Effects of Behavioral Self-Regulation on Emergent Writing Skills in Preschool Children
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There is much debate about the proper preschool curriculum. Some believe curriculum should be more focused on academic skills, but others think self-regulatory skills should be the focus. However, research has found these two areas to be connected. Learning academic skills in preschool may be dependent upon a child's ability to self-regulate. Although behavioral self-regulation has been linked to success in some emergent literacy skills, there has yet to be any work examining the effects of behavioral self-regulation on early writing skills. It was hypothesized that, consistent with previous work, higher levels of behavioral self-regulation would be predictive of better scores on an emergent writing task. To examine this hypothesis, preschool children were administered the Head, Toes, Knees, and Shoulders task (HTKS), a task that requires children to use behavior self-regulation to respond inver~ely to a command, and a name-writing task, in which children were simply asked to write their first names. Measures of behavioral self-regulation were taken in the fall, while name-writing measures were taken in the. fall and spring. Results showed that children who had better fall scores on the HTKS also performed better on the name-writing task administered the following spring than those who had lower fall scores on the HTKS. Fall scores on the HTKS were also predictive of growth between the fall and spring measures of name writing. These results indicate that behavioral self-regulation may be an essential foundation for learning academic skills in preschool. Implications for preschool education and for the parents of preschool children are discussed.