, and reading variables that predict writing in these groups. Reading and writing skills were conceptualized in terms of lower order, word-level components, and higher order, text-level components. The study involved 57 monolinguals and 121 ESLs from various language backgrounds, who had attended English speaking schools since grade 1. Based on the Test of Written Language (TOWL, Hammill & Larsen, 1996) three aspects of narrative writing were analyzed: writing mechanics, writing syntax, and overall story quality. Monolinguals and ESLs were similar on the cognitive, linguistic, word- and text-level reading and writing measures, but ESL performance was lower on vocabulary and reading comprehension across all three grades. Narrative writing in monolinguals and ESLs alike was predicted by syntactic skills, word-level skills (decoding and spelling) and text-comprehension. Nonverbal reasoning and phonological processing significantly predicted writing performance for monolinguals only. Overall, writing mechanics, writing syntax, and story quality all grew significantly across grades. However, only story quality demonstrated significantly different patterns of growth across students, but this difference was not explained by any of the predictors. Importantly, despite having weaker vocabulary and reading comprehension skills, ESLs’ narratives did not differ from monolinguals on mechanics, syntax, and overall story quality. The findings have implications for assessment and instruction of writing in both groups, provide additional evidence that reading comprehension and writing skills share common underlying processes, and suggest that skills that determine reading success can be used to flag possible writing weaknesses in both groups. Despite the effect of L2 status on vocabulary and reading comprehension, ESLs demonstrated similar narrative writing skills to monolingual peers.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29874
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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