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Associations among name writing and alphabetic skills in prekindergarten and kindergarten children at risk of school failure

Associations among children's writing and alphabetic skills were examined in a sample of 502 prekindergarten children who were at risk of academic failure because they came from poor families, spoke a language other than English at home, or had an identified disability. In this sample of children at risk of school failure, 16% had an identified disability and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Children's name writing skills in prekindergarten were compared with their letter knowledge and word decoding skills in prekindergarten and kindergarten. Two writing scores reflected the overall quality of children's writing and children's use of letters. By the end of prekindergarten, almost half of children wrote their first names correctly, and two thirds used only letters when writing their name. Children's name writing in prekindergarten was associated, concurrently, with letter and word decoding skills. Children's use of letters when writing their name in prekindergarten predicted growth of emergent literacy skills related to letter knowledge and to decoding and identifying words, even if the name was not written entirely correctly. While children who had an IEP had, on average, slightly lower levels of achievement than their peers, the pattern of associations among variables was similar for all children. Results are discussed in relation to the use of writing as a tool that teachers and interventionists can use in understanding and promoting children's early literacy skills. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
California; Indiana; Kansas; Maryland; West Virginia

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