Linguistic Feature Development Across Grades and Genre in Elementary Writing Purpose As children develop skills in writing across academic contexts, clinicians and educators need to have a fundamental understanding of typical writing development as well as valid and reliable assessment methods. The purpose of this study was to examine the progression of linguistic elements in school-age children's narrative and expository ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2015
Linguistic Feature Development Across Grades and Genre in Elementary Writing
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shannon Hall-Mills
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Kenn Apel
    Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Shannon Hall-Mills: shannon.hall-mills@cci.fsu.edu. Kenn Apel is now at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Lynne Hewitt
    Associate Editor: Lynne Hewitt×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2015
Linguistic Feature Development Across Grades and Genre in Elementary Writing
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2015, Vol. 46, 242-255. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0043
History: Received April 5, 2014 , Revised August 21, 2014 , Accepted April 6, 2015
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2015, Vol. 46, 242-255. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0043
History: Received April 5, 2014; Revised August 21, 2014; Accepted April 6, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose As children develop skills in writing across academic contexts, clinicians and educators need to have a fundamental understanding of typical writing development as well as valid and reliable assessment methods. The purpose of this study was to examine the progression of linguistic elements in school-age children's narrative and expository writing development.

Method Narrative and expository writing samples produced by 89 children in Grades 2 through 4 were analyzed at the microstructure and macrostructure levels. Measures of receptive vocabulary, word-level reading, and reading comprehension were obtained.

Results Exploratory factor analyses revealed 4 microstructure factors (e.g., productivity, grammatical complexity, grammatical accuracy, and lexical density) and 1 macrostructure factor (e.g., a combination of organization, text structure, and cohesion). Multivariate analyses of covariance with reading comprehension as a covariate showed that productivity and macrostructure were sensitive to grade-level and genre differences and that expository grammatical complexity was sensitive to grade-level differences.

Conclusions Findings are discussed in light of grade-level standards for narrative and expository writing and current practices in writing assessment. Multiple suggestions are offered for clinical and educational implications, and specific directions are provided for future research.

Acknowledgments
This research was partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (H8435D030046), awarded to the first author, and a Florida State University Dissertation Research Grant, also awarded to the first author.
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