Hooper SR, Roberts JE, Nelson LM, Zeisel S, Kasambira D. Preschool predictors of narrative writing skills in elementary school children. Sch Psychol Q. 2010 Mar;25(1):1-12.

This study examined the preschool predictors of elementary school narrative writing skills. The sample included 65 typically developing African American children, ranging in age from 5.0 to 5.5 years, and was 44.6% male. Targeted preschool predictors included measures of phonological processing, core language abilities, prereading skills, and early writing concepts assessed during the spring or summer, just before beginning kindergarten. Using hierarchical linear modeling, findings showed that core language abilities, prereading skills, and maternal education at preschool significantly predicted the level of writing in Grades 3-5, but only core language abilities and prereading skills significantly predicted the rate of growth in writing. When kindergartners were separated into low and high readers, and low and high core language abilities, a significant pattern of widening differences emerged between the groups over time. These findings point to core language abilities, prereading skills, and maternal education assessed at kindergarten entry as critical predictors of later narrative writing skills, and they suggest the importance of including such measures when screening for written language problems in early kindergarten and early elementary school.

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