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The effect of language specific factors on early written composition: the role of spelling, oral language and text generation skills in a shallow orthography

Arfé, B; Dockrell, JE; de Bernardi, B; (2016) The effect of language specific factors on early written composition: the role of spelling, oral language and text generation skills in a shallow orthography. Reading and Writing pp. 1-27. 10.1007/s11145-015-9617-5. Green open access

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Abstract

© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Spelling skills have been identified as one of the major barriers to written text production in young English writers. By contrast oral language skills and text generation have been found to be less influential in the texts produced by beginning writers. To date, our understanding of the role of spelling skills in transparent orthographies is limited. The current study addressed this gap by examining the contribution of spelling, oral language and text generation skills in written text production in Italian beginner writers. Eighty-three children aged 7–8 years participated in the study. Spelling, lexical retrieval, receptive grammar, and written sentence generation and reformulation skills were assessed and children were asked to write a text on a set topic. A factor analysis revealed that the children’s written text production was captured by three factors: productivity, complexity and accuracy. In contrast to results from children learning to write in opaque orthographies, such as English, this study showed that receptive grammar and written sentence generation skills accounted for significant variance in measures of productivity, complexity and accuracy in Italian children’s written text production. Spelling skills contributed to text accuracy and quality and explained more variance than receptive grammar in microstructural accuracy. By contrast, oral grammatical skills explained more variance in text quality than spelling. The current study shows the differential impact of language systems, such as Italian, on written text production. Implications for assessment and instruction are outlined.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of language specific factors on early written composition: the role of spelling, oral language and text generation skills in a shallow orthography
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11145-015-9617-5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-015-9617-5
Language: English
Additional information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-015-9617-5.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475116
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