SRCD 2019 Biennial Conference
March 21-23, 2019
Title: Social Skill Behaviors, Inhibitory Control and Elementary School Genre Writing (Poster)
Session: Attention, Learning, Memory
Authors: Elham Zargar, Taffeta Wood, Sarah Siegal, Carol Connor
Abstract: Compared to studies of reading, elementary school students’ writing is understudied in general and particularly under examined in the younger grades (Englert, Stewart, & Hiebert, 1988; Graham, McKeown, Kiuhara, & Harris, 2012). This is a critical area to examine since writing plays an important role throughout a student’s life in which, even in elementary grades, students are tasked with writing in order to demonstrate knowledge on specific topics (Graham, 2006). While much needed research on children’s reading abounds, and rightly so, there is less known about children’s writing. This proposed study seeks to examine the relations of second and third grade students’ (n = 413) inhibitory control and social skills behavior to their writing skills. Children’s inhibitory control was measured using The Head Toes Knees Shoulders assessment (Ponitz et al., 2008; McClelland et al.,2007), and social skills behavior was measured using The Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) rating scale. Writing fluency was assessed using the Woodcock-Johnson III subtest of writing fluency and genre writing skills were examined using two writing prompts adapted from Graham and colleagues (2005). By examining students’ writing samples across two genres, informational essay and opinion essay, as well as students’ handwriting fluency assessments, we will be able to consider a wide range of writing skills and sub-component skills as they relate to student level factors of inhibitory control and social skills behavior. The aspects of writing skills to be examined in this study are spelling from students’ writing samples, writing fluency, length of essay and or/completion of writing prompt, overall quality of response to genre prompt as measured on a rubric, and quality of handwriting. By taking this both holistic and aspect level view, we hope to elucidate how various aspects of second and third grade writing may be affected by the children’s own strengths or weaknesses in inhibitory control and social skills behavior. To that end, this study aims to examine the ways in which various aspects of children’s writing skills across the genres of informational essay and opinion essay may be associated with inhibitory control and social behavior. The data from this study was collected as part of a larger project examining children’s literacy development in the context of a randomized control trial on the effects of personalizing students’ literacy instruction. The larger study represents our preliminary results, which found students who had trouble with behavior, attention and/or inhibitory control tended to score lower on all measures of literacy (Ingebrand & Connor, 2016). The larger study did not however tease apart which aspects of writing: spelling, fluency, length of essay and or/completion of writing prompt, overall quality of response to prompt as measured on a rubric, and quality of handwriting, were either positively or negatively associated with inhibitory control and social skills behavior, which are the foci of the current study.