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The effects of being a reader and of observing readers on fifth-grade students’ argumentative writing and revising

Abstract

Opportunities to read and analyze others’ writing or to observe readers as they analyze writing might enhance one’s own sense of audience and improve one’s own writing. This mixed-methods study investigated whether reader and observer activities in comparison to writing practice activities affected fifth-grade students’ persuasive writing and revising. After writing a first draft of a persuasive letter, 87 fifth-grade students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: being a reader, observing readers, or practicing writing. The reader group read and discussed three persuasive letters, considering whether they were persuasive and why and selecting the most persuasive. The observer group listened to the reader group’s discussions and took notes; then they had their own discussion to generate a list of criteria for what made the letters persuasive. The practice-writing control group practiced writing persuasive letters. Afterwards, all groups revised their first drafts. The reader group produced second drafts that were of better quality and contained more evidence of audience awareness than the control group. The observer group did not differ from either group. The groups did not differ on a transfer task occurring 1-week later. The authors discuss implications for designing writing curriculums that utilize reader and observer activities.

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Correspondence to Noreen S. Moore.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 6.

Table 6 Correlation matrix

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Moore, N.S., MacArthur, C.A. The effects of being a reader and of observing readers on fifth-grade students’ argumentative writing and revising. Read Writ 25, 1449–1478 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-011-9327-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-011-9327-6

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Observational learning
  • Persuasive writing
  • Reading-writing
  • Revising