The Impact of Promoting Transcription on Early Text Production: Effects on Bursts and Pauses, Levels of Written Language, and Writing Performance

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Abstract

Writing development seems heavily dependent upon the automatization of transcription. This study aimed to further investigate the link between transcription and writing by examining the effects of promoting handwriting and spelling skills on a comprehensive set of writing measures (viz., bursts and pauses, levels of written language, and writing performance). Second graders were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 intervention programs aimed to promote handwriting (n = 18), spelling (n = 17), or keyboarding (n = 20) skills. These programs were implemented during 10 weekly units composed of 4 30-min lessons. The most reliable and robust differences were found between the handwriting and keyboarding interventions. Handwriting students displayed greater handwriting fluency, showed longer bursts and shorter pauses, and wrote longer and better stories than keyboarding students. This study supports the contention that transcription is critical in writing by leveraging several aspects of early text production. Specifically, a key finding is that handwriting seems to be causally related to increases in burst length, which is a cornerstone in allowing writing fluency.

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