Handwriting automaticity and writing instruction in Australian kindergarten: an exploratory study
Accumulating evidence indicates handwriting automaticity is related to the development of effective writing skills. The present study examined the levels of handwriting automaticity of Australian children at the end of kindergarten and the amount and type of writing instruction they experienced before entering first grade. The current study involved 177 kindergarten children enrolled in 23 classrooms from seven government-funded primary schools in Western Australia. Individual child level data (e.g., handwriting automaticity and word-reading skills) were collected and teachers were asked to complete a survey assessing the amount of time and types of writing activities developed in their classrooms (e.g., teaching basic skills and teaching writing processes). Hierarchical linear models were conducted to examine total variance attributable to child and classroom levels. Results showed a total variance of approximately 20% in children’s handwriting automaticity attributable to differences among classrooms when gender and word-reading skills were controlled for. Large variability was noted in the amount and type of writing instruction reported by a subset of participating teachers. Handwriting automaticity was associated with the teaching of revising strategies but not with the teaching of handwriting. Implications for writing development and writing instruction are discussed.
KeywordsHandwriting automaticity Kindergarten Writing instruction Writing development
This research was funded by the Australian Research Council through the Discovery Early Career Award Funding Scheme (DECRA 150100731).
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