Examining the contribution of handwriting and spelling to written expression in kindergarten children

Abstract

In this study, we examined the development of beginning writing skills in kindergarten children and the contribution of spelling and handwriting to these writing skills after accounting for early language, literacy, cognitive skills, and student characteristics. Two hundred and forty two children were given a battery of cognitive, oral language, reading, and writing measures. They exhibited a range of competency in spelling, handwriting, written expression, and in their ability to express ideas. Handwriting and spelling made statistically significant contributions to written expression, demonstrating the importance of these lower-order transcription skills to higher order text-generation skills from a very early age. The contributions of oral language and reading skills were not significant. Implications of these findings for writing development and instruction are addressed.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported, in part, by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD052120) and the Institute of Education Science, US Department of Education (R305A080488). Portions of this work were completed while the first author was supported by a postdoctoral training grant (R305B050032) from the Institute of Education Science, US Department of Education. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and have not been reviewed or approved by the granting agencies. The authors would like to thank Jessica Folsom and Luana Greulich at the Florida Center for Reading Research for their assistance with data collection, and Stephanie Cute and Lindsay Keffer at the University of Pittsburgh for their assistance with data entry, and scoring.

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Correspondence to Cynthia S. Puranik.

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Puranik, C.S., AlOtaiba, S. Examining the contribution of handwriting and spelling to written expression in kindergarten children. Read Writ 25, 1523–1546 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-011-9331-x

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Keywords

  • Handwriting
  • Kindergarten
  • Literacy
  • Spelling
  • Writing