ERIC Number: ED461876
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Improving Written Language Skills in the Primary Grades.
Benischek, Donna; Vejr, Mary Jean; Wetzel, Susan
This report describes a program for advancing written expression skills in the primary grades. Extensive research over the past years has shown that an emphasis on mechanics and conventions inhibits the process of writing in primary students. The targeted population consisted of first and second grade students in a middle class community, located in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. The problems of written expression and students' motivation to produce quality written assignments have become a national concern given mandated testing, benchmarks, and standards. Analysis of probable cause data revealed that not only do students view writing as a difficult task, but societal trends toward new forms of communication, de-emphasis of the skill of communicating through written language, the amount of time spent practicing writing skills in isolation, and emphasis placed on editing and revision processes, all contribute to writing problems. Teachers at the targeted school reported varying amounts of time spent on writing as well as varied methods for teaching writing. The principal expressed a concern over the lack of scope and sequence in the current writing program adopted at the targeted school. These concerns were addressed using a writer's workshop format, mini-lessons, modeled writing, and limited editing and revisions. Writing samples were collected throughout the research project to assess student growth. Findings suggest that the Action Plan implemented was successful in increasing writing fluency. On four dimensions of writing fluency, both first and second grade students not only increased the amount of words written, but also elaborated on the content itself. Given this increase, students also constructed more mature wording; therefore, their writing sequence also increased. This was due to the many positive writing experiences in which students participated. Results show that students also expressed increased enjoyment when writing. (Contains 12 references and 6 tables of data. Appendixes contain student and teacher writing survey instruments and three story starters.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master of Arts Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University and SkyLight Professional Development Field-Based Master's Program.