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Journal of Literacy|v37.

3 Researc

Ofra Korat|Bar-Ilan Un
Rachel |BarSchiff-Ilan Un
Pages 289-

Do Children Who Read

What is Good Writin
Children Who Read Le
Between Grade Levels

e investigated how SES, grade level related to children's

self-of difficu
and writing

high (HSES) and low (LSES) SES childre-ers, and 69 sixth graders). Gender and
equally represented. Children were re one in a low SES neighborhood and -the
borhood. Writing knowledge was elicite self-efficacy by a 10-item questionnai were
measured using the Title Recognit across both SES groups, children's- gra tor of
their knowledge of good writin their writing self-efficacy, followed HSES school
children gained more writi level than did the LSES school childre was that children's
knowledge of good explained by their book reading experi in the HSES group. The
implications of are discussed.

Children's reading experiences are imp and literacy levels. Stanovich (2000)
experiences were the cause of certain cognitive skills (p. 245). Children e who start
school with good reading le

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in school faster than those who start sch They also more easily achieve automation a
effectiveness and pleasure in reading- in a tain higher levels of scholastic achieveme school
with a low level of exposure- to boo ally maintain their inferiority. Typically to
experfai,encelurto lose the will to engage in r and to have lower achievement levels (Stan

Focusing on children's reading, Nagy and the middle grades, less-motivated children readers
of average motivation read 1,000, readers read 10,000,000 words or more. The range in the
volume of childrens language of reading outside of school have been lin achievements at
school (Stanovich, 2000). children in fourth, fifth, and sixth- grad ence demonstrated
significantly higher sco (low frequency words), verbal influence (c as they could in a particular
category,- e ing (PPVT), and general information knowle experience scores (Cunningham &

ers book reading experience scores- were tening comprehension skills (Snchal, Le
According to Stanovich (2000), these diff up the grades.

Most of the research on this issue has fo childrens reading experiences and their writing
achievements (Cunningham, 1993; Cu Snchal et al., 1996; Snchal, LeFevre, expands on
the previous body of research- b ship between childrens book reading expe cognition or
knowledge about what is cons their self-efficacy for writingthat is, writing well. In keeping
with the extant 2000; Nelson & Calfee, 1998; Reutter, 199 Stotsky, 1983), we assume that
reading an

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they share similarities in knowledge a basis for these two activities. Simila different
grade levels have different they are expected to do when they writ they might also
have their own ideas a write sometimes and about how well the main contention is
that children who r tend to become more aware of the diff that they might,
consequently, develop This may include, for example, sensiti register in terms of
grammar or syntax text structure. While writing, school necessity to take into account
the rea text planning and monitoring. Knowledg through frequent book reading, might
b what good writing is and how they -shou edge might also bring about a more sec
writing, which is then confirmed by th writing at school.

In the studies reported above (Cunn Stanovich, 1991; Snchal et al., 1996 current
research, children's reading e Recognition Test (TRT). Since response amount of
reading are usually distorte (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1991), Stanov TRT, which
displays adequate reliabili-taminating effects of the tendency to TRT assesses
individuals exposure to indicator of ones exposure to print. desirability responses,
this test has retrospective time judgments. It shoul recognition of a books title, and
tha individual has actually read the book. a powerful tool for learning about a shown
to correlate well with reading a (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1991; Stanov (Snchal et
al., 1996; Snchal et al

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The Reading and Writing Re

During the last three decades, a consider reading and writing as processes that inv meaning
(for reviews of this literature se 1993; Shanahan & Tierney, 1990; Stotsky, 1 Research has
shown that reading and writi rather than sequentially (Teale & Sulzby,-

tant epistemological implications of their Shanahan, 2000). According to these author and
writing is not surprising because both knowledge representations, cognitive proce

Shanahan and Lomax (1986, 1988) presented relationship between reading and writing:ing, and the interactive model.
According to the first model (reading to powerful impact on writing development, wh or almost
no impact on reading. This mode demonstrating how reading promotes writing Eckhoff, 1983;
Smith 1982).

The second model (writing to reading) ackn of writing on reading at most acquisition of
knowledge from reading to writing. Thi perceive writing processes and development the
successful acquisition of reading (Gi this perspective, reading is sometimes vie process that
can be developed through writ theoretical perspective, see Freedman & Ca

The third model (the interactive model) su between reading and writing, with knowled writing
but then being generalized- or diff ation of these three models by Shanahan (1 that included
the reading and writing samp children, yielded two important conclusio provided the best
description of the read

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children's literacy development; secon-perior to the writing to reading mode the

school years, a greater amount of to writing than from writing to readi-ing to the
development of writing is researchers have investigated the read in different grades
at all levels of s (Fitzgerald & Shanahan, 2000; Shanahan tempted to provide
additional understa

The term literacy, as used in this and behaviors related to the process o
(Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). Our ass writing might be one of the important
Researching this knowledge is importan and empirical contributions, but for i
Vygotsky's (1978) perspective, it is t the child's actual level of developmen-cessful in
expanding the childs zone teachers must be aware of the children their ideas about
good writing relat promote childrens writing and reading achievers. If teachers and
school pra children's book reading experiences a better able to implement their
underst reading and writing as related activit

Childrens Writing Knowledg

Students at all grade levels, includin with writing difficulties (Korat & Lev Yet, they
probably do try to make an e understand it. Several researchers hav good writing
(see, e.g., Graham, Sc Maslowski, 2001; Shook, Marrion, & Oll why it is difficult for
them to write are the focus of the present study. Un area they are learning about is

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why they have made a specific decision or in their learning process (Faigley, Cherr et al.,
1993) and, thereby, find a way to necessary. For example, students who belie to correct
spelling may possibly focus on aspects of their writing. The teacher can important elements
into consideration.

Childrens knowledge about good writing- an ficulties in this activity seem to devel seventh-,
and eighth-grade students, Grah that older children tended to give respons writing, such as
have a beginning, middle and details, and drafting or editing, wh to issues of form, such as
neatness, word staying within lines, and spelling-. Wray ( tween the ages of 7 and 11 and
found that length, punctuation, tools, and layout)- ac dents responses on advising younger
child Perera (1984) found that at about the four clearly differentiate between speech and style.
These findings indicate that the lo form-oriented skills, precedes what Wray c include words,
ideas, structure, characte childrens views of good writing focus on they are currently in the
process of devel

In addition to this research on children'sers have also studied children's feelings important aspect of this issue is childre their feelings
about how successful they or how much they are willing to be engage Zimmerman, 1997).
Childrens writing self-to their knowledge about writing (Graham 2001; Shook et al., 1989),
and according t their attitude influences the what and t Most research on childrens selfefficacy

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relationship to childrens writing ach essay-writing performance of 181 ninth (1996)

found that writing selfr-=efficac.43) writing performance. This confirms oth notion that
students' feelings about t how frequently and how well they write 1993; Lavelle &
Zuercher, 2001; Shell, relationship tends to strengthen gradu

Although the relationship between -wri mance has been studied among junior hi
(Lavelle, Smith, & Oryan, 2002; Meier, & Johnson, 1996) as well as school-age
Maslowski, 2001; Wray, 1993), a critica-tween writing self-efficacy and childr an
interdisciplinary approach to the r and affective processes (Dahl & Freppo Shanahan
and Lomaxs (1986, 1988) mode writing relationship, as well as work that children
who read more books wil and secure about their writing. These Furthermore, writing
knowledge and wri mainly in mainstream social groups. In example, we found no data
on these asp SES children. For this reason, our stu these relationships among
children fro middle-high and low.

SES, Schooling, and Lite

As noted earlier in this paper, the t thoughts, and behaviors related to the language
(Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). about writing, self-efficacy feelings are interwoven and
that this occurs- w dren interact with key figures (e.g., daily lives. This line of thinking

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of Vygotsky (1978), neo-Vygotskians like R Wertsch (1984), cultural psychologists li ecological

models of development, like tha ing to this school of thought, culture pl original form of higher
mental activity- i propriated by the individual in the cours more experienced others.

One of the many aspects of any given- socia tus (SES) of the child's family. The- relat drens
intellectual and academic performa childhood has been well researched in a va

1& Whiteside-Mansell, 1996). Although there relationship between family literacy- envi drens
literacy (Auerbach, 1989; Taylor, 1 children from low SES families, where par and occupation
levels and family income t relatively poor literacy environment- at ho els in reading and writing
(see e.g., Loni Neuman & Celano, 2001; Nicholson, 1997; Og


Dixon, 1995; Whitehurst, 1997). There is with accesstoolsliteracyandprinted materials (co

adult and children magazines, books, etc.) books or other materials with a family mem to
become more proficient readers and writ and activities. Evidence for this relation with Israeli
children (see, for example, A


Goldstein, 1986; Korat & Levin, 2001, 20 other countries (e.g., Lesman & DeJong, 19

2001 [United States]; Nicholson, 1999 [New


Mackler, 1999 [United States]; Teale & S

Much of the research on SES has focused on family is regarded as a major predictor of
Bornstein, Hahn, Suwalsky, & Haynes, 2003) is another important context within- which ily, the
formal educational system is reg sociocultural contexts within which child

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cognitive abilities, especially readin achievements in these domains, and th undergo

major transformations during al., 1993; Wray, 1993). In general, th and SES
communities. However, even as SES progressively continues to influen through
parental economic and social-hood and the community environment in (Bornstein et
al., 2003). According t the SES of a neighborhood, like the- SE stitutional resources
and the quality There is a growing body of evidence- th mate, and norms have their
own effects and that they usually work to the dis 1981; Brooks-Gunn, Duncan,
Klebanov, Gamoran, 2002; Duke, 2000; White, 1982

Since this study focused on Israeli s Israel, children typically go to their families with
similar SES backgrounds and income), as was the case in our- st ment between
middle-high and low SES neighborhood schools is one of the la 2000), a fact that
should make the is (reading and writing) one of the natio

Purpose of the Current

Our first purpose was to determine- the edge of good writing and writing d their
book reading experiences, their of their school. Based on the interact reviewed
above, several correlational this first objective. Our most importa-edge of good
writing and writing di their reading experiences, as measured We also hypothesized
that children's k difficulties would correlate positive

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reading experiences, and (c) grade le that childrens knowledge of good writin

writing self-efficacy, and their reading e category of the neighborhood in which- thei ferred to
as school SES).

Our second purpose was to investigate,- ac tent childrens knowledge of good writing selfefficacy for writing vary as a funct levels, and school SES. We hypothesized pr that the
children's grade level, their boo SES would predict their knowledge of good as well as their
self-efficacy for writing

Our third purpose was to investigate the s school SES separately. Adapting the- rich lier, we
hypothesized that although- the ch ing experiences would predict their knowle difficulties, as
well as their writing s middle-high SES (HSES) children from the H school in their
neighborhood would gain mo they move up the grades and would, therefo about good writing
and writing difficulti self-efficacy compared to the low SES (LSE who go to the LSES school in
their neighbo

The participants were 63 second graders- (3 ers (36 LSES, 31 HSES); and 69 sixthN= grade
101) andN =boys98) (were approximately equally ages were as follows:M=7
ysears,condRange7graders:months7;4- 7;11)( fourth Mgraders=9years,Range6:months9;39;10),( and si M = 11 years,Range5:months11;2- (11;11). We decided t fourth-, and sixthgrade children because had some writing experience to reflect on more independently than
first graders. Si

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they belong to the highest grade in th is typical in most elementary schools-ent higher
knowledge levels about wri and also to have engaged in a higher v chosen as
representing an intermediate the sixth graders. The children were t period of a
September-June school year

The children were recruited from two u population was in greater Tel Aviv and in a city
near Tel Aviv. All second, f were included (two classes from each g each of the two
schools). All of the- p cording to school records, had never- b ing or visual
impairments and those e included in the study. Both schools fr selected
fromschoolsalistinofthefiveHSES neighb in the LSES neighborhood. The research the
school principals, teachers, and p

SES data were collected from two inde Bureau of Statistics (1995) and inter the
school guidance counselor at each Statistics data on the two neighborhoo were as
follows: number of Myears=10.of60;paH M = 16.70), percentage of parentsM=
3work.80 HSESM = 35.60), monthly perM= capita1,497 Israeincom HSESM = 3,138
Israeli Shekel), percenta computerM (LSES=14.00;M =HSES63.00), and housin
number of personsM =per1.19;room)M=0HSES.(LSES92.

The interview data from the school- pri selors yielded similar data. They rep children
had an average of 8-12 years obtained in vocational schools, and- th age of 12-15
years of formal schooling school were blue-collar workers (drive workers, etc.); the
parents of the HS

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(doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.). Man population were unemployed and collected v to the
principal and guidance counselor, t LSES school households was 2000-3000 Isra income for
the salaried parents of HSES s Israeli Shekel. Many LSES school families two- or threebedroom government-subsidize families lived in four- or five-bedroom p family members.
Many of the LSES school ho basic needs, such as prescription medicin average, two cars.

Like other elementary schools in Israel, reading and writing program from first gr instruction in
both schools starts- in the nics and letter-sound correspondence at th emphasis on whole text
meaning at the high

Children's WritingChildrensKnowldge . writing- knowl sessed in two areasWhat is good

-writing? ties?using Graham et al.'s (1993) open-e two questions: (1) Suppose you were
asked classes today and that one of the student what would you tell that student about goo
students who find it difficult to write; w to write, what exactly is difficult for th read aloud to the
students. If the questio know, the examiner reread the question an it some more. If a general
or nonspecific examiners asked two follow-up questions to What exactly do you mean? or
Tell me mo

Childrens WritingGrahamSelf- Efficacyetal.s. (1993) c efficacy scale, based on Bandura and

Schu use in this study. The scale consisted of Statements were read aloud and students w
with each item on a Likert-type scale ran

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(strongly agree). Some items were word that the children would give rote or s positive
self-efficacy scale items inc into good sentences and It is easy- f ample of a
negative self-efficacy scal writing mistakes.

Children's Book ReadingChildren'sExperiencesbook.-rea es were measured using

the Title Recog study according to the principles sugg created three different lists of
30 bo graders. As noted earlier, the checkli exposure to books. The children were p
real ntitles=20) (and fictitiousn=10).Usingfoilsthese( l read the book titles to the
children- a nized. The advantages of this measure responses, its low cognitive load,
and time judgments. This form of storybook be sensitive to individuals actual ex and
West. The list of 30 titles for ea books and 10 foils. The fictitious tit library databases.
The list of the 20 prior investigation in which children, asked for a list of popular and
known graders read. This investigation took reflecting low and middle SES communit
popular books for children in newspape

Analysis and Scoring

Childrens WritingChildrensKnowledgeresponses. to (as well as the two follow-up

question researchers read the transcripts. The about writing that emerged from this r
from more developed cognitive.Thegeneralideas tost of the five levels ranges from
respons-erations focusing on an awareness -of t sitional issues regarding the whole

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weremtascognitivefollows:,inwhichlevel(5) the chil to a planning and evaluation of the writi

product and the process of writing, inclu
(4)cognitive,inlevelwhich the child refers- to the cluding an awareness of coherence and mai
linguistic,which the child refers to the imp vocabulary,
includingspell,syingtaxwhichissues;thechild(2) the conventional representationtech,
icalofintwheichwri the child refers to such issues as neat ha and space between words.
Examples of child these five levels of writing knowledge are

TableExamples1. of Childrens Writing Conc

Questions children were aske

Why is it difficult for CategoryCentral Whatthemeis good writing?

children to write?

5. MetacogPlanningitiveYoubeforehave to Theytinkdontbeforeplanyoutheir t writing start writingstart. to write

AudienceWriting thatItenablesisdifficultother for the awarenesspeople to
understandsomething,whatwhich can be
you mean. other people.


CognitiveText structureYou have to Theywriteputabouteverything tog

things in a nologicalorder.order.
GeneratingYou ideashave to Itwriteis difficultnceand for the interesting ideas.for writing.
Text coherenceYou have to Theykep writeingthings which about the sameconnectedidea. to
their text


LinguisticVocabularyYou have to Theyuse nicedontwordsuse.complica


You have to Theywritedontthe wordsknow how to in the

correctgoodorder,sentenceevrywith a su thing in itsotherplacethings..


SpellingSpellingYoumistakeshaveto Theywritemakewithmanyno spelling

spelling mistakestheir.writing.


TechnicalNeat handwritingYou need to Theywritedontitnicehaveandnice ha

Letter andYou wordneed to Itwriteis difficultwthagoodfor the formationhandwriting.letters.
Space betweenYouneed to Itputisa difficultspace for the words between the words.separate.

From Level 5 = highest to Level 1 = lowest.

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To check the reliability of the sortin-sponses into the five categories, 10% each grade
equally, were coded by two ended questions (What is good writing to write?). For
the first question, i for each category) wereK as= 1.follows:00),Kcogni=me

.78), linguisticK=.68),K spelling=(.91),and( technicalK=.93). the second question,




and( technicalK=.93). asA K values werep significant<.001. at

Children's Self-EfficacyThetotalforWritingscore .for ficacy scale was obtained by

adding- th tive and 5 negative) and dividing this The scores for the negative items
were (e.g., a score of 1 was changed to a s

Children's Book ReadingTo obtainExperiencesatotal. s book reading experiences or

exposure t real book title contributed one point fictitious book title subtracted two p if
a child were to claim recognition- o tiousthe resulting score would be zer

Data on the childrens book reading- ex ing self-efficacy were collected durin which
were conducted in a quiet hallwa arranged. Data were collected by a gro NovemberDecember period of a school schools (HSES and LSES) and in all- gra tween 15 and
32 minutes, about 25 minu of book reading experiences was admin questions on
childrens writing knowl were transcribed by the researchers-. T naire was presented,
with the research-dren and noting their responses.

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Results are presented in two sections. In childrens writing knowledge, self--efficac periences
are presented. In the second sec three main purposes of the current study.

Descriptive Data
Childrens Writing KnowledgeChildrensandSelf -answeEffic to the two open-ended questions

concernin writing and why they believe writing can level of response on a 5-point scale: 1 = 3
= linguistic issues, 4 = cognitive issu The level of a childs responses to each level that
appeared in that childs answe a metacognitive-level answer but who- also ments were coded
at the higher metacogniti-ing-level answer but included technical co higher spelling level. We
decided upon thi writing knowledge because when means were of the five levels, the standard
deviation sixth graders. A closer look at the- data r tions reflected the fact that some of the
ones, did not appear in the children's ans on childrens knowledge of good writing an grade
level and SES.

TableChildrens2. Scores on the Writing Co Writing? and Why is it Difficult to Wr Grade

Level and SES

What is good writing?Why is it difficult to wri

Grade n M



(1.04) (1.30)


34 2.00 30 3.00 32 2.30 28 3.00



n M

27 2.07 28 2.00 28 2.25 28 2.25







36 3.13 31 3.60 35 3.00 31 3.30




Total 97

2.44 89

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2.90 95




Journal of Literacy|v37.3 Researc

A two-way ANOVA (2 SES x 3 Grade Level scores for each of the two questions. a
main effect was Ffound[2,186]forp= <both33..0071,gr)aden (F[1,186] p=<24.001);.70,
there were no intera responses about good writing wereM= 2at.97a than were those
ofM =the2.20)LSES. Regardingchildren- (t ferences, a
Bonferronip<.05)revealedtest( that the about what constitutes good writingM= we
3.36) than those ofM= the2.50)fourthand thegradersM=sec 1.88), and that the fourth
graders' re than those of the second graders. This children tended to describe good
writi (Level 1) as putting a space between w words you write), presenting formed l
and neat handwriting, or in terms of s should have no spelling mistakes (You
mistakes). Fourth graders tended -to f guistics issues (Level 3); for example words
(vocabulary) or You have to wr thing in its place (syntax). Sixth- gr scribed good
writing in terms of cogni issues; for example, You have to writ (cognitive) or You
need to write -in a derstand what you mean (metacognitive more linguistic, cognitive,
and metaco good writing, while LSES children tend and linguistic (that is, lower level)

For the second question on children's main effect wasF[2,182]foundforp=<

7.grade0701), but( no The results of thep< .Bonferr05)showedni testthat- (th sponses
were at a significantlyM=3.16)thanhigthoser gradersM= 2(.25). There were no
interacti This reflects the finding that both gr writing difficulties more frequently i
(Level 2) considerations, such as It separate, or problems of nice hand wri

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many spelling mistakes in their writing, (Level 3) considerations, e.g., They don The sixth
graders, on the other hand, comp to use more higher level cognitive and me describing writing
difficulties, such as page) with no order (cognitive, Level 4) just start to write immediately

TableChildrens3. Scores on the Writing Sel Standard Deviations by Grade Level and S


















Note. Possible range of scores 1 - 5.

Data on the childrens writing self-effic in Table 3. A two-way ANOVA (2 SES x 3 Gr childrens
self-efficacy data. The analysi (F[1,219] p=< 3..05)94, andF[1,219]forgradep=<4..01)(40,. The
HSE childrensM=3.96)( self-efficacy for writing s than those of MLSES=3.children78).The
M(sixth=4.10)gradersand fourth gradersM=4.11) (self-efficacy scores were those of the
Msecond=3.84)graders.This (reflects the to their LSES peers, HSES children are mor writers,
tending to agree with such statem about good ideas for writing, or I can e and tending not to
agree with such stateme will never learn to write (negative direc

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children tended to agree with more oft differences in writing self-efficacy a and those
of both the fourth and sixth

Children's Book ReadingScoresExperienconthes.TRT, possible range of 20 to 20,

were tra means by SES and grade level are prese

Table.Childrens4 Scores on the Title R Standard Deviations by Grade Level a





















A two-way ANOVA (2 SES x 3 Grade Level scores. The analysis revealed

Fa[1,199]signif 63.80,p< .001) andF[2,199]Gradep=<(6..002);64, there- we tion
effects. The HSES children recognM= 37.00) than did Mthe=
18LSES.00)children.ThepBonferr<(.05) used to locate the grade level differe-ognized
significantlyM=33more.60) bookthan titlesdid (M = 24.50) and theM=
sixth24.30)graders. (

Results Relating to Our Research

Correlational data for all variables-search goal. To address our second res predicting
childrens writing knowledg-tion of grade level, school SES, and

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SES schools will be presented. Finally, t regression analysis data on predicting chi selfefficacy as a function of the same va two SES schools separately.

Correlations betweenOur Variablesfirstpurpose. was to there was a relationship between

children writing difficulties, their writing self-e their grade level, and their school SES. all these
variables and are presented in T

TableCorrelations5. Between Childrens Writ

Childrens Book ReadingN Experiences,=199) Gra


What is good writing?


Why is it .difficult36** to write?


Writing self.20**-efficacy.11


Title Recognition.19**.22**.Test03 (TRT)


Grade level.42**.28**.19**-.02

6. SES

4 5

.19* .11 .10 .48**-.03

*p < .05. **p < .01.

One of our most important hypotheses was t writing and writing difficulties would co reading
experiences, as measured by the TR positive, though modest, correlation appea and their
knowledge rof= .pboth19,<.01)goodandwriting-ficultiesr=.p22,<(.01), indicating that children of
knowledge to describe good writing and more books.

We also hypothesized that children's know difficulties would correlate positively w hypothesis
was only partially confirmed-. A est, correlation was found between childre

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children's writing=.p20,self<.01),-effindicatingcacy( express higher-level cognitive

ideas a in a logical order or You have to pla to be children who feel more confident
with items such as Even if writing is how to do it). Yet, the lack of a sig not seem to
be true for the relationsh writing difficulties and their writing

Positive significant correlations,- as dren's grade levels and

their=.p42,knowledg<.01)a writing difficultiesr=.p28,<.01),( as well as rtheir=
.19,p< .01). These findings, especially good writing knowledge, confirm previo-drens
understanding of what comprises well as their stronger feelings of suc The results
also show that the childre and somewhat strong relationship =to.48,th p < .01) and
that it is also significa-edge of good writing, althoughr=.p19,<.rather01).Ye
relationship was found between school knowledge and writing self-efficacy. T different
school neighborhoods differe knowledge about good writing and read school, with the
HSES school children

Stepwise Regression AnalysesOuracrosssecondSchop was to investigate, across

both SES- sc edge of good writing and writing diff vary as a function of their reading e
Multiple regression analyses were cond examine the relative contributions of
experiences to childrens knowledge of and their writing self-efficacy. We h their
school SES, and their book readi writing and writing difficulties knowl The results are
presented in Table 6.

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Table.Summary6 of Hierarchical Regression A Childrens Writing Knowledge (Good Writi

Self-Efficacy Across SES Groups (N = 199



R SquareR

What is good writing?

Step Grade1 .level66.42


Step Grade2 .level67.43


TRT scores.01.20


Why is it difficult to write?

Step Grade1 .level45.30


Step Grade2 .level45.28


TRT scores.01.23


Writing self-efficacy
Step Grade1 .level15.20


**p < .01. ***p < .001.

Table 6 shows that, across school SES,- chi tant predictor of knowledge of good writin and
writing difficulties (explaining- 9% o ing self-efficacy (explaining 4% of the v extent by
children's book reading experien writing and writing difficulties, explaini knowledge. Across
school SES, no predictio for these variables. These results confirm they gain more knowledge
about writing an their capability for writing. In addition also contribute to their writing knowledg
made by their grade level, indicating tha their leisure after school tend to have be

Stepwise Regression AnalysesOurwithinthird SchoolpurposeSE to look more closely at each

of the two n

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SES levels. We assumed that grade leve predict children's knowledge of good w their
writing self-efficacy in both SE the HSES school children would be more they moved
up the grades as a function in a middle-high SES neighborhood and school learning
experiences. We also a more books than their LSES peers. -In o ducted multiple
regression analyses us the relative contributions of grade le scores) to childrens
knowledge of goo as their writing self-efficacy within this analysis are presented in
Table 7

TableSummary7. of Hierarchical Regressi Childrens Writing Knowledge (Good

W Self-Efficacy for Each SES Group Sep


B Beta T R Square RChange

What is good writing? Step 1
Step 2 Grade.54.343.70***
TRT .01.08 .19** .04** .41 Why is it difficult to write?
Step 1
Grade.45.302.57** .07***.26 Step 2
TRT .01.212.17** .05** .33
Writing self-efficacy
Step 1
Grade.21.252.64***.07** .26

continued on

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B Beta T R Square RChange

What is good writing? Step 1
Grade.78.525.70***.27*** .52
Why is it difficult to write? Step 1
Grade.50.303.00**.09*** .30
**p < .01. ***p < .001.
As can be seen, in the LSES school, the s writing knowledge was their grade -level, f riences.
Grade level in this low SES scho their good writing knowledge, 7% of the v knowledge, and
7% of the variance in thei book reading experiences explained 4% of knowledge and 5% of
the variance in thei The results for the HSES school show a dif only predictor of children's
knowledge of variance) and writing difficulties (expla self-efficacy was predicted neither- by gr
ences within the HSES group. These results children in both SES schools would show ga a
function of moving up the grades. Our s as well. HSES children showed greater gain did the
LSES children (27% vs. 13%, respec reveal that children's writing self-effica the grades in the
LSES school but not the and surprising result is that children's k difficulties is explained by
their book re onlynot in the HSES school.

This study had three major research object the relationships between children's writ writing
difficulties), writing self-effic

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grade level, and the school SES. The s school SES, which variables (grade lev SES)
best predicted childrens writing third purpose was to investigate these SES

In line with our expectations, childre-ficulties in writing were positively as measured

by the Title Recognition- T tween children's volume of reading -and ously been
investigated, this finding relevant body of literature and helps only to childrens
spelling, vocabular general information knowledge (Cunning their writing concepts.
Our results i more books also tend to evince higher-scribe good writing (e.g., writing
wh you mean or you have to keep writing (e.g., They don't plan their text. Th

With regard to grade level, not surpr evidence attesting to childrens impro good
writing and what makes it diffic as to their heightened feelings of bei the grades (Kos
& Maslowski, 2001; Sho found that the childrens school SES i makes for good writing
and even more s experiences. Children in the middle-h have better knowledge of
good writing their leisure time outside school. The because there is much evidence
about- t dren in reading and writing achievemen Hart & Risley, 1992; Neuman &
Celano, 2 and in writing knowledge (Aram & Levin so, our findings add some new and
-impo edge base on literacy development and information on differences in amount
HSES children using a reliable measure

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more important, using this same reliable insights into the important relationship b children's
knowledge about what comprises

The finding that childrens writing- self-e edge of good writing, although somewhat mo
evidence (see Graham et al., 1993; Kos & Ma These researchers, as well as others- who f
ficacy is related to their writing perform 2002; Meier et al., 1984; Pajaras &- Johnso dren can
draw on a variety of resources wh certain domain, previous achievement being that one of
these resources could also be

Our second purpose related to examining w reading experience, or school SES)- was the
edge (good writing and writing difficult across both SES schools. We found that gr predictor of
childrens writing knowledge their book reading experiences (which did value for their writing
self-efficacy)-. Th edge and self-efficacy were largely tied extent to which they read books in
their l growth in writing knowledge, above and bey level. However, when data for both schools
a predictor of children's writing knowledg

When we investigated these same relationsh purpose of our research, the analyses yie school
one of the most significant findin outcomes emerged from this analysis. First much of the
variance in both HSES and LS knowledge. The second important and surpri in children's
writing knowledge was- expla ences only for the LSES children, but not some of the variance
in LSES children's wr their grade level, no such relationship ap

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Our expectation that children in both-ing knowledge and self-efficacy as a Yet, we

cannot ignore the larger gains to their LSES peers. One is led to won schools
officially have similar readin explanation could be the differences the low and middlehigh SES children's-tion, and income). Beyond that, lifest neighborhoods could also
help to expla development and knowledge. For example to institutional resources and
the qua communities (Leventahal & Brooks-Gunn, in the quality of instruction and the
other school demographics, variables t study, might also have an impact on th
Brooks-Gunn et al., 1993; Carbonaro & 1982). For example, LSES children migh
provide the socially meaningful and- re opment, including writing knowledge (O
second graders in both SES schools- pre edge of good Mwriting=2.07;M
(L=HSES2.00). However, childrens good writing knowledge deve the grades, the
LSES children started the more supportive literacy environme to have in term of tools
(books, newsp-tion (teachers and parents).

The surprising result that variance in writing difficulties was explained by the LSES
school and not in the HSES sc Although the multiple regression analy-ences
explained only 4% to 5% of the v good writing, this finding supports th are connected
and that they share -simi nitive processes (Nelson & Calfee, 199 & Shanahan, 1991).

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The important question is why these relati group. We hypothesize that HSES children, have a
greater variety of resources in th draw on for developing their writing knowl after-school
programs, and family centers and computers in their schools and homes; literacy instruction
from their teachers a one can conjecture that HSES childrens w less dependent on their book
reading exper On the other hand, lacking some of these o may give LSES children a distinct
advantag read less. This may help to explain why th the well-read child and the non-well-read
dramatic as in the LSES group.

The third area in which we found differen that grade level explained the variation i for the
LSES group. In our study, the secon with a lower level of writing self--efficac cause of their
more modest home literacy parental support for reading and writing ( & Levin, 2001; Korat &
Levin, 2001) When t school learning system and are exposed to start to make gains in their
writing knowl serves to support their writing self-effi ever more positive as they move up the
gra learning experiences in school. The HSES c school with higher writing self-efficacy as they
move up the grades, gains are les of their LSES peers. These results paint schooling as an
important resource for str self-efficacy, yet educators should be awa HSES children in their
writing self-effica

An important unanswered question is how t competence to their achievements in- readin tion,
future researchers may address some First, it would be important to include a

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achievements, thus making it possible childrens knowledge about and feelin

performance. By taking their performan-derstanding of childrens writing. Sec selfefficacy was about writing in gen which can be problematic because one d writing the
children had in mind when study we recently conducted on this- to lar answers when
asked about good wri writing of a story. Yet, this distinc in future studies. Third, an
investiga reading processes and their conception goal for future research. Our finding
existence of a dynamic relationship be However, we need a better understandin from
reading and then is generalized whether knowledge gained from writing reading
process (see Fitzgerald & Shan

Another limitation of our study is tha urban schools, one from a low SES and- t
borhood. Sampling more diverse schools-hoods might give us a more accurate pi
knowledge and self-efficacy as a funct-dition, given the different pattern of writing
knowledge and their book readi it would be important to investigate- t ally taking place
in the schools' -lang room cultures, rather than assuming th in effect (Anyon, 1981;
Oldfather & Da schools use similar, nationally prescr their actual implementation may
vary g to instruction in different subjects, different learning processes and outc-ample,
Anyon, 1981). According to Any context, a fairly standardized curri is possible (p. 4).
Future researcher relationship between the SES of the ne

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located (and of the children attending the concepts to untangle the question of why HSES
peers, have lower levels of writing- k ods, and instructional approaches as suppo and selfefficacy could be another importa a study of LSES first graders views- on t ers' instructional
approaches, Dahl and F LSES childrens literacy knowledge, specif favoring one program
(whole language) over rich data from the teachers on this- issue tions in the classrooms could
advance our childrens knowledge.

The educational implication of our results is that identifying childrens writing be better
understanding of their ideas- and co sider good writing and how confident the writing might
constitute an excellent base of writing. To expand childrens zone of 1978), educators need
knowledge not only a of development and performance levels but underlying their
performance. Knowing what and the degree to which it relates to thei teachers plans for a
more interactive mod especially for the low achievers.

Our results emphasize the need for- teache ments of literacyreading, writing,- knowle ings
not as disparate elements, but as one This is especially recommended for childre confident
about their writing ability than show gains in their self-efficacy -as they ciplinary approach that
assumes a recipro and affective processes (Turner, 1995) sug the children in their classrooms
as learn cognitive and affective factors. The state in writing and reading cannot be fully- ach
edging the critical role of their writing

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