Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 193–218 | Cite as

A process model of writing development across the life span

  • Virginia W. Berninger
  • Frances Fuller
  • Dianne Whitaker


In this article, we provide an overview of writing development from a product perspective and from a process perspective. Then we discuss modifications of the most influential process model of skilled adult writing to explain beginning and developing writing, including a proposed developmental sequence of the emergence of cognitive processes in writing. Next we report the results of two recent dissertations by the second and third authors supervised by the first author aimed toward contrasting developmental issues: (a) specifying the algorithms or rules of thumb beginning and developing writers may use during on-line planning; and (b) investigating the further development of writing processes among skilled adult writers. In the first study, development was conceptualized as a linear process across age groups. In the second study, development was conceptualized as a horizontal process within skilled adult writers who expanded their expertise. Finally, we consider the developmental constraints and the instructional constraints on writing development and argue for a model of writing development in which endogenous and exogenous process variables interact to determine the outcome of the writing development process.

Key words

writing writing processes adult writers writing development 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia W. Berninger
    • 1
  • Frances Fuller
    • 1
  • Dianne Whitaker
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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