The Early Writing Development of Young Children : Assessing Composition
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Children who have the opportunity to write at an early age tend to have higher literacy scores in elementary school. Grounded in a theoretical framework for early writing that included three components: procedural, conceptual, and generative knowledge, this study used an innovative writing composition task to examine children’s (N = 142) development of skills reflecting each component across time. Children between ages three and six years were able to compose when presented with a task. The task created for this study was a series of four images of a mother penguin and a baby penguin, each with a text bubble. The researchers presented these to the child and then asked the child to say what they thought should go in the bubble, and then to fill in the text bubble accordingly. Researchers then compared the child’s verbal responses to their written responses. The majority used drawing and scribbling, or letters and letter-like shapes in order to create their narrative. Children also improved in their composing abilities from fall to spring. These findings suggest that composition at a young age is possible. Given the focus of elementary writing standards on composing, children should be given opportunities to use composing skills in pre-kindergarten classrooms in order to be better prepared for elementary school.